When you think about going to the salon or getting your nails done, what do you imagine besides leaving with a beautiful new hairdo or a gorgeous gel manicure? Most people probably associate a trip to the salon with excellent customer service, a relaxing atmosphere, and a beauty professional who practically doubles as a therapist with their gift of the gab and their sensitivity and attention to the customer’s needs. It’s no accident that beauty professionals are so adept at making you feel right at home. Beyond the more technical coursework that cosmetologists, hairstylists, estheticians, and other beauty professionals need to master, they also need to have a firm grasp on so-called soft skills. But what are soft skills, what is the importance of soft skills, and what soft skills matter most to workplace success and why?
What are soft skills in the workplace?
What are soft skills at work? In short, another word for soft skills might be “people skills.” Yet another person might categorize it as the professional’s “emotional intelligence quotient” when dealing with other people. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, represents someone’s ability to empathize and communicate effectively with others, plus to overcome conflicts and challenges.
In other words, soft skills are the personal attributes and character traits a professional has created that help them interact harmoniously with other people. They’re the social and emotional skills that make someone a pleasure to work with or be around. The term “soft skills” is often considered a misnomer, because even though these are the intangible skills that dictate someone’s interpersonal relationships, they’re in no way less defined or important than technical skills, known as “hard skills.” Despite their non-technical nature, they shouldn’t be considered less important for professionals to possess. In fact, soft skills are considered to be earned through life experience rather than taught in school, making them even more valuable.
What soft skills matter most, and why?
According to a LinkedIn study, more than 90% of hiring managers believe it’s increasingly important to find job candidates with well-developed soft skills and that these skills are even more important than technical skills, and nearly as many say these qualities can make or break a job candidate’s chances. But what soft skills matter most in the beauty industry, and why are they key?
First, let’s talk about what soft skills are frequently in demand for those in the beauty professions. Time management, communication, adaptability, integrity, customer service, networking, social skills, problem-solving, and active listening are all examples of soft skills essential for beauty professionals. Below, we’ll touch on how some of these soft skills apply to the work of beauty professionals: Time management — You might be wondering, why is time management considered a soft skill when it’s so important to workplace success in nearly every field? It’s for that very reason — the major benefits it brings to the working environments — and because it’s a skill developed over time but not specifically taught in many school programs. It’s not a technical skill that employers often test for, but it’s crucial to the success of a beauty professional because maximizing time means serving the most clients possible and making the money that goes with it. Teamwork — Another crucial factor among the soft skills is teamwork. The teamwork soft skill is necessary for proper salon management. Stylists need to help one another if their teammates are running behind, which can include sweeping the floor, stepping in to rinse out a client’s color, entertaining a client who’s waiting, or putting in a load of towels. A team member who works to benefit the whole salon, instead of focusing only on their own clients, will help the business succeed and grow. Active listening — Active listening is one of the most crucial communication skills for beauty professionals to have in order to provide the best possible service. It involves not only listening to clients’ words about what service they want and what vision they have for their own beauty, but also paying close attention to nonverbal cues and feedback that might indicate client discomfort or displeasure. Building trust and establishing rapport with clients help beauty professionals understand when to change course and alter their techniques in order to serve the customer best. Networking — Networking isn’t just for suit-clad businesspeople at conferences; it’s for any professional who wants to form mutually beneficial connections. In the beauty industry, professionals need to understand how to open up and connect with people, how to make an ask (like, “please refer your friends to this salon” or “please share this photo on social media”) and how to follow up on the conversation to keep the connection going. This skill is necessary at beauty school, while forging a client base, and at industry trade showers and conferences. Get some business cards and get to connecting. Want to learn more of the skills that every beauty professional needs to know? Contact us to find out how we can support your career goals.