How to Improve your Employability as a Nail Technician

When applying for a job, it is essential that you stand out from other candidates by improving your employability as a nail technician.


Although salon experience is often desirable, many employers do not see this as a necessity. Employers are looking for nail technicians who take pride in their work and pay good attention to detail. You must be able to paint nails using light, dark and French polish. Although nail art is not always necessary, it is becoming increasingly popular throughout salons and nail bars. You may therefore consider developing your skills and completing a nail art course in order to appeal to employers. This could include freehand nail art, 3D acrylic nails, airbrushing and nail wrap application.

Product Training

It is likely that you will train using one brand of product but it is important that you are able to adapt to others. Practice painting nails with different nail polishes – some have thinner or wider brushes and you should become familiar with both.

The ‘three week manicure’ (or gel manicure) is a very popular treatment offered in most salons. Training in gel manicures is therefore desired by many employers. There are a number of gel polishes on the market; some are pure gel whilst others are half gel and half polish. These require different application techniques and so knowledge of both is essential.

As a nail technician, you should be able to create nail extensions. The products used for this are often due to preference - some nail technicians prefer using acrylic whilst others prefer using hard gel. Employers do not always request that you use one specific product for nail extensions. On the other hand, some salons will only recruit nail technicians who have trained with a particular brand. The most important thing is that you are able to apply durable, natural looking nail extensions that do not damage the client’s natural nails, without the use of drills.

Keeping up-to-date

You should keep up to date with new nail trends and products so that you are able to offer your clients the latest in nail services. Nail shape trends are forever changing – the ‘Squareletto’ shape has recently taken over with the help of a few celebrities. Other popular trends are ombré nails, holographic nail wraps and 3D acrylic nails. There are loads of great new products on the market too, including colour changing nail polishes and non-chip polishes that do not need a base coat. Many companies are developing new acrylic and gel products that are strong, non-yellowing and even odourless.

Other skills you may wish to develop as a nail technician include:

  • silk wraps
  • fibreglass
  • overlays
  • sculpting using acrylic and gel.

Employers are seeking nail technicians who have a number of skills. Simply put, the more you know about nails the better!


Many employers will only consider candidates who have a VTCT (Vocational Training Charitable Trust) or NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) in nail technology. It is possible that training at a reputable establishment will enhance your employability as it has several advantages. Not only do they provide recognised qualifications, some colleges now offer help with CV writing, employability workshops, interview preparation and have access to a database of jobs.

Your CV is an opportunity to sell yourself to the employer – it should highlight your qualities, skills and attributes. Ask someone to proof read your CV before handing it out to potential employers as something as simple as poor spelling and grammar appears unprofessional. A well written CV is clear and concise and will greatly improve your chances of employment.

Interview Process

When you are offered an interview, preparation is important. Don’t forget that the employer has chosen to interview you because they are interested in what you have to offer to their company. Make sure you research the company in detail and understand the job role you are applying for. What services do they offer and what is their most popular nail treatment? This will give you an idea as to what the employer is looking for in terms of skills.

Be prepared for a trade test which is a fundamental part of a beauty interview. Trade testing is an opportunity to show the employer your practical skills as a nail technician. Practice and preparation will help you to be successful in an interview. First impressions are lasting so dress professionally, speak clearly and smile!

Personal Attributes

Employers are looking for nail technicians who are punctual, reliable and can carry out quality treatments in a timely manner. Salons are often busy environments and therefore carrying out treatments within the allocated time slot is important.

Being a nail technician is a client-facing role and so you must be confident in talking with clients and advising them on nail care. Employers are looking for individuals who are friendly and willing to engage in conversation with their clients. However, you must be able to concentrate whilst talking and make sure you maintain suitable, appropriate conversations.

Additionally, employers are seeking nail technicians who work safely and hygienically. As an employee, by law you will be required to practice safely in the best interest of yourself, your clients and your work colleagues. This means sanitising your hands before each treatment, sterilising equipment and tools and storing products appropriately in accordance with COSHH regulations (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health). You must be able to demonstrate to potential employers that you are able to work safely - ensuring a safe work environment at all times.

Additional Skills

To further improve your employability, you may wish to diversify and train in additional treatments. Some nail bars also offer eyelash and eyebrow treatments and the employer will seek nail technicians who can thread, wax and do eyelash extensions. You may also choose to train in beauty therapy, holistic therapy or even hair and make-up. Nevertheless, this additional training is not mandatory and if nails are your ultimate passion, there are plenty of vacancies that require nail qualifications only.

Overall, employers are looking for professional and skilled nail technicians. In order to improve your employability, you must be able to demonstrate high quality skills in nail services. You should have a vast knowledge of the available products and treatments and also be willing to learn new skills. You should be punctual and have good time management and organisation. Lastly, show the employer that you can work well independently and as part of a team. A good attitude to work and a polite demeanour are valuable assets.

Employers are looking for confident and friendly individuals who are able to positively represent their brand and be an attribute to their team. The best way to stand out amongst other candidates is by just being yourself! Personality is important and is often one of the main reasons why clients will rebook an appointment and request you. Your character is what makes your service personal and unique and this is what employers are seeking.


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