When I first started here at Cinta Aveda Institute, I had the “luxury” of being unemployed and being able to fully focus on school and what I needed to be a good student. Of course, after a month of being unemployed that money quickly starts to evaporate and you realize that maybe being just a student isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But what job should you get while attending beauty school? Starbucks gives you flexible hours and some kick ass caffeine perks (not to mention your work uniform is pretty similar to the schools so you get to save some dough on clothes), a retail job can work around a school schedule as well plus give you the bonus of discounts on what they sell. You could work in a restaurant or bar, make some tips and since it’s the service industry, you can practice your customer service skills.
When I was looking for work, I decided against working in a bar or restaurant since I had just come from a job like that and I thought “Too Soon”. I got a job working for a non-profit for about two weeks before I realized that it was more like a telemarketing firm than a non-profit. Then it hit me: get a job in the field you’re studying! What better way to really get an idea of what you’re in for than to be in it from the get-go!
OK, first off, it’s not that easy. Take a gander at Craig’s List, under the jobs section and you’ll see that there are a metric crap load of salons looking for receptionists (they’re also looking for stylists, Gammas I’m looking at you) but they’re also looking for the right receptionist. Some of the salons want you to have previous experience in a salon, other salons say they want someone who will work weekends only (a tough one for us on the TTS side of school), most of the salons want someone who is trendy and looks like they fit into their high end establishment. And they all want to pay you minimum wage (which, my advice: get one in SF where the minimum wage is at least $10.50/hr).
One of the toughest things you’ll find is getting your foot in the door. Most of the salons I looked at didn’t really want someone (or just me) who was in school for Cosmetology. I was told that they were concerned that I wouldn’t be able to work on their schedule, which might have been true. Another tough thing I encountered was my lack of experience as a receptionist. Sure, I’ve managed a large comedy club and a staff of over 30 employees as well as been a jack of all trades with over 20 some years of work experience, but just not as a receptionist. Even my current job, I had to fight to get my job there because I was “over qualified” for the position. But once I got my foot in the door and showed that I wasn’t over qualified but more than qualified to do the job, I got the job!
Getting a job in a salon while in beauty school is like basically getting paid to go to school while you’re not in school. As a receptionist, I get to watch stylists doing cuts their way, learning several different methods of cutting, styling, consultations and retail sales all while being paid to do my job. And once the staff learns that you’re in school, they will go out of their way to teach you things that they’ve learned since leaving school. It’s the best of both worlds! You get to learn and pay rent! And an even better perk: get a job in the shop or salon you want to work in while you’re still in school and you’ll more than likely have a job working behind the chair before you even graduate school. It’s win-win!