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Cosmetology Career Outlook




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How to Build Your Resume for a Cosmetology Career

To get ahead in your cosmetology career, use these resume templates and tips for popular jobs within the industry.

Career Track: Cosmetology Instruction

Cosmetology Instructors train students attending beauty colleges, technical schools, and cosmetology schools. A survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a steady increase of 4% in job openings in this field over the next few years, right around the national job average.

Salon Assistant $11.67 Median Salary

Resume Format: Functional

Use the functional resume format for this entry-level position — the layout lets you focus on skills rather than lack of work experience. Feature skills and abilities that are most relevant to the job.

Summary statement tip: Emphasize your top traits, such as your ability to work quickly, or your familiarity with hair-cutting techniques, as well as any work experience (including internships, or any work assisting a lead stylist) and formal training you’ve had.

Skills to feature:

  • Good customer service skills
  • Ability to follow instructions
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Basic computer knowledge for booking appointments
  • Ability to multitask
  • Organizational ability for managing inventory
  • Time management skills

Get to the next level: Look to add these skills and training to your resume:

  • Get more opportunities to learn and help manage salon operationsWork with more clients, gaining references and recognition for your work (e.g., positive reviews on Yelp)
  • Complete a Cosmetology program and get a state license
  • Continue to gain relevant experience by assisting stylists

Cosmetologist $24,300 Median Salary

Resume Format: Combination

A combination format for this role will highlight both your cosmetology skills as well as successful work experiences utilizing those skills. Use concise sentences and bullet points to list your qualifications.

Summary statement tip: Keep your statement brief, zeroing-in on your top abilities and relevant experiences. You should mention any related certifications and training you have. For example: “Professional, state-licensed cosmetologist with 5 years’ experience in makeup application, body contouring and waxing.”

Skills to feature:

  • Certification in Cosmetology
  • Interest in current fashion trends
  • Excellent communication interpersonal skills
  • Knowledge of specific cosmetic treatments and modalities
  • Customer-oriented approach
  • Efficient
  • Ability to perform administrative tasks (e.g., scheduling, payments)

Get to the next level: Climb the career ladder by gaining expertise in the following areas:

  • Getting a Cosmetology license
  • Enrolling in advanced cosmetology courses in specialized areas, such as skin science or salon management
  • Gain more experience in a wider range of roles, such as beauty advisor, makeup artist or aesthetician
  • Continue to gain experience and recognition by working in established salons
  • Growing your own client list

Cosmetology Instructor $49,470 Median Salary

Resume Format: Chronological

The chronological format prioritizes your academic training and key professional accomplishments, making it a good fit for jobs like cosmetology instructor.

Summary statement tip: With a few sentences, highlight both your professional experience in the field as well as your academic training for this position. For example: “Energetic cosmetology instructor with 5+ years experience teaching 1,000+ students to pass state cosmetology exams, and 10 years of experience as manager for salon voted ‘most popular’ in the city.”

Skills to feature:

  • Excellent teaching skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Refined communication and mentoring skills
  • Salon experience (include any areas of expertise)
  • State license in cosmetology
  • Administering and evaluating students
  • Ability to recognize developmental challenges
  • Ability to provide guidance and lead

Get to the next level: To make further strides in this career:

  • Keep up with all the latest cosmetology techniques and trends
  • Pursue an MBA or other advanced degree, with the goal of becoming an educational director at a cosmetology school
  • Apply for an examiner position on a state cosmetology licensing board

Career Track: Barber

Barbers provide hair care services to male clients, including shampooing, trimming, cutting and styling hair, along trimming and shaving beards. Jobs in this profession are projected to increase by a robust 8% over the next few years.

Barber's Apprentice $29,900 Median Salary

Resume Format: Functional

For this entry-level position, use a functional format, which lists all your relevant skills and training. Look to divide your skills into subcategories, such as practical skills (e.g., knowledge of the latest trends in men’s haircutting) and soft skills (e.g., excellent interpersonal and communication skills).

Summary statement tip: For the perfect summary statement, emphasize your strongest abilities and experiences thus far. If you lack work experience, you can feature internships or volunteer work. Highlight your adaptability and ability to quickly learn new methods.

