Resume 101 for Graduates and Newly Licensed Estheticians

IMG_2226Completed your 600 undergraduate hours? Check. Passed State Board? Check. Have a solid resume to land you the job of your dreams in a spa or salon? Err, not quite.

One question that I get asked all the time by my blog readers is: “How in the heck am I suppose to put together a resume if I’m a newly licensed esthetician without any professional, industry experience?”

This is a great question! One I even asked myself towards the end of my own Esthetics program back in 2010. I’ve always had a current, professional resume and have updated it depending on the current job I was applying for. When I left the world of bartending behind and decided to take a leap into the beauty industry, I had to give my resume as I knew it and give it a complete overhaul. I now had the challenge of taking all of my professional experience over the last eight years as a bartender and organizing it into a resume that would convince a potential employer within the beauty industry to hire a newbie like me. Where do you start when creating a resume for a job you don’t have any professional industry experience in yet?

Just go back to basics and highlight what you DO have. For this post, I pulled up all three of my resumes that I’ve had over the last three years, starting with the first resume I created when I first graduated from beauty school. This was the same resume that started it all for me and helped me land the job at Sephora as a Beauty Advisor. For what I lacked in professional industry experience, I made up for it with a clean, well-organized resume that highlighted the skills I already had along with the new skills I picked up in beauty school.

When it comes down to it, all resumes have four main sections: contact information, an objective, previous employment experience and education information. Resumes can be formatted in an infinite amount of ways. Do a Google search on “resumes” and you’ll get thousands of different resume variations. Resumes can also have additional sections for things such as skills or references. I suggest keeping it simple for your first resume. As you build up your work experience within the industry, you can go back and tailor your resume to fit all of your newfound skills and experience. For now, you just want to get your foot in the door.

Contact Information
Your contact information should always include your first and last name, your current mailing address, phone number and an email address. This information should always be at the top of your resume. Up top, front and center. It might even be a good idea to increase your first and last name slightly and make them bold. You want your name to stand out on your resume so that it’s easy for potential employers to identify who you are from all of the other information you choose to include on your resume.

Word to the wise with the email address: keep it professional! might have worked while you’re in high school, but employers wont take you seriously unless you have a professional email address. If you don’t already, now is a great time to sign up for a free email service such as yahoo, gmail or hotmail. It’s always a good idea to pick something close to your name. Try to  incorporate your first and last name into your email address. If using your first and last name isn’t an available option with that provider, try using the first letter of your first name and last name or first name, middle initial and last name. You want to make it easy for a potential employer to contact you for an interview. You also want to come across as being professional in the process.

Some people are firm believers in always having an objective on their resume. I can go either way. On my first resume, I choose to include an objective because I was making a career change from eight years as a bartender to working in the beauty industry. I wanted to state clearly on my resume what type of position I was seeking out because none of my previous work experience had ever been in the beauty industry.  If you are applying for a specific position, make sure that your objective states the position you’re applying for and why you want to apply for the position or what you’re looking to gain from that position. Keep it clear, concise and to the point. Your objective shouldn’t be longer than a sentence.

For Example:
Objective – To join the Sephora Field Support Center as a Beauty Advisor where I can offer my strong work ethic and customer service skills while further advancing my cosmetic artistry knowledge.

If you are a new beauty school graduate or newly licensed esthetician, you’ll want to highlight your information in the Education section. This section is going to contain all of your most recent, relevant professional experience within the beauty industry. You’ll want to first start by having the full name of your school, the time span that you were in school (could be month/year or just the year you were in school), specify the program you were in (Cosmetology or Esthetics) and list bullet points that highlight all of your major achievements and any additional training you received while in school.

For Example:
Completed 600-Hour Esthetics Program, Graduated 2010

For the bullet points, you’ll want to include things such as any awards you earned, additional classes you took that weren’t part of the normal curriculum, clubs or organizations you participated in at school and any externships you took part of before graduating. If you had an impeccable attendance record, you’ll want to make that a bullet point as well. If you were a retailing superstar on the salon floor while you were in school, you’ll want to include what your average sales tickets were for the services you performed and the retail your clients took home. If you were a visionary and did anything above and beyond the typical curriculum in beauty school, you’ll want to make sure these activities are also reflected on your resume.

If you attended any other education in addition to beauty school such as college or high school, you’ll want to include that information in the Education section of your resume. Simply state the name of the school you attended, the city and state it’s located in, your area of study and your graduation date, as long as you graduated. Note – Only add either high school or college to the Education section. You don’t need to add both to your resume.

Employment Experience 
When it comes to deciding on the order of sections on your resume, choose the section you have the most recent, relevant experience in first. If you just graduated from beauty school and have never worked in the beauty industry, you’ll want to put the Education section higher up on your resume and your Employment Experience underneath. Later on down the road as you gain relevant, professional experience within the industry, you’ll want to switch the order of these two sections.

For Employment Experience, list your last three jobs, in order from the most recent job to the the last. Each job should include the company’s full name, the city and state in which the company is located in, your position at that company, the timespan of when you worked for the company and 5 to 8 bullet points describing what you did in that position. Be sure to use words such as “administers”, “responsible for”, “managed”, “executes”, “develops” and/or “facilitates” when describing the different tasks you completed while working in that position.

Hopefully once you’ve included all of the above information, you’ll have a one-page resume. Your resume should not be any longer than one page and should only be one-sided. Choose one font. Always proofread your resume. Don’t rely on spellcheck. Re-read your resume out loud to double-check for spelling and grammatical errors. Once you’ve checked your resume, give it to two other people and ask to have them proofread it for you. There’s nothing worse than handing your resume to a hiring manager only to find that you’ve misspelled something on your resume. Remember, you only have one chance to make a good, first impression.


3 thoughts on “Resume 101 for Graduates and Newly Licensed Estheticians

  1. Thank you for posting this. I decided to leave the life of bar tending and try the beauty industry, I graduate in may. I’m nervous and excited at the same time.

    • Hi Corinia! You and I both have something in common – we both left bartending for the beauty industry. I was both nervous and excited as well. It’s quite a leap of faith switching industries at any point of your career. Good luck and be sure to let me know how everything goes. s there anything in particular that you plan on focusing on within the beauty industry after you graduate?

      • I am just now seeing this I am so sorry! But i just graduated last week and I am focusing on booth renting for now but I kinda of want to become a mortician. I am currently not working but applying for jobs part time at cosmetic counters. If you have any tips or comments I WOULD LOVE TO hear them/read them. Thanks so much.

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