Graduating from beauty school is the first big step on your path toward employment in the fun and fast-paced world of professional hairstyling.

Whether you’ve just nabbed your diploma or are finishing off your last few classes and exams, now’s the time to start thinking about … dun, dun, dunnn … Interviews.

First of all, don’t let that word scare you.

Interviewing for a stylist position can certainly be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are 5 tips for preparing well and making sure you nail that first interview!

Tip #1 – Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Never go into an interview without spending at least a few hours preparing. Here are some main points to know before going in:

  • Everything about the job, including whatever was available on the original posting. What specific job are you applying for? What skills are necessary, and do you have them? What will the hours be? Etc.
  • Where and when the interview is scheduled. Plan your route and what time you need to leave. Check traffic and where and how you’ll park. Add cushion time just to be safe.
  • Who you’ll be interviewing with, if that information is available.
  • What they’ll probably ask you. This is a good time to do a mock interview with someone who is already a stylist, a teacher, or a friend or relative.

Tip #2 – Be polite and formal.

You might think being too polite and formal will come off wrong. After all, you’re a fun person — why not show it, right?

Certainly, be yourself in an interview, but always err on the side of politeness and formality.

Dress the part. Be modest and professional. Have pressed and lint-rolled clothing. Don’t wear what you would wear to work on an average day. Wear a professional-looking outfit.

Say “please,” and “thank you.” Shake hands firmly. Sit up straight. Maintain eye contact. Use full sentences, and avoid um’s, uh’s, and slang as much as possible.

Tip #3 – Follow-up.

Make sure you have the address of the place where you interviewed and the names of the people you interviewed with when you leave.

Then, always send a brief and polite thank you note right after you get home from the interview. Express more interest in the position, and give your contact information again.

Tip #4 – Realize that, even with all the preparation in the world, you’re still going to be nervous.

And that’s okay.

In fact, it’s good. Your potential employers want to see that you want this job! If you’re super relaxed and carefree, it will come off like you don’t really care about the position.

So, if your hands are a bit shaky or you accidentally fumble your words, don’t sweat it (well, you might be sweating too…). Just remember to focus on the preparation you’ve been working on and get through it the best you can.

Tip #5 – Use your resources.

At Long Island Beauty School, we are dedicated to helping you find a great stylist job, and our career services staff is here to help. Come to us for help on your resume, networking tips, and much more! Learn more here.

Final Tip – Keep trying.

Not everyone nails their very first interview and gets the job. In fact, that’s pretty rare. Do your best! But if you don’t get the job, don’t quit trying.

Interviewing is difficult, and it takes a lot of initiative and hard work. Just keep scheduling, preparing, and going to those interviews. Put your best foot forward every time.

Your dream stylist job is out there — you just have to find it!