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IMAGINE I’M A BAR MANAGER

I need to hire a new bartender (or a few bartenders) to complete my team. I’ve asked all my current staff if they know of anyone but haven’t received any viable candidates so far.

So I post a job description on all of the usual job seeker sites; within a few hours, I have a few hundred résumés flooding my inbox. I just signed up for hours of work (hours I don’t have!).

My next step will be to scan the résumés to see who has the skills I’m looking for; I’ll most likely stop looking when I have narrowed the number of candidates to around 5-10 for each spot that I have available. Now it’s time to really look at the applications and see exactly what those relevant skills are.

Whether you have very little bartending experience but are looking for a new career or you are already a professional bartender, it doesn’t hurt to review the info you’re putting out to a prospective employer. So let’s dive into what makes an excellent résumé.

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WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR IN A RÉSUMÉ FOR BARTENDERS

When I scan all the applications, I’m generally going to start with your professional experience. Where have you worked, what did you do there, and how long were you there for? If you have relevant experience, then I’ll take the time to read more.

If I think you would be a good candidate, I’ll print out your application and attach it to one of my many clipboards along with all of the other “vetted” candidates. This whole process usually takes less than a minute for each applicant.

This is a fairly common scenario for many hiring managers, and it’s easy for good candidates to get lost in this process. So how do you stand out from the crowd? The first step is to have a killer résumé.

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BARTENDER RÉSUMÉ EXAMPLE: HOW TO CREATE A BARTENDING RÉSUMÉ THAT GETS YOU NOTICED

NAIL THE BASICS

The structure of any résumé is fairly standard, regardless of the type of job you’re applying for. There’s just some information that you have to include. Here are the standard sections:

Applicant’s Name
Contact info (phone, email address, LinkedIn profile, and mailing address– or at least your city and zip code)
Your objective and/or brief description of yourself without using 1st person: This is a good place to describe your “soft skills” such as interpersonal skills, creativity, and problem-solving (These are different from “hard skills,” which are more technical and training-based.) This is usually 3-5 short sentences.

Examples of what you could include, based on experience: What type of environment you’re looking for, your general career goals, descriptions of your personal qualities such flexibility, your strengths such as exceptional customer service skills and knowledge of drink recipes, etc.

Work experience with dates and responsibilities/job requirements at each position
Relevant formal education (more on this in the FAQ section below)

Additional Sections Commonly Included:

The phrase “References Upon Request” (Have three references ready to provide any potential employer, including at least one former manager.) Many people also include a reference name, role, and contact information under each job listed. This is no longer common in most other industries, however.
Special training, awards you’ve received, interests, abilities, key skills, or specific/extensive knowledge in your field

Before you even start, I recommend you build out the body of your information. Forget the formatting for now – Concentrate on the content first.

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PRO TIPS TO MAKE YOUR APPLICATION STAND OUT

Here are a couple suggestions to up your game and avoid creating a “bad résumé” (You don’t want that!):

Never submit a two-page résumé— Always trim down the info to the most recent and keep it to one page.
Really distinguish yourself: In the section about work experience where you list your responsibilities, add “Ask me about” and list one accomplishment you’re proud of from that position. This can help steer the conversation in a job interview– and you’ll be prepared to show off your comprehensive knowledge and achievements!

Examples: “Ask me about: Creating a cocktail pairing with menu items.”

“Ask me about: Developing a menu of non-alcoholic beverages to include all guests.”

“Ask me about: Establishing lasting customer relationships.”

Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date.

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MAKE YOUR RESUME VISUALLY APPEALING

Now that you’ve created the body, it’s time to find an attractive display of a template. There are a ton of websites that provide free résumé templates. A quick Google search provided quite a few options for a résumé builder.

(Side note: You shouldn’t have to pay anything! If a website requires payment, keep looking – There are lots of genuinely free resources out there.)

