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How to Get a Job at a Tanning Salon

Are you wondering how to get a job at a tanning salon? If YES, here are 5 proven steps to get a job at a tanning salon. 

The tanning salon industry represents a novelty market share of the general retail commerce. Experts estimate about 10,000 tanning salons to be in operation in the United States, and they offer enormous opportunities for more than 60,000 entry-level workers and career professionals in various capacities.

According to reports, growth in the industry experienced a slowing in recent years; however, overall projections show an estimated expansion of over 3 percent over the next ten years, which closely mirrors other industries in the U.S. economy.

Jobs in the tanning industry include working at a tanning salon or mobile tanning truck, working as a tanning consultant, or working at a spa or resort that provides tanning experiences.

If you work at a salon or mobile tanning unit, your responsibilities include scheduling customer appointments, preparing sun beds, ensuring facilities remain clean and performing a variety of clerical duties. As a tanning consultant, your role may include giving advice to clients, such as suggestions for quality spray tan products or affordable self-tanning equipment.

Note that the qualifications to get a job in the tanning industry start with a high school diploma or GED certificate. A good number of employers prefer candidates who have some previous experience in the retail industry, although this is not always a strict requirement.

Other skills and qualities you require for the tanning industry include strong customer service, general knowledge about tanning products and safety, and good verbal communication. Computer literacy and knowledge of appointment software are also useful for jobs in the tanning industry.

One of the most common perks of working for a tanning salon includes free or discounted usage of tanning beds and free or discounted merchandise, such as lotions, protective eyewear, stickers, and memorabilia, if applicable.

Managers in these establishments may receive job benefits packages consisting of 401(k) retirement plans or other financial assistance, healthcare coverage, and time off. Part-time associates more or less work very flexible schedules and enjoy ample room to tailor schedules around personal commitments.

Tanning salons tend to stay open seven days per week and into most evenings as late as 9:00 pm. The minimum wage represents the average entry-level pay for part-time workers.

Full-time associates may make a few dollars above state minimum wage, or roughly $8.00 or $9.00 per hour, depending on location. Typical managerial salary options fall between $25,000 and $30,000 annually.

How to Approach, Apply and Pitch Tanning Salon Owners for a Job

First and foremost, it doesn’t matter if you are a recent graduate, a seasoned career professional who just recently relocated, an old pro that has been out of the business for a while, or if you are simply trying to move into a different environment–whatever your case is, these tips to help you approach, apply and pitch to salon owners.

  1. Ensure Your Technical Skills Are Where They Need To Be

Are you on top of your game? A good tanning salon owner will expect you to do a test service on a model, which they will observe and analyze.

Some might even select the model and the service themselves to test how you work under pressure, so if you think you are going to walk into an interview with a model you are familiar with, you may be in for a shock, especially if you are applying at a high-end establishment.

But if you aren’t 100 percent confident, or feel you could benefit from a confidence boost, take a hands-on refresher class or a continuing education course.

  1. Type Up A Clean, Professional Resume And Include References

The truth is that you are not a high school student seeking a part time job in a neighborhood store. Walking into any tanning salon and asking for an application is tacky and reeks of poor planning. It is imperative you take a few hours to type up a nice resume, even if your job experience is limited. Your resume should include:

1. Your first and last name…

2. Your contact information: include your home address (no PO boxes), your phone number, and a professional looking email address. Consider using your real name or your first initial and last name. It’s easy to remember.

3. Your education: Include the beauty academy you attended as well as any continuing education courses you may have taken.

4. Relevant experience: Employers don’t care if you have worked as a lifeguard at the Olympics. They don’t care if you are a certified Kung Fu instructor.

They are also not interested in your side job as a promotional model or what middle school you went to. They want to know what cosmetology school you graduated from, what cosmetology-related certifications/awards you have received, what salons/spas you have worked at, and for how long.

5. A list of professional references and any letters of recommendation you may have

Have it in mind that your dad doesn’t count and neither do your friends. Do not list family or friends as references unless they know you on a professional level. List your prior employers, your beauty academy instructors, your co-workers, and fellow students, and throw in a loyal client or two if you have some.

However, make sure you get permission from each person before you use them as a reference. List their full name, your relationship to them, their phone number, and their email address if you have it. Make them as easy as possible to contact.

6. Notable achievements

If you have won competitions or awards, run charity fundraisers, positively contributed to a workplace to change that workplace for the better, list those things!

7. Your current career objectives: This does not have to be an outline of your five or ten year plan.

8. The technical areas you feel you are confident in as well as the areas you feel you need to work on:

Don’t just list your strong points; list your weak ones as well. Try not to include a list of personality traits that make you look nice.

Employers see those lists on every resume they receive and they are very sure that you are very reliable, responsible, respectful, prompt, polite, and professional, but are more interested in knowing what services you excel at.

Don’t forget that attitude and work ethic are of the utmost importance–everything else can be taught. Employers want to see professionalism, dedication, and–above all–honesty.

  1. Prepare For The Interview

Note that you will want to prepare answers for every possible question you can think of. Be prepared to have an interviewer who is sick of dealing with an endless stream of professionals that don’t have themselves together professionally.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself facing someone who seems less than enthused to be dealing with yet another potential employee.

For a lot of employers in this job market, interviewing has become a tedious, frustrating chore. Have it in mind that he/she can and will see right through if you slip up, and will also know and say something about it. You are unlikely to come across an employer that brutal, but they exist.

  1. Interview Day

On the day of your interview:

1. Arrive 10 minutes early: Not 15 minutes early, not 12 minutes early, not 5 minutes early–10 minutes early.

2. Be dressed professionally: Remember to dress as well as or better than the owner person. Freshly ironed black dress pants, a nice blouse, a well-fitted blazer, and clean, black, closed-toed shoes are excellent. Keep the accessorizing unobtrusive and to a minimum.

3. Have your hair, makeup, and nails done: Have it in mind that you are representing your industry. Don’t show up with raggedy nails, messy hair, and loud cosmetics. Your makeup should be quite natural, your nails well maintained, and your hair styled nicely.

Most employers in the Tanning or salon business accept and sometimes encourage professionals to be creative with their look, but if you are looking to find a job ASAP without a clientele, aim for neutrality.

4. Have your paperwork ready: Ensure you have your resume, letters of recommendation, portfolio, a copy of your professional license, and anything else you may need handy.

  1. Clean Up Your Web Presence

It doesn’t matter if you do everything right, if your potential employer does a web search on you and finds anything unprofessional or less than flattering, you are more or less finished. Note that this is not about learning to better utilize your privacy settings; this is about completely wiping everything questionable that is related to you from the internet.

For instance, Facebook is well renowned for changing its privacy policies and undergoing technical issues that compromise its user’s “protected” statuses and images, causing them to become publicly available without that user’s knowledge.

Also note that your friends have cameras, social accounts, and the ability to tag you. The last thing you want is for your potential employers (or worse, clients) to stumble on that.

Therefore, before you submit your application and resume, delete those incriminating selfies you took in your bathroom mirror with your exposed cleavage pushed up to your chin and those petty status updates about your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend.


After the interview, do not be afraid to inquire further about policies or conditions that seem unfair or questionable to you. You want to know what you are getting into and a good employer will understand. A lot of owners treat salon and spa professionals like they are a dime a dozen.

Prove to them that you are different. However, remember that your long-term professional satisfaction matters, and be sure to protect yourself against shady, opportunistic business owners.