How To Get A Bartender Job
7 Steps to Landing A Bartending Job
So, you want to know how to get a bartender job but you’re not sure where to start. Do you just run around blindly handing our resumes to anyplace that has a bar inside? Do you run through Craigslist or the classifieds in your local paper in hopes of finding bars running ads looking for bartenders? No!
You don’t go either of those routes. Learning how to get a bartending job is first about finding a place that you – and your personality – will fit in. It’s not about getting a bartending job at the first place that says they’ll hire you.If you really want to enjoy your bartending experience after you get a bartending job, make sure you follow these rules when choosing the bar you want to work at:
Step One – How To Get A Bartender Job
First step when figuring out how to get a bartender job is to decide what kind of bar you want to work at. There are many different types of bartending positions – from golf courses, banquet halls and hotel bars to taverns, pubs, clubs and lounges – and each place has a different feel. Take a minute or two to think about the place where you’d be most happy working. If you’re a big golf enthusiast, maybe you’d like the perks of bartending at a country club. If you like clubbing and the music that goes with it, you’ll want to be looking for clubs to apply to. Similarly, if you hate club music and are into rock, go find a rock and roll pub or live music venue.
Once you’ve determined what type of establishments best suit your personality, now it’s time to make a list of all the possible places that you could apply to. Go through the phone book, look online, search directories, walk around, ask friends to list bars – do whatever you can to build up this list as large as possible. Keep in mind things like distance from your house, hours of operation etc. If you’re looking for a full-time position, there’s no use applying to the nightclub down the street that’s only open on Friday and Saturday nights.
Now that you’ve made your list, go visit a few of the places to get an idea of what they’re like. Take note of the staff – how they act and how they dress and whether they seem happy or not; as well as how the customers seem. Do you like the atmosphere, are the staff friendly, does the place give you a good vibe?
Now you’ve narrowed your list down to the establishments that you’d really like to work at and where you think you’d really fit in. Now go back to these short-listed bars and start socializing with the staff. Find out what it’s like to work there, whether they are looking for anyone at the moment, how long the current staff has been working there etc. Sit down at the bar, have a drink – make sure you tip well – and chat with the bartender. They’ll be able to give information you won’t find on a help wanted sign.
Just for the sake of pinpointing a number, let’s say that you’ve narrowed your choice of bars down to 5 places where you’d really like to work. Now it’s time to take the offensive and put yourself out there. Start visiting these bars as regularly as you can, chatting up the staff, being friendly but not a nuisance. After you’ve been to each of the places a couple of times and the staff recognize you – and you’ve let it known that you’re looking for a job – try to schedule a time with the manager to drop off a resume. If you can’t schedule a time, ask the bartender when the manager is usually in and drop in at that time with your resume and ask for the manager then.
So you’ve now dropped off your resume at the five different places that you want to work at. Now you’ll want to call to make sure they received your resume and that they have seen it. Bars are busy places and things get misplaced all the time. You want to be sure that your resume got into the manager’s hands. When you call, ask to speak to the manager and mention that you had recently dropped off your resume and you’d love to stop by to discuss the possibility of working for them in the future. Even if the manager tells you they’re not hiring, still ask to go in anyway. Tell them that you’d like to let them know what you can offer them so that when they are hiring, they keep you in mind.
As a side note here, depending on your experience, how busy and popular the bar is, how many servers and barbacks they have etc, it may be difficult to get a job right off the bat as a bartender. You may want to let the manager know that you are willing to work as a barback and work your way up to bartender after you understand their systems better.
Once you’ve dropped off your resumes and you’re calling back to make sure that the manager has gotten a hold of it, now’s the time to get the interview. It’s a fine line here, but you want to be a go-getter but you don’t want to be a pain-in-the-ass. Bars are crazy places and they you never know when someone’s going to get fired or quit. You always want to be right on top of the manager’s mind when they are thinking about hiring the next able-bodied person.
If you believe in your abilities – and you should if your’e at this point in the job finding process – tell the manager that you’re willing to work a couple of days for free. Tell them that you want to make sure that you are the right fit for the job and that you want to prove to the manager how good you are behind the bar – without costing him a penny. Offer to work just for tips for 2 or 3 nights. This will do a couple of things. First, it will show that you believe in your abilities and you’re serious about getting the job. Second, it shows that you care about what kind of place you work at and don’t just take any job that comes around. Third, it will give the manager a way – without costing him anything – to determine if you have what it takes to make it in his bar.
If you follow the 7 rules above, you’ll be head and shoulders above any other applicant.
Keep in mind that bartending is a highly sought after position and you’ll be competing with a lot of other people to get the job. When you get a bar interview, try to stand out from the other applicants by showing your keen interest and desire in not only the position but in the establishment itself.
Now that you know how to get a bartender job, take a look at these sample bartending resumes to help you create your own bartender resume:
Bartending Resume Sample – With Bartending Experience
Sample Bartender Resume – No Bartending Experience