How Do I Become a Hairdresser in Australia?

Congratulations on taking the first step to find out how to become a hairdresser in Australia and starting your career in Hairdressing!
The Hair and Beauty industry is in high demand and is worth more than $4 billion each year in Australia alone and currently employs around 81,000 people so your chances of getting a job and becoming a Hairdresser are superb!

So what exactly does a hairdresser do?

As a fully qualified hairdresser you can expect to cut, colour, straighten, perm, treat and maintain you clients hair as well as any other request they might have such as blow drying and styling.

However in the early stages of your apprenticeship you will more than likely be undertaking more basic duties such as washing and rinsing hair, welcoming clients, taking bookings, cleaning and maintaining the store and even making a cup of tea for a customer or in some salons bringing them a cheeky glass of bubbly.

Specific duties will vary from salon to salon, to give you a better perspective a list of general requirements is listed below:

  • Taking bookings, dairy management and processing payments.
  • Offering advice on styling, colouring and maintenance.
  • Shampooing, conditioning and treatments.
  • Permanently straightening or waving hair.
  • Styling your clients with scissors, razors or clippers.
  • Braiding, adding hair extensions, weaves and dreadlocks.
  • Cut or style weaves or hair pieces.
  • Shaving or trimming beards and/or moustaches.
  • Keeping your utensils as well as your premises clean and sanitary.

As you advance in your career you will no doubt find your niche and naturally start to specialise in a particular field, for example, becoming a colour specialist, working as a shampoo technician or advancing into the fashion world. But more on that later in the article.

What training do I need?

To become a Hairdresser in Australia you must complete the certificate III in hairdressing. Currently there are two options to complete this course. The first option is to complete an apprenticeship in hairdressing. Hairdressing apprenticeships are one of the most popular apprenticeships with females today with an ever growing increase amongst males.

Entry requirements can vary, but most employers will generally require you to complete year 10 of high school.
Your training will be both on and off the premises. The off premises training is delivered through Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s). Your place of training may depend on the employer and will be finalised as part of your training agreement.

    • Three to four years apprenticeship.
    • Paid work with a “host employer” for the period of the apprenticeship.
    • Attending off the premises training at an Registered Training Organisation.

Click here to read more about completing your certificate III as an apprenticeship in hairdressing.

The second option for those is wish to become a hairdresser quickly or within a year is full time study through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) such as Tafe which is a public institution or through a private establishment. On completion of this course the student with be recognised with a national trade qualification for hairdressing.

Click here to read more about completing your certificate III by studying hairdressing full time or part time.

Ready to take the plunge?

So you know you want to become a hairdresser, you know what’s involved and you are versed in the training requirements. Now it’s time to get boots to the ground and find yourself that dream position.

If  you are looking for an an apprenticeship then first things first, get your resume prepared, to read more about preparing your resume click here. Start by chatting to family and friends and put the word out that you are interested in an apprenticeship as a hairdresser, as they say “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”! Get online, searching for positions on sites such as Seek or Indeed is a sure fire way to find multitudes of salons who are looking to take on an apprentice.

Advance your search by visiting your local beauty salons and introducing yourself, take along your resume and covering letter and introduce yourself to the manager. Explain you are looking for an apprenticeship. Ensure you are well presented as well as portraying a friendly and positive attitude. Remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get! Another good tip good tip is to visit when the store isn’t too busy!

Once I’m qualified, then what?

As you know you get out what you put in, so once you are qualified and putting in the hard yards the sky’s the limit! From mobile hairdressing to owning your own salon to becoming a celebrity’s private hairstylist, there is no end to where your talents can take you.
Please see our article on building your brand for an in depth review on where your career can take you.

In Summary

Step One: Ensure that you have fully researched and are aware of all the factors involved before committing to a career in hairdressing. Look into how much Australian Hairdressers can earn and what finaicial aid you may be entitled to while studying

Step Two: Certificate III in hairdressing is the course you need to complete to qualify as a hairdresser in Australia. This can be studied over three to four years through an Australian apprenticeship, alternatively you can complete the cert III in around one year via  full time study.

