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Your Transferable Skills in the Personal Care and Beauty Industry Might Qualify You for These Other Roles

Personal care and beauty workers were the first hit when the nation went on lockdown in mid-March as they were labeled non-essential and ordered to close shop. The industry, comprised of many small business owners, was healthy in 2019.

The salon and spa industry in the United States counts for more than 1.2 million businesses bringing in more than $57 billion in sales, according to a Professional Beauty Association (PBA) report in 2019. Recognizing the devastation reaped on the industry, the PBA, in its support and advocacy role, has raised $1 million of a $2.5 million goal "to support thousands of out-of-workers beauty professionals with essentials."

Until stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus are lifted, personal care and beauty professionals will need to find other places to use their skills. The good news is that your experience in the field has helped you cultivate a bevy of skills that employers need now. And, whether you're a hairdresser, hair stylist, esthetician or cosmetologist, there is work out there for you thanks in large part to these "transferable skills."

Transferable skills are sought-after abilities that employers seek across industries. Below, we show you the jobs and the skills that will be the best match for your experience, and how you can effectively emphasize your qualifications on a resume to get a leg up on the competition.

Transferable skills and training to emphasize on your resume

Transferable skills include hard skills, technical skills and soft skills. Many people in the cosmetology field have strong soft skills, honed through hours of one-on-one interactions with their customers. Employers actively seek those skills, since they are difficult to teach. So, those job seekers who are great communicators and problem-solvers, as well friendly and customer-service focused will be in great demand.

The trick is learning to emphasize these skills on your resume to help an employer see how you can fit in and be a valuable employee, even without direct experience. Here are some hard, technical and soft skills and relevant training or certifications that you may have cultivated during your time in cosmetology that you should consider adding to your resume:

Hard and technical skills: Hard skills include operating and cleaning equipment, strong organization and time-management skills, knowledge of health and safety procedures, inventory management. Technical skills include, appointment scheduling software, experience with multi-line phone systems.

Soft skills: Customer service, empathy, collaboration, flexibility, problem-solving, friendly personality, strong conversational skills

Certifications and training: State cosmetologist's license, esthetician training, state hairstylist's license, nail technician certificate, health safety training

Education: If you have a bachelor's degree in hospitality, communications, business or other field, be sure to add to your resume. Or, if you've taken additional coursework in management or finance, be sure to include that as well. Cosmetology certificates should be listed under a separate header.

These industries are hiring people with your skills

If you were a hairstylist, salon manager, manicurist, cosmetologist, esthetician or salon receptionist, you might be qualified for one of these roles.

  • Front desk manager (for example, in a nursing home)
  • Guest services associate (for example, a grocery store like Hy-Vee)
  • Front desk greeter (for example, at a hospital)
  • Sales associate (for example, at Walmart)
  • Cashier (for example, at CVS)
  • Delivery driver (for example, for Pizza Hut)
  • Warehouse associate (for example, at Amazon)
  • Bank teller (for example, at Bank of America)

How to apply for these roles and what you'll need

When applying in person, you will need to have a current resume that highlights your relevant skills, a current email and phone number, and identification such as a driver's license or passport.

If you're applying online, you will also need a current email address and phone number and an up-to-date resume that reflects the skills the employer is seeking.

An employer may also request a cover letter, which is a good opportunity to briefly outline why you're a good fit for the job and you want to work for the employer.

How to find these jobs in your community

How to create a resume that will capture an employer's attention

While there is a flurry of hiring activity for many essential employers and a scramble by the unemployed to grab those jobs, that doesn't mean you should cut corners by delivering a lackluster resume and cover letter.

A strong resume addresses the skills and experience outlined in the job ad and highlights your transferable skills. The idea is to help an employer see what you'll bring to the table, even if you don't have direct experience in the field. This will help you stand out from the competition.

In addition, a cover letter that addresses why you want the job and why you're a good fit will make a more personal connection to the hiring manager.

Text resume example: Nail technician applying for a sales associate position

Name: Katie Black
Address: West Sacramento, CA 95605
Phone: (555) 555-5555
Email: example@example.com

Summary Statement: Friendly Nail Technician proficient in specialty nail services such as gel tips and miniature paintings. Friendly professional able to help any customer with any nail need. Eager to further develop acquired skills and grow a career in the field.

Summary of Skills:

  • Always keeping up with the latest trends to be ready for new styles clients might request. 
  • Manages time efficiently when scheduling appointments and providing services. 
  • Attentive to what the client wants in order to make sure that their happy with the service.
  • Promotional planning
  • Schedule maintenance 
  • Infection controls
  • Product knowledge
  • Cuticle care 
  • Problem-solving skills

Work History

Nail Technician
Sunny Salon
Sacramento, CA
4/2018–3/2020

  • Trained and mentored junior employees on safety, performance strategies and customer service techniques. 
  • Cared for nails and cuticles with soaking, shaping and polishing. 
  • Communicated effectively with management concerning important customer issues.

Nail Technician
Shine on Nails
Elk Grove, CA
3/2015–11/2017

  • Frequently restocked six different workstations, organized and stocked product sales shelves.
  • Communicated effectively with management concerning important customer issues.
  • Cleaned and sanitized equipment and workstation in compliance with health and safety regulations.

Assistant Manicurist
Freshly Picked
Herald, CA
2/2012–6/2014

  • Prepared nail beds and cuticles, shaped nails and applied polish for over 25 daily customers.
  • Cleaned and sanitized equipment and workstation in compliance with health and safety regulations.
  • Maintained master appointment calendar covering all customer visits, employee schedules and special events.

Education & Training

Associate of Applied Science: Cosmetology
American Beauty Academy
Sacramento, CA

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Anita Bruzzese

Anita Bruzzese

Career Advice Expert

Anita Bruzzese is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience, writing for such publications as USA Today, Shape Magazine, and Mashable. She is also the author of two career advice books, and has appeared on The Today Show as a career expert. Anita has been interviewed for…

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