 

If you are experienced at design, comb through websites like Pinterest or Google Images to get some good ideas for the look you’re going for, and then make it yourself.
If you are not tech savvy or don’t have the patience to design your own, consider hiring someone on Fiverr to do it for you or buy a beautiful template on Etsy. It might cost you anywhere between $1-40, but you’ll probably get a great-looking result without the formatting hassle.

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YOUR WORDS MATTER

This is your time to shine a light on your accomplishments! Make sure that light is bright and powerful, not dull and uninteresting. Use a thesaurus to replace repetitive words or to find more interesting words to use. Also, condense multiple short sentences into one short, powerful thought.

The hiring manager is looking for someone who will represent their bar in front of their guests. Use your language to show that you are worth sitting down and having a conversation with!

ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Make sure to go through your résumé with a fine tooth comb. Look for any spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and unimportant content. After you’ve read through it a few times, have someone that you trust read through it as well. Getting a fresh set of eyes is always helpful.

On the same note, make sure all your potential references with phone numbers and emails are up-to-date– and that your information is also correct. It sounds ridiculous, but I’ve received applications with the wrong phone number. (As you can imagine, I didn’t hire them!)

Spelling mistakes, formatting errors, and typos are not the first impression you want to leave with a new manager.

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FAQS FOR CREATING THE PERFECT BARTENDER RÉSUMÉ

1. WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE AS A BARTENDER?

Put down whatever work history you have, focusing on any customer service roles or hospitality experience in your past. Even if you haven’t worked in a bar environment, have you been part of a restaurant staff? Have you worked in retail? Have you used a cash register or used leadership skills in previous jobs?

Not all of the skills will transfer over, but at least the hiring manager will know that you have worked in a customer-facing role and can hopefully offer excellent service.  

Also consider adding any team sports that you’ve belonged to or any other positions that required you to work in a group. The bar and restaurant business is very team-oriented, so this experience is also valuable.

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2. I ATTENDED BARTENDING SCHOOL; SHOULD I INCLUDE IT?

It really depends on the bartending school that you went to. If they have a good reputation in the community, then by all means, add it under the education section.

While it may be counter-intuitive, my default answer is not to include it on a résumé – Many potential employers see it as a sign of inexperience and naïveté about the industry.

Instead of including the school’s name, look to see if the school offers job placement assistance as part of your enrollment. This may be more effective.

3. SHOULD I INCLUDE A COVER LETTER WITH MY RÉSUMÉ?

If you are emailing in your application, you can include any relevant information and a brief introduction in the body of the email. This can serve as a less formal cover letter.

If you are hand-delivering your application, then I would say that it depends on how “fancy” the potential job is. With a neighborhood bar, you would be fine with just a résumé. With a fine dining restaurant or a speakeasy bar, then a cover letter would probably make sense because it’s more formal.

4. IS IT BETTER IF I EMAIL IN MY RÉSUMÉ OR SHOULD I DROP IT OFF IN PERSON?

I always recommend dropping off your résumé in person and hand-delivering it to the hiring manager if possible. Here are some tips for getting your application into a manager’s hands.

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If you put in the effort of hand-delivering your résumé, your competition is smaller. Sure hundreds of people may have applied through email, but only five people took the time to walk their résumé to the front door.

BARTENDING RÉSUMÉ SAMPLE

Let’s look at an example of a great résumé to get you that bartending job. Obviously, this is just one résumé format, but it should give you an idea of what all these details look like on paper:

Big thanks to Jay Pouliet for allowing us to use his awesome example! Note how he utilizes columns and a smaller “honorable mentions” section to share a lot of info all in one page. He also created a QR code for his LinkedIn, which is a really creative tool I actually haven’t seen on a résumé before!

NOW GO MAKE YOUR OWN PROFESSIONAL BARTENDER RÉSUMÉ

With a bit of preparation and homework, you can write a professional, eye-catching résumé that will get your phone ringing. Just don’t forget to proofread (and have someone else proofread it again). And please, please, please… Make sure your phone number is correct!

Chris Tunstall

Co-Founder of A Bar Above and career bartender and mixologist. I love experimenting, creating cocktails, and drinking Green Chartreuse.
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