Step Three: Advance your career by taking on further study starting with the Certificate IV in hairdressing.

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Writing a Resume

Even though hairdressers are in high demand, applying for hairdressing roles can be very competitive. This means one of the most important things you’ll need when applying for a job as a hairdresser is a well written and professional resume.
Besides you portfolio, the right resume coupled with a killer cover letter can really will give you the best chance of successfully landing a job at your chosen salon.

Introduce yourself: The first thing you need to do is provide basic contact information. You should have your name, address, contact number and email address clearly placed at the top of the resume. This makes it easy for your prospective employee to get in touch with you.

List your education: Start with your most recent course first and work backwards. If you are in the process or have completed your Certificate II, then list it first along with the name of the institution and the start and finish date. Repeat this back until secondary school. There is no need to go further back than this.

Employment: Similar to detailing your education, start with your most recent role and work your way back including your length of employment and duties along the way for each role. But remember to be creative and don’t sell yourself short when listing your experience.
If you have not yet gained paid employment ensure you list any other informal or volunteer work you may have participated in over the years. Volunteer work shows that you are proactive and part of the community. This could be anything from babysitting to helping out at school to walking your family dogs, this shows that you can take responsibility and be relied upon.
Your achievements: Ensure you include any kind of awards or successes that you have accomplished over the years. Be it academic or in the arts, it will show that you have focus and commitment and been rewarded as a result.

Additional skills: Do you have any other skills to offer such as speaking another language or are you a wiz using Microsoft publisher, you will be surprised what assets you already have.

Interests and activities: Add a few key items that are of interest you, this will give your employer an insight to the kind of person you are. Are you in a band or interested in music, do you enjoy reading or perhaps you are in a church group, these interests will show that you are a mature and well-rounded person and hopefully just the candidate they are looking for.

Provide two referees: A referee is someone who knows you in a formal or more professional manner, this person may have to speak to your potential employer who will want to know if you are a trustworthy and reliable person. You could ask a family friend, a teacher who you get along with or a previous employer to be your referee.

Layout is Key: After collating all your specifics you can then put your energy into your cover letter and resumes presentation. In all honesty if it looks poor it’s highly likely that your potential employer won’t even read it. So keep the layout simple. These days most jobs are applied for online but on the off chance that you are applying with a hardcopy then ensure your papers are presented on clean white or off white paper and placed in a simple plain folder. Never use coloured paper to print a letter of application or resume.

Proof read: Last but definitely not least is proof read! Proof read that screen once twice even three times. Also ask a friend or your parents to go over it for you. A resume littered with spelling and grammatical errors will have been a complete waste of your time. Finally be clear and concise, ensure your resume is no longer than a page.

When providing your email address, try and register something simple and appropriate such as [email protected], or [email protected], it will look far more appropriate on an application than the quirky one you use for your social media etc.

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What makes a good hairdresser

What do people look for in a hairdresser? What keeps them returning to you and not moving on to another stylist or salon? Well obviously first and foremost is the great cut and colour you give them but there is another very important element that makes you stand out above the rest. And that something is you, the person you are and how you carry yourself and interact with your clients. Being the best you can be takes more than a great haircut, it takes personality. So here are a few good pointers to get you on the road to success.

Manage your time: People don’t like to wait, we live in a society where people want it all and they want it now and if you want them to stick around then it’s probably best not to make them wait too long. So learn to manage you’re your time effectively by planning your day before it starts, get things prepared in advance and ensure you allow plenty of time per client. Don’t over commit yourself and take the help when offered. If you earn a reputation for being on time clients will come back and your business will grow.

