The salon owners handed out business cards and collected resumes from students they were interested in and asked them to be in touch later.
“It pushed them to get their portfolios ready,” Williams said. “They are really comfortable with me interviewing them. But, this is a touch of the real world.”
Whittier was familiar territory for Belinda (Gosselin) Juan, who graduated as a cosmetology major in 2001 and now owns Bliss Salon and Spa in North Andover.
“The students seem very ambitious,” she said. “Ms. Williams does a great job with them. It’s nice that I can give back now and help educate them about the business.”
Among the tips she offered the girls was that they should further their education.
“Some think they just want to work in a salon, but it’s not enough anymore,” Juan said.
After graduating from Whittier, Juan went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management. She urged students to create a career page on Facebook and provide a link to photos of their work. The days of carrying around a portfolio are over, she said.
Student Dallas Bailey of Haverhill, who has worked as an assistant at William Robert’s Color Group and Salon for a year, said she appreciated meeting so many salon owners in one place.
“I like this,” she said. “It’s exciting to meet new people and talk about our futures.”
Student Kellie Lynch of Haverhill said her interviews with Amelia’s and Runway salons made her feel more confident.
“Once I got into a conversation, my nerves went away and everything flowed fine,” Lynch said. “I’m less nervous about my future now.”
Two other Whittier graduates were also on the salon side of the interview table. Chelsi Berube of Merrimac, Class of 2011, was part of the interview team with Essencia salon, where she works as a stylist.