Skills to feature:

  • Knowledge of current hair-cutting techniques and trends
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Proven dexterity
  • Eagerness to learn
  • Team player
  • Flexibility

Get to the next level:

  • Continue to stay up to date on hair cutting and styling trends
  • Take additional courses in hairstyling and personal grooming
  • Gain some administrative know-how in areas such as book-keeping and inventory management
  • Study a specialized curriculum in a state-approved barbering school
  • Get a state barber license

Barber $29,900 Median Salary

Resume Format: Combination

Since a barbering job requires both specialized skills and some work experience, use the combination format to showcase both. Stress specific successes in growing your client list, and providing excellent service that has led to increased revenues.

Summary statement tip: In a few sentences, engage the employer by highlighting your top abilities and experiences. Give the employer a glimpse of practical skill sets (like dexterity and knowledge of cutting tools), as well as any certifications or training you have in specific areas. For example: “Licensed barber with 3+ years experience serving 15+ clients a day in a popular salon. Utilizes superior manual dexterity and knowledge of hair products and styling options.”

Skills to feature:

  • Knowledge of hair trends
  • Ability to work for long periods
  • Manual dexterity and strength to manipulate tools
  • Maintaining good hygiene and a clean work environment
  • Good communication skills
  • Superior customer service

Get to the next level: Advance to a master barber position by completing a post-secondary program and getting a state barber’s license. You should also look into getting training and/or a degree in business management, taking on more administrative responsibilities at your barbershop or salon, and building your own robust client list.

Master Barber$41,684 Median Salary

Resume Format: Chronological

For this more senior-level role, use a chronological format, which shows off your extensive experience, while also leaving room to feature your best barber skills. Focus on work accomplishments rather than everyday tasks, using numbers to measure your successes. For example: “Boosted clientele by 40% through enthusiastic, excellent customer service.”

Summary statement tip: Keep this section crisp and short, calling attention to top experiences and traits related to the job. Note primary requirements listed in the job posting (e.g., “Be dependable, reliable and professional”) and address them here. For example: “Professional master barber with 5+ years experience providing reliable, client-oriented service for leading barbershop in the tri-state area.”

Skills to feature:

  • Excellent in customer relations management
  • Adept in mentoring colleagues and providing excellent service
  • Strong marketing and management strategist, with proven ability to expand business
  • Keen observer of fashion trends
  • Detail-oriented
  • Thrives in fast-paced work environment

Get to the next level: Continue growing your client base, and look to establish your own salon. Along the way, make sure you get a management certificate to be a salon manager, and gain more experience training barbers and apprentices. You should also look into consultant work to broaden your skills and client base.

Recommended Cosmetology Resume Templates

We have chosen these three creative and modern resume templates for varied job positions in Cosmetology.


This straightforward layout is topped with a strong header for contact information and the use of different colors for the job applicant’s name, making both stand out.


This stylish template helps highlight your skills by placing them in a separate column, creating a visual impact without sacrificing professionalism.


This modern design uses a monogram design for a personal touch, while the placing of section headings in the left margins makes it easy for employers to scan.

For more free, professionally-designed templates you can use, visit our resume templates page.

Cosmetology Resume FAQs

1. How should you format your resume based on your career level?

If you’re just starting your career, we recommend the functional format, since it focuses mainly on the relevant skills you’ve already gained. The chronological format is best for those who have years of solid prior work experience. The combination format marries the above two formats, and is a good choice for job candidates who have a few years of experience, or are moving over from a different career field and want to highlight transferable skills.

2. What are the qualities and traits that employers are looking for in this industry?

As this is a customer-focused industry where maintaining and growing a client base is paramount, professionals should have excellent communication skills and a pleasant personality. Cosmetologists should also have good practical knowledge of treatments and techniques in their areas of specialty, whether it’s hair care, skin or nail care, or applying makeup. Job seekers should also be up on the latest fashion and beauty trends.

3. What other useful skills, certifications and training are helpful for your resume?

In addition to a high school degree, try getting additional training or certifications, such as a cosmetology certificate or degree. You should also get a state-approved license to practice your trade, and look into business management training courses, in preparation for the opportunity to run your own beauty shop or salon.