Need to craft a bartending resume?
Whether you’re looking for a bartending job for the first time, or switching jobs (to another restaurant or bar), this post is for you.
As with any industry, writing an irresistible resume holds great importance. If written correctly – with just a little extra effort – a powerful bartending resume can potentially mean higher wages, a more flexible schedule, or substantial respect from management and team members.
Most importantly, a well-crafted bartending resume will help you get HIRED in the first place.
But here’s the thing: They don’t have to be complicated or fancy…
You’ll want to highlight relative bartending strengths, key skills, while showing a little flash of personality. And we’re here to walk you through that entire core process.
As bartending jobs are often highly popular and competitive, a resume is something applicants should never overlook. The following will show you how to separate yourself from the rest… without taking any unnecessary steps.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- How managers read bartending resumes
- Writing an enticing bartending resume
- Crafting a bartending resume if you have little to no experience
- Various bartending skills you can add on your resume
- Bartending resume examples & templates
How Managers Read Bartending Resumes
For starters, let’s think from the position of a bartending manager. This will help us gain perspective, and focus on what’s important instead of all the fluff you see elsewhere.
If you think managers will spends hours studying your resume, fact-checking details, or calling up references – think again.
In reality, bar owners and managers will usually spend less than a minute (sometimes not even 30 seconds) looking at someone’s resume before they take action.
So before we dive into resume details… and what exactly to write in each section… let’s turn our focus to the simple things. You want to focus the aesthetics and nail the basics:
- Make sure the resume design is not too long (1 page max.)
- Double check for spelling errors or grammar
- Stay away from long, unnecessary, or confusing descriptions
- Make things less convoluted
In most cases, less is actually more.
You see, focusing on the little things will help make your resume easier to read and understand from a managers perspective. Plus, it will prove that you possess an eye for detail.
A clear and concise bartending resume helps managers navigate and find what they’re looking for…
Sure, fancy designs can work. And may help your resume stand out from the others in the pile… But if the resume layout causes ANY sort of confusion or difficulty in eyes of the manager, the chances of moving on to the next step of the application process will be very slim.
As we will explain below, there are many other ways (aside from design) to get a leg-up on competition…
For now, just keep things simple and easy to comprehend.
How to Write a Compelling Bartending Resume That Gets You Hired
After considering a managers perspective, you’ll want to make sure you have the appropriate format that highlights what’s actually important when it comes to working behind a bar.
Section by section, we’re going to take a closer look at how to build the perfect bartending resume. Let’s give it a go.
Bartending Resume Sections:
Your purpose/ objective
- Special Skills/ Languages
- Work Experience
Section #1: Header
We’ve seen many resumes and are often surprised at how many applicants completely ignore a good header and lead. Let’s think from a managers perspective again here… What