Finding the Right Salon for You

Finding the Right Salon for You



Landing a job in this market, with so many hair stylists out there, may seem a daunting task to even think about finding the right salon for you. Fortunately, the beauty industry is increasing more than many industries, and the population is growing.  The initiative will need more hairstylists. Don’t be fooled, however. There may be salons you don’t want to work in, which leaves a more competitive market for good salons. Sometimes these salons even go to the schools to hand-pick the best students. You want to do everything in your power to represent yourself well. Let’s face it, you may have gone to a good school (or not), but you need the experience to grow, and you need the right environment in which to thrive. So do your homework!

There is nobody better than Jackie Bernardi, a master at helping new hairstylists learn how to choose the right salon and land a job. She offers a lot of great resources on her website as well as informative videos. “HIRED! is the only online class designed to make the job search process super clear and easy for cosmetology professionals and future professionals.” Working with her right out of beauty school is a smart move for those who want to clarify where they belong immediately. A sense of direction is so important, instead of just landing wherever the wind blows you.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics website contains some great information about the hairdressing industry. There are some stunning statistics about income, percentage of hairstylist jobs in each state, and percentages of jobs available. Check out the maps! Below is a summary.

Quick Facts: Barbers, Hairdressers, and Cosmetologists
2015 Median Pay $23,710 per year 
$11.40 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Post-secondary award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 656,400
Job Outlook, 2014-24 10% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24



This report is dated 2014, so we can only imagine that number is higher today, in all categories, except for pay. As you can see, our industry grows and grows, but if you want to stand out amongst all the applicants, you can do some particular things to be considered a viable candidate for a salon. In the article by Evergreen Beauty College, “5 Tips for Becoming a Successful Hair Stylist,” Sam suggests:

  • Find Your Niche to Become a Successful Stylist
  • Never Stop Learning
  • Work on Your Customer Service Skills
  • Know-How to Market Yourself



Knowing your niche is an excellent indicator of what salon environment might be best for you. According to an article by This Ugly Beauty Business, in the article,Why Choosing the Right Salon is Crucial,” by Tina Alberino, 

“Too often, salon and spa professionals pick a business based on their emotions or out of desperation. Choosing a salon simply because they use your favorite product line and the interior designer really outdid herself is not good enough. There are a lot of other factors that go into picking a place that will ensure your long-term happiness.”

Create a list of what is most important to you that a salon offers and the salon owner’s skill set. It’s okay to dream here. Read, read, read, as much as you can. The salon environment is OK to dream about, too, but don’t let looks fool you. There are plenty of beautiful salons out there that have no soul. Meet salon owners, meet the staff, read up on the salons’ reputation.

Create a list of salons in your town or city. Go online, study their website, and look at their staff. Ask the question, “Can I see myself here? Is this the right culture for me?” If you have lavender hair color, and the salon staff is all wearing very conservative hairstyles, it may not be the right fit. That doesn’t mean you will rule it out, but be aware. See how the team dresses. Can you see yourself dressing this way? Be honest with yourself right now. Where do you see yourself in five years? This picture will inevitably change over time, but it informs where you might begin looking for a salon.

“The salon you work is will be your second home, choose well.”


Consider an internship and apprenticing in a salon if you are serious about progressing in your career. Growing is not for the faint of heart, however. It would help if you were serious about working hard and paying your dues. Don’t be too much in a hurry to get through the training program. Let the knowledge soak in, and be open to learning. If you assume you already know everything, you will remove all joy from the process. Take feedback as simply that, and change what you can. But by all means, do not sell yourself short here. Salons can easily take advantage of assistants, don’t put up with it. Speak up if the staff or salon owner is mistreating you. Beforehand, look at the salons’ handbook and what your job responsibilities are as an assistant. If they don’t have a manual, ask questions, and ask them to please write down what your duties will be.

You can change your mind if the salon is not suitable or if they misrepresented who they are. Keep in mind that you don’t want to have a resume with a long list of salon jobs, which is why you want to make informed decisions. Your cosmetology career is not an easy path, nor is apprenticing, nor is beginning anything new. Remember to take a deep breath and give yourself plenty of positive reinforcement and nurturing along the way.



Take your time to create a vision board with all your dreams and hopes, and must-haves. Use words and pictures, and keep them posted in your home to keep your goals ever-present. Change it as you move through school and your training. This dream will help you find the right hair salon for you.



Jackie Bernardi hosts GoingPro Mastery, a bi-weekly show that “digs deep into fundamental business and development concepts so that you build your career on super solid ground.”

If you would like help in defining your vision, click here.

  • Frank Delaware
    Posted at 05:53h, 05 July Reply

    My wife and I just moved to a new area, and we were curious about how you would choose the right person to take care of her hair. I really like that you say to come up with different pictures to help them give you exactly what you want. I know that she is very picky about what her hair looks like.

  • Lucy Gibson
    Posted at 15:47h, 05 October Reply

    I really love your tip about making a list of salons in your area and then studying their website, staff, and asking yourself if you can see yourself going there. Getting your hair cut and styled seems pretty important to most people. Feeling comfortable and knowing you’ll be taking care of seems like it would be pretty important to most people.

  • Ridley Fitzgerald
    Posted at 10:52h, 09 November Reply

    You have some lovely advice for finding a hair salon. We just moved, so finding a place to get our hair cut is definitely on the priority list. We’ll take your advice and make list of what we want the salon to have!

  • Ashley Turns
    Posted at 15:11h, 28 December Reply

    I like your suggestion to create a list of things that you want in a hair salon, including things like the atmosphere and things about the owner itself. Since my last stylist moved, I have been looking for the perfect place to get my hair done. Since I definitely like to talk when getting a trim, I will have to find a salon that is full of more talkative people.

  • Alexandria Martinez
    Posted at 17:37h, 03 January Reply

    I just recently moved to a new area that I am not very familiar with. It would be really beneficial if I found a hair salon in this new neighborhood that could cater to me. I will be sure to make a list of qualities want in a salon to find a good one.

  • Persephone de Vito
    Posted at 20:16h, 19 January Reply

    It was really helpful when you suggested listing down the things that I would like to see in a hair salon, the kind of service that I want to receive, and the kind of hair stylist that I want to handle my hair. It was great that I read this article and learned about doing that. I wanted to visit a hair salon to help me with my hair at my wedding, however, I don’t know where to start because I don’t usually do that. You really helped me a lot. Now I can begin looking for a hair salon that will suit my needs. Thank you!

  • Roger Middleton
    Posted at 18:43h, 30 January Reply

    My wife has been wanting to get her hair done, but we don’t really know of anywhere in this area. I liked that you had mentioned that it can be important to do your research to make sure you can find a salon that can help you with anything you might need help with. We’ll have to start looking around at hair salons in our area, and we’ll be making sure they can help her with any hair problem she might have.

  • Ellie Davis
    Posted at 15:10h, 12 February Reply

    I haven’t been to a salon since my daughter was born and my hair is really needing some TLC. Thank you for suggesting that I should make sure and do my homework on a salon before going. I’ll have to do some research and find the best salon in my area.

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