How To Build a Cosmetology Portfolio

One of the best tools you can use during your job search and salon interviews is your cosmetology portfolio. It highlights your work and experience and shows a potential employer why you should be hired over someone else. It also gives current and future clients confidence in your work and can help you build your reputation and credibility as a cosmetologist.

And it’s never too early to build your cosmetology portfolio. Here are a few tips to get you started!

Create a Photo Gallery for Your Cosmetology Portfolio

The most important section of your portfolio is the gallery of your work. You can’t bring hair models with you to every interview. The next best thing is a photographic showcase of what you’ve done for your clients. Include 10 to 15 before and after photos that will make a dramatic statement.

Pro tip: Organize your photos into sections for hair, makeup, and nails.

Show Up on Social Media

In this day and age, it’s also vital to showcase your work through social media. Most potential employers or clients may search for your work on various platforms before deciding to work with you. Instagram is especially important for beauty professionals, as its layout is optimized for sharing photos.

Not sure what to post on social media? Here are a few ideas!

  • Before and afters
  • Behind-the-scenes photos, like processing pictures or applying color!
  • Braids
  • Updos
  • Pictures of you with an introduction caption
  • Videos
  • Motivational quotes
  • Educational posts like skin or hair care tips
  • Product features
  • Client reviews

You can always gain inspiration from accounts that inspire you, like Jena King or Caitlin Lozano. If you’d like to keep up with the students at Salon Success Academy, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

Use Your Cosmetology Portfolio to Build Yourself Up

The photos only tell half of the story. The rest of your portfolio should highlight your expertise as a cosmetologist. Make sure you have all the right components:

  • Your Resume

Make sure it’s up to date, with all your most recent and relevant experiences. Include externships and volunteer experience, as well as any classes you’ve taken. And make sure it’s picture-perfect and polished; no errors or typos.

  • Awards

Pat yourself on the back! If you’ve received any awards for styling, creativity, customer service, reliability, or attendance, include them in your portfolio. Recognition from others enhances your reputation. Have you participated in a competition? Were you a school ambassador? These demonstrate a positive attitude and enthusiasm.

  • Reviews or Testimonials

If you have any reviews from clients or letters of recommendation from instructors, include those here as well! These votes of confidence can help potential employers or customers build trust in you. According to Qualtrics, about 93% of consumers say reviews influence their purchasing decisions. Whether it’s a client purchasing your services or an employer buying into you as an employee, reviews can help build your case! Don’t have any reviews yet? Just ask! Data shows most customers will leave a review if asked. If you’re still a student, ask your instructors for letters of recommendation. You can also ask the clients you help on the floor to leave you a review on Google for the school as well!

  • Projects and Activities

Do you manage social media for your salon? Did you create a fun contest or campaign to attract new clients? Have you done any educational outreach in the community or at local schools? Did you lead your salon’s celebration of National Beautician’s Day? By participating in projects and activities, you show passion and dedication to your craft.

  • Licenses and certificates

Once you earn your cosmetology license, put a copy of it in your portfolio. If you have a license in a related field such as barbering or have earned additional certificates from taking classes, include those too.

Make Hard and Digital Copies of Your Cosmetology Portfolio

It’s the 21st century, so a digital portfolio is a must. It’s more accessible to potential employers and clients, especially if you link it to your online resume or professional social media accounts. It’s also easier to update. And you should update your portfolio at least every six months.

But you should still have a hard copy of your portfolio. Use a three-ring binder with dividers and bring it along on job interviews. It’s easy to transport and can be a great conversation starter—especially if you’re a little nervous.

Get an Education at Salon Success Academy

If you’re ready to build that other key piece of your portfolio—your education—look no further than Salon Success Academy. We offer a Cosmetology Program that can teach you the fundamentals in hair, makeup, and mani/pedi techniques taught by a group of dedicated professionals. To learn more, call 877-987-HAIR (4247) or fill out the form on this page!

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