If you are about to start barber college, you are probably excited about your new career. But unless you currently apprenticing with a barber, you might be concerned about landing a job when you graduate and get your license. Although there is always a demand for barbers, you might be a bit anxious about that delay between graduation and your first job in a new field. Here are some things you can do to help get that first barbering job.
Learn all you can.
Let go of your preconceived notion of what barbers do and master everything that barber school has to offer. Your own experiences with barbers may have led you to believe that they do most of their cuts with clippers or that they only cater to conservative businessmen. Most barber schools teach scissor and razor cuts, color treatments, straight razor shaving, skin care and chemical processes like perms and straightening. However, some schools also provide training in women's hair, hair of different ethnicities and nail care. These may not be the most asked-for barber services, but being wiling and able to do them gives you an advantage and makes you more employable.
Learn one technique in depth.
While it's good to broaden your horizons and develop a variety of skills, it's also helpful to have a specialty. If you can develop expertise in a particular technique such as straight razor shaving or clipping the perfect fade, you'll have a great selling point during job interviews.
Focus on a clientele.
Popular services, haircuts and styles are determined by the clientele in the barber shop's location. If you want to work downtown in a major city, you'll need to know how to style conservative business people like lawyers, bankers and politicians. If you want to work in a younger, hipper area, you'll need to know how to style longer hair and beards and be up on current trends. In addition to what you learn in barber school, keep current with the styles in your chosen demographic. You'll have a better chance of getting a job when you can cater to the shop's customers.
Invest in tools.
Your barber school tuition will most likely include a starter set of scissors, combs and clippers. However, you'll probably have the opportunity to try different brands as you go through school. When you find a pair of shears that you love and are easy to work with, or a razor that feels "just so" in your hand and is a joy to use, don't hesitate to upgrade. Quality barber tools will last for decades and are an investment in your career. Having your own quality tools shows your dedication to the barbering trade and can give you an edge over less-prepared applicants.
Start your job search early.
You don't need to wait until graduation to start your job search. Even before you are fully licensed, you can still work with a barber or stylist to apply what you learn in school to the real world. You won't be able to do everything they do, but you will build professional connections that can help you in future job searches or if you ever open your own shop.
Even though there is always a need for barbers, it doesn't mean you won't have competition for jobs. These are just a few of the ways you can get an edge over your competition and increase your chances of getting that first job. Master your skills, be prepared and don't forget to keep your own hair perfectly cut and styled when you finally get that interview.