Be honest: We have all been there, seated in the hairdressers chair and the stylist asks “so what look are we going for today?” you instantly whip out your smart phone with a previously saved screenshot of the latest celebrity hair craze and coyly ask “Can you make me look like this?” In your mind you’re thinking you are going to come out looking like Gigi Hadid or a Kardashian sister fresh of the set of a modelling shoot! But in reality not everyone suits all colours and styles and as a professional you really need to be honest with your client and manage their expectations. Use your skills and knowledge to help them find a variant on their desired look which will flatter their own unique look. Remember that everyone wants to look great and have a gorgeous on trend look so it’s your job to guide your client to what actually suits their tone and face shape.

Knowledge: For hairdressers in Australia it’s not enough these days to be able to get away with just a simple cut and colour. You have be on top of all the latest styles and trends and stay on well-informed on what’s in the now. Social media is a great way to follow trends and get new inspirational ideas. If you find yourself being the source of the inspiration then start up your own blog or website and no doubt you’ll have people looking to you for the latest styles and concepts. Either way keep in mind that trends can come and go in the blink of an eye so keep your finger on the pulse at all times and never stop learning.

Pay attention: Giving your client your undivided attention will ensure your client feels valued by you and gives them a sense of security with you. They will feel that you are both on the same page in terms of the style or colour they are looking for and what they are trying to convey to you, which help build a long term client relationship. A good stylist who gives their client their undivided attention will reap the rewards when the client regularly returns and also tells their friends about you.

Be a good listener: A good hairdresser will always listen carefully to what their client is asking, but you should certainly ask questions to clarify and ensure you are both on the same page, just before you start it’s a good idea to run through what you are about to do once more so that any miscommunication can be ironed out beforehand.
Once you get started then comes the ever famous hairdresser client chit chat. Try to take an interest especially in your regular customers and engage with them in genuine conversations. However unless you are a naturally chatty person it can be hard and somewhat draining to keep up a conversation the whole day. One of the ways to overcome this is to let your client take the lead, most people love to talk about themselves so when you get the chance give your vocal chords a rest and let your customer get it all out.

An unhappy client: Every now and again a hairdresser can get it wrong and make a mistake. But it’s how you handle the situation and move forward that’s important. Wither it was down to a lack of communication or a genuine misunderstanding a good hairdresser will be prepared to do what it takes so that their client leaves their salon happy with the results.

Offcourse most hairdressers can provide cutting, styling, colouring, bleaching and straightening services, but to stand out above the rest you need to give that little something extra, so don’t hold back, be the best darn hairdresser you can be.

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Highs & Lows of Hairdressing

Hairdressing is a great career choice, being responsible for making your client feel truly beautiful while at the same time expressing your creative side can give you a career full of great personal fulfilment. Then you have one of “those” days, were everything seems to go wrong and you feel the complete opposite. As with any career, you experience times that are good and others, not so good. You may even at times ask yourself “What am I doing?”, or “Why am I here?”.

This is all perfectly normal and we’re here help you understand the highs and lows of being a hairdresser. To reassure you that it’s all part of the journey and something that we all go through at some stage.

One of the greatest highs of being a hairdresser is you get to work in a creative, dynamic environment where you get to experience something different every day. As a hairdresser you get to meet a lot of interesting people. You also have the power to not only transform the way your client looks but also how they feel about themselves. Each client in the chair presents a new challenge with their own unique wants and requirements. Exceed these and you will feel for yourself the greatest sense of pride and satisfaction that any career can give.

Hairdressing is also a very flexible career choice. There are plenty of work options available to suit your preference. From working standard salon hours, to taking appointments only on days that suit you or freelance and go mobile. Being a mobile hairdresser could be anything form visiting clients in their homes, being a session stylist on shoots or sets to travelling the world renting a chair in any destination you choose. As long as you’re willing to put in the hard work, all you need is your scissors, comb and sense of style.

Another perk is that you get to try an amazing variety of skills and techniques on a daily basis. For example you may give mostly haircuts, but also have some styling appointments, chemical services (such as colour, perms and straightening services). Some clients may even willingly encourage you to push the limits and are happy to be part of the process. Giving you not only great inspiration but an opportunity to add to your portfolio.

