Today, bartending is more of a career than a casual job.
Bartenders, especially those in larger cities and major markets, often do more than stand behind a bar taking orders and making drinks. They attend conferences, create cocktail recipes, teach classes, make guest appearances at events, help restaurateurs develop drink menus, and even open their own bars.
Because of the changing nature of bartending, it is vital to list relevant skills and experience on your resume. Here are tips and strategies to help you create a killer bartending resume.
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How to Organize a Bartender Resume
There is no well-marked career path for bartenders. They come from a diverse range of backgrounds. Some bartenders have formal training, but many learn on the job and supplement their experience with classes or certifications after they start their careers.
Just as there is no “perfect drink,” there is no “perfect resume” for all bartending positions. Nevertheless, there are some key components to include:
The header is the first thing that potential employers see when they look at a resume. You want to provide the necessary identification and contact information, but you also want to make a good impression.
- Your name — You want to include your name, but you should opt for the name that you use most commonly (if it is different from your full name). If you do this, then employers can easily find you online or on social media.
- Your location — You don’t need to put your entire address on your resume. However, you should write your city and state so that hiring managers know your location. In a larger city, you may even opt to put your district or borough.
- Your number — You should include a phone number with a professional voicemail message that clearly identifies you.
- Your email address — Many employers contact applicants by email, so you want to make sure your address is correct. You can use a free email service, but make sure that the email is professional sounding. The best option is to use some variation on your first and last name or initials for the address.
- Your links — If you have a professional social media account or an online portfolio that showcases your experience, drink recipes, or other qualifications, link to it in your header. However, you should not link to personal social media accounts.
The introduction is a brief section with a few sentences that summarizes your skills, assets, and experience and tells potential employers what you bring to the table.
The introduction is one of the most critical parts of your resume because it gives the recruiter a snapshot into who you are. If they are looking through many applicants at the same time, the intro may convince them to continue reading your resume.
For resumes in general, there are three introduction options:
- A career objective statement tells potential employers what you want to achieve in your career as a bartender and what skills and traits will help you reach these goals.
- A qualifications summary lists your experience, education, and relevant skills.
- A professional profile is very similar to a qualifications summary but may focus more on professional achievement than qualifications.
In general, a career objective summary is the best choice for someone without a lot of experience because it highlights your ambitions and makes qualifications a secondary subject.
If you have more bartending experience, then you will want to highlight your professional achievements and training because they will make you more appealing to hiring managers. In these cases, a qualifications summary or professional profile is a better introduction choice.
A bartending resume should include both hard and soft skills. For bartenders, hard skills usually focus on making drinks, selecting liquor products, and operating bar equipment. Soft skills are related to customer service and other intangibles.
You will want to include both hard and soft skills on your resume. If you lack a lot of experience with the technical aspects of bartending, you may want to focus more on soft skills. Even experienced bartenders who list training and certifications on their resume will still want to list soft skills as well.
Common hard skills for bartenders could include:
- Mixology skills;
- Ability to professionally use bar equipment;
- Ability to maintain or repair bar equipment;
- Ability to consistently adhere to Training for Alcohol Intervention Procedures (TIPS) protocols;
- Competency to follow SafeServ protocols;
- Ability to use a payment processing system.
Common soft skills for bartenders could include:
- Customer service proficiency;
- Ability to work under time constraints in a busy and loud environment;
- Verbal communication skills;
- The ability to work as part of a team;
- A strong work ethic;
- Manual dexterity;
- Familiarity with tipping etiquette;
- The ability to work on your feet for entire shifts;
- A professional demeanor.
Bartenders may have educational qualifications, but most learn their skills through on-the-job training. The majority of employers require at least a high school degree, so if you do not have post-secondary degrees or certificates, you can list your high school and graduation date in this section.
You can also list college degrees in this section. Most employers will appreciate this information even if your degree was not related to bartending. If you have completed coursework or continuing education classes but do not have a degree, you can still list relevant courses in areas such as marketing, hospitality, communications, or management.
You should list mixology training and other relevant certifications in the education section of a bartending resume. Some states require you to complete safety training before serving alcohol. You would list that coursework here.
You can list your educational experiences in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent degree or coursework.
Generally, in the experience section, you should list the places you’ve worked, your core responsibilities at those places, and your achievements while there. You make this list in reverse chronological format, with your most recent job first. If you spent significant amounts of time between jobs, you might not want to list the exact timelines of the employment.
New bartenders without much experience can list any previous jobs where you had responsibilities relevant to the position for which you are applying. For example, if you were a waiter at a busy restaurant or a barista at a coffee shop, you mention that.
If you were a server, for example, tailor your job description to show the skills that would be useful for a bartender. Highlight that you worked in a busy environment, that you recommended food-drink pairings, and that you memorized menus. These skills are all relevant to bartending as well.
Regardless of your experience level, use this section to tailor your resume for the job. Research the company and find job descriptions, preferred skills, or keywords they use. You can then use these keywords or highlight these skills when writing about your job experience.
Bartender resumes can include both personal and professional references.
Personal references, also known as character references, are from an acquaintance, teacher, or peer who knows you personally and vouches for your character. Consider including at least one of this type of reference on your resume; you may want to include more if you have limited bartending experience.
Professional references come from colleagues or managers at previous jobs. The best references are from professionals in the bartending or hospitality industry.
In most cases, you do not need to list references on your resume unless the employer specifically asks for them. However, you usually have to provide references if you move to the next stage of the hiring process. If you do include references, place three to five references on a separate page, and include the following:
- The name and professional title of the reference;
- The name and address of the company where they work;
- Their phone number;
- Their email address;
You need to make sure to get permission from each reference before you add them to your resume.
Bartender Resume Writing Tips
The first thing you need to focus on is using the correct layout for the resume. Start with a header, with your name in a slightly larger font than the other text. Follow this section with an introduction, a skills section, an education section, and experience listings. You should also put references on a separate page if you choose to include them.
Tailor your resume for each job. Do research on the company or look at the job description to find out what skills and experience they’re seeking. Then, highlight such skills or experience in your resume. One trick to doing this is to look for keywords in the job description and then use those same keywords in your resume.
You also want to be as specific as possible when describing experience and qualifications.
A good resume utilizes action verbs when describing your experience. Some examples of actions verbs that could be relevant for bartenders include:
Sample Bartender Resume
(312) 123 – 9876
Using 10 years of bartending and mixology experience to bring the perfect cocktail and ideal experience to every customer I serve. I have the knowledge to teach other bartenders how to provide the same level of service.
Skills and Achievements
- Calm and capable of handling a busy bar environment
- Mixology skills to create 15 new cocktail recipes over two years at my previous position at The Sitting Duck
- Active member of the International Mixologist Society
- Able to complete bar inventory
- Able to pair wine and cocktails with food
- Trained new employees at the Prancing Pony
- Won Bartender of the Month twice at the Prancing Pony
- 2018 — Completed SafeServ training
- 2014 – 2016 — Associate Degree in Hospitality Management from ABC Community College
- 2012 — Completed Training for Alcohol Intervention Procedures course
- 2010 — Graduated from City South High School
- 2016 – Present: Head bartender and mixologist at the Prancy Pony Pub. Create drink menus and new cocktails, manage other bartenders, provide expert insight to customers interested in mixology, and handle customer service complaints.
- 2012 – 2015: Barback and assistant bartender at the Sitting Duck Restaurant. Assist bartenders, memorize drink menu and recipes, handle inventory of stock room, order supplies, create new drink recipes, serve customers.
- 2011: Waiter at Joe’s Diner. Take orders, memorize menu, explain options to customers, handle inventory.
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