Getting Back into Hairdressing After a Career Break

Conquering doubt

As the children get a little older and don't need mum so much, the time comes to get back into the working world but this can often be a daunting time as many women  have lots of negative thoughts towards going back to work, such as 'can I still do it?', 'am I too old to get back into it?', 'is my style of hairdressing out of date?'...and I'm sure there are many more to add to the list. The answer to all of these common doubts is nearly always NO!

I myself had a five year career break to bring up my two and as a single parent by then I really needed to get back to some form of work. I had all those negative thoughts mentioned earlier, the main one being if I could still do the job but also did I still want to return to hairdressing after such a prolonged break.

Assess your options

Initially I decided to check out some local courses and try something different, thinking hairdressing wasn't right for me anymore. I started on a floristry course and soon discovered how wrong I was - it didn't take long to realise that I was a 'hairdresser', always had been and probably always would be! I continued on with the course to get my floristry qualification despite knowing that I would never pursue it as a new career. But what it did do was help me with regaining my confidence, enough to start getting interviews back into my 'true profession'.

Another question I had always had in the back of my mind was the 'weekend work thing'. I thought I wouldn't really want to work every Saturday now that I had children and thought this would be a problem as to my mind it would be a definite requirement in all salons. But again I was totally wrong!


As I started to get interviews lined up, I always asked the question 'does this position have to include every Saturday?' (After all, if you don't ask, you don't get - so they say). Thankfully out of the four interviews I had, three of the salons said they would happily accept alternate Saturdays as they employed hairdressing mums who shared concerns about working all their weekends and not having that time to spend with their children.

I soon had my first trade test! (A lot of salons now do this; asking you to bring in a model and carry out a haircut within the salon, to show you can basically) I was so nervous as this had been the first time in a very long time that I'd had to do such a thing. I asked a friend to be my model so that I had a bit of moral support

. As I was left alone to do her hair, I was very self conscious at first thinking the other stylists would be watching and judging me but quickly realised that they were just getting on with their day and so soon I relaxed and strangely felt like I'd never left. I felt so at home in the environment and was lucky enough to be offered the job straight away.  My confidence came back almost immediately; I still had it after all!

I was really fortunate to have found a salon that does lots of training courses and went along to a few of them to see how things had changed. It was great for picking up quite a few new ideas but basically there was nothing I couldn't already do and the confidence continued to rise!

Do you need to do another hairdressing course?

Looking back, I think if I had to do it all over again then the course to take would have been a refresher in hairdressing but as it turned out I couldn't have done any course because I realise now that lack of confidence was the biggest hurdle, never ability!

If you already have the confidence and just want to get back into hairdressing as quickly as possible then I would recommend applying for jobs in larger salons that offer regular courses and training for keeping up to date with trends and techniques.

But if lack of confidence, like me is your biggest problem then I think the best route to go down would be to look into refresher courses or if that's not possible then contacting a nearby salon and volunteering your services as a salon assistant. Even if just for a day this would give you a feel for whether or not you feel like hairdressing is still for you. I think 9 times out of 10 this would be all you needed to realise that you are just as good if not better than the other stylists who are working there already.

Another way to get back into hairdressing is by taking a smaller specialist course, rather than a refresher into the whole profession. You could maybe try taking a course in your favourite aspect of hairdressing whatever  that might be! There are so many possibilities other than being 'just a hairdresser'. Take a look at the small courses on offer at local colleges, salons and even your local hair and beauty wholesalers who may run courses or if not be able to guide you on who does.

You could for example choose to specialise in wedding hair and complete a  short course in special occasion hair up. Vintage hair styling courses are also becoming more popular at the moment. 

Alternatively you could choose a colour course with the aim of becoming a colour technician, advanced colour correction courses to be able to deal with those difficult colour corrections with ease, a hair extensions course, advanced cutting course, barbering course and so the list goes on. Ultimately the choice is yours but any of the above mentioned are always going to be an asset to your profession and provide a definite boost to your CV.

In conclusion...

It really comes down to being prepared to do whatever it may take to get you back out on that salon floor and get your career back on track - you CAN do it!



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