While working day to day as a hairdresser you’ll also develop people skills as you will regularly meet and engage in conversation with some very interesting people. Your social skills will become highly refined as you learn how to deal with some interesting personalities, you may even find yourself engaging in client psychology. Furthermore you have the opportunity to attend industry events which provide a fantastic opportunity to network and get in contact with like-minded professionals. These are real world interpersonal skills that are valuable to you not just as hairdresser, but any career path you may decide to pursue.

Employers in the hair industry see the benefit in upskilling and furthering the training of stylists in the salon. It is in their best interest to do so as it makes you more appealing to clients more valuable to the salon. Career development could include anything from small local training classes to interstate or even overseas industry events. Either way an employer’s investment in your future is in an investment in their own business.

Of course, as with any profession, there are the things that ae not so appealing, the lows. These make the profession more challenging, and should be considered before you decide to become a hairdresser.

While your decision to become a hairdresser should not just be about the money, it is an important to consider what effect can have an effect on how you may feel during the early stages of your career. When you’re starting things can seem very overwhelming. Not only are you dealing with being in a new environment, with new responsibilities, it can also feel like you are working very hard for long hours for a relativity small reward. That’s not to say that hairdressing can’t be a well-paid career, it can be once you break past this barrier, hairdressers have the potential to earn a very decent living. As you progress it can also be a very well paying career choice especially if you are career driven and always strive to be bigger and better.
Being a hairdresser is physically demanding, in fact as a hairdresser you’ll spend almost all of your time on your feet. This physical stress can lead issues such as sore feet and ankles, back aches, joint pain and fatigue. Often physical stress can lower the immune system making you more vulnerable to other undesirable conditions. You can learn more about fatigue and other occupational risk here.
While a lot of the time interacting with clients can be a rewarding experience, there are times you may need to deal with difficult clients. There is no pleasing some people which means you need to be extra careful when communicating with them. Even though as hairdresser, your intent is to get the best result for the clients. There are days when a difficult customer can catch you by surprise. Doubly you may be feeling flat or unwell, and having to deal with this additional stress can really get you down. Experience can play a big role in dealing with client issues.

Being a hairdresser you are taking on a big responsibility each time you work with a client. Let’s face it a cut or style, gone wrong is worst case scenario for both the hairdresser and client. Sometimes things don’t go as planned and despite the best intentions or efforts to minimise the issue, the client may still be left a less than desirable outcome.
As a hair professional you will no doubt be very particular about your hair, in the same way a lot of clients can feel the same about there’s. When they come to you for a haircut, colour service, or other procedure, they expect you to make them look their best. Accidents do happen, and hair does grow back, but this can spoil an otherwise great ongoing relationship with the client. It never feels good being made to feel responsible for an unfortunate situation.

Being a hairdresser can be very competitive. Each year there are any number aspiring and talented hairdressers who have just completed training. Many more are also upskilling and specialising in certain trends and products. This is not necessarily a bad thing as competition is good for the industry, however it means that your training as a hairdresser is never really over. There are always new techniques being developed as well as new products and processes that need to be learned to remain current with trends and styles.

The issue with this is that for clients there is no shortage of choice. You can even see your client base may slowly decrease as they discover other options. You will need to innovate and learn to adapt in order to remain the hairdresser or salon of choice. Good relationships with clients do go a long way, however even loyal customers are happy to switch if it is convenient for them, or if they think they getting a better quality service. It’s just the way things are and if you let this get you down or take things personally, you can easily become discouraged.
Lows aside, hairdressing is and incredibly rewarding career choice. Throughout your career you will experience some incredible highs and likewise some demotivating lows. The thing to remember is that understanding the issues you potentially face is not only useful for deciding if hairdressing is for you, but can also prepare you for dealing with typical setback you can face. Awareness is half the battle and sharing with other like-minded hair professionals goes a long way to dealing with the common issues you may face.

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