How to Get a Job as a Hairdresser

ICI AUS - Job as a Hairdresser

If you have a passion for hair and beauty, hairdressing makes a lot of sense. If you love being creative, care about style, enjoy meeting and talking with new people and you want a career that’s flexible, hairdressing could be for you. And it’s a career that comes with a mountain of benefits:

Social interaction

Interacting with your customers is an obvious perk of hairdressing, provided that you love a good chat. The perfect role if you’re a ‘people person’, it allows you to make friends with your clients and connect on a level that most other professions never could.


While there are some clients who will come in demanding the exact same style as their favourite celebrity or Insta star, hairdressing, for the most part, allows you to be creative. Hairdressing is an art and as an artist you get to put your inspiration into practice every single day.

Hairdressing calls on you to collect inspiration from a range of different sources, combine and experiment. No two customers are the same, so every client is a new canvas. What fun!

Control over hours

The appointment-only system synonymous with the hairdressing industry allows a huge amount of flexibility. You can take a job 9-5 job in a local salon, or you could take advantage of a late start and work 12-8. You can also be your own boss and set your own hours, fitting your hairdressing around your other commitments.


Today’s hairdressing is more than just a simple wash, cut and dry. New technologies, new products, new trends – hairdressing has become a science. Hairdressers can layer for texture and movement, overdirect for body and volume, thin to eliminate bulk, graduate for more weight and hand paint highlights for a natural look. They can cut asymmetrical, bevel hair for a curve, condition for moisture and feather for softness. The list goes on, and on top of this there are updos! So many choices! You can mix it up even more, by adding other services to your repertoire, such as nails, massage and skin-care.

Skills you need

Being a hairdresser requires a select set of skills that can only be acquired through practice and education. A Certificate III/IV is usually needed to work as hairdresser and the majority of them will have this qualification. To extend this, many will undertake a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Hairdressing, designed to enhance skills and career prospects. In an ever-growing profession where competition is fierce, undertaking a course like ICI’s Advanced Diploma in Hairdressing will help you fast-track your career by learning inside secrets from senior members of the profession.

Outside of qualifications and certificates you will also need:

Customer service skills

Hairdressing is a face-to-face profession, requiring strong customer service skills. This means practicing patience, attentiveness, clear communication, positive language, time management, tenacity and empathy every day.

Style and poise

Customers turn to their hairdresser to make them look good. That means presenting yourself as a source of inspiration. Hairdressers should be clean, tidy and care about their appearance. It helps if they’re trendy, too.

Willingness to learn

Many hairdressers will start out as apprentices therefore a hunger to learn is essential. If you’re not willing to improve, you risk getting left behind for someone who is. As a hairdresser, you should expect to devote time and energy to learning.

It’s important as a hairdresser that you push yourself to learn more about techniques and products. Without knowing techniques and products front-to-back you cannot effectively help your clients when they run into problems. Deep knowledge is crucial for understanding and problem-solving. It will also help you up-sale, important for boosting your income.

Ability to read people

There are some clients who will love to have a chat and there are others who simply want to stick their head in a magazine and switch off for an hour or two. Being able to make this distinction is a handy skill to have. Get to know the basic principles of behavioural psychology, and always read your customer’s emotional state.

Administration and management

If you’re planning on securing a management role, or you’d like to own your own salon one day, planning and coordinating people, appointments and resources will be a big part of your job. There’s a lot involved in running a hairdressing business and strong administration and management skills will serve you well.

Carving your own path

Most hairdressers either begin their careers as a junior apprentice in a salon, or they enter the industry having completed a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Hairdressing. Either way you’ll likely start in an entry-level position and then progress to become a colourist, stylist, senior stylist or manager. Duties you should expect include washing, cutting, perming, straightening, colouring and styling hair, as well as recommending and selling hair products for conditioning and maintaining colour. There are also administration roles such as answering phones, setting appointments, handling payments and maintaining client records.

For hairdressers wanting to specialise in a certain area, there are opportunities to hone skills or expand them through upskilling. Some hairdressers may concentrate on mastering colour, others on wedding-specific updos. Some may add value by enrolling in a Beauty Therapy & Makeup course and introducing beauty treatments such as make-up application, spray tans and hair removal. Either way, there is plenty of opportunity for career progression.

Fancy a career as a hairdresser? Enrol in an ICI Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Hairdressing today and start your career journey now. Having secured your education, you can put together your resume, start on your portfolio, build your network of contacts, apply in person and study as you go. Nothing beats study with hands-on experience!

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.