Our Guide to Building a Cosmetology Portfolio

Beauty school student on laptop surrounded by makeup and brushes

Dear cosmetology students: there is truly no better way to showcase your skills, accomplishments, and unique style to potential employers than a well-made cosmetology portfolio. Job hunting in the beauty industry is similar to other creative markets: you need to be able to show what you can do, not just tell.

Crafting a diverse and intriguing cosmetology portfolio will allow employers to see your unique style of work and what you would bring to the table as an employee. So, how do you create one? Houston Training Schools, a beloved cosmetology school in Houston, is here to uncover how to create a stand-out cosmetology portfolio for your future endeavors.

What should be included in a cosmetology portfolio?

A cosmetology portfolio is either a hard copy (physical) or a soft copy (digital) of:

  • Evidence of completed training for cosmetology at a legitimate beauty school. This evidence can include diplomas, certificates, etc.
  • Your state-issued cosmetology license.
  • Letters of recommendation from former employers and teachers, former or current client testimonials, or other documentation in which someone who you have provided services for can vouch for your skills.
  • Photos of your past and current work. Be sure to also include photos of a diverse range of clients, styles, and techniques to show your versatility as a cosmetologist.

Here’s a tip: start building your portfolio as a student. Do not wait until graduation day to begin gathering evidence of your work. Because a professional portfolio should be carefully curated, building it over time will help you to pick and choose your best work to present to potential employers.

If you’re ready to begin, here are some tips on how to make a cosmetology portfolio.

How to make a cosmetology portfolio

Before we dive into these tips, we encourage each and every student to follow their instincts and create whatever type of portfolio will showcase their work and talent best. These tips are intentionally broad to allow for flexibility when creating your own unique portfolio.

Step 1: Photograph everything

As a cosmetology student, you will be tasked to deliver projects that demonstrate a wide range of useful skills* and techniques. Take every opportunity you can to document your work and progress through photos. That way, at the end of your education you’ll have a plethora of photos to include in your portfolio. Believe us, you can never have too many photos. Potential employers love to see improvement as a clear sign of personal and professional growth.

If you attend a school like Houston Training Schools that encourages hands-on learning, you will have the opportunity to provide beauty school services to real-life clients whose transformations can make great portfolio content. Depending on their satisfaction level, the clients can even offer their testimonials to increase your credibility.

*Keep reading: What skills are needed to be a cosmetologist?

Step 2: Create a cosmetology social media account

Remember how we said your cosmetology portfolio could also include a “soft copy?” A social media portfolio is an effective way to showcase your skills. By creating a professional cosmetology Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or TikTok account, you can document your work over time and potentially gain a following to attract future clientele! Many cosmetologists use social media to showcase their work to the world, and you can too!

Before creating a social media portfolio, be sure that it is separate from any personal accounts and use discretion when posting. Showcase your personality and skill set in a way that potential employers will find intriguing. It is also a good idea to check your beauty school’s guidelines on social media to ensure that you are not breaking any rules while building your social media portfolio.

Step 3: Make your cosmetology portfolio stand out

Cosmetology portfolios are like resumes in the business world — every single student has one. It is crucial to make your cosmetology portfolio feel unique and true to you and your skill set. It’s always a good idea to include photos of more traditional skills, but adding elements that portray your unique talents and personality will go a long way when you are applying for all types of cosmetology careers.

Whether your portfolio is in a design binder or online, you want to ensure that your unique brand comes across clearly. Choosing a signature color for your website or a watermark for your photos can help employers remember you and your work more clearly when they’re choosing from a handful of other applicants.

Build an outstanding cosmetology portfolio with the help of Houston Training Schools

The truth is, your cosmetology portfolio is not only a reflection of your skills, but it is also a reflection of your education. Where you train to become a licensed cosmetologist can either set you up for success in the beauty industry or leave you feeling behind your peers.

Houston Training Schools offers students many opportunities to not only build their portfolio but also their personal brand and overall confidence as a cosmetologist. Our immersive learning experience prepares students for a future career in beauty by allowing them to gain real-life knowledge that they can apply to their portfolio content.

If you want to join a beauty school that can help you to curate an effective cosmetology portfolio, apply online today to be a part of the Houston Training Schools student body. Your future in beauty may be just one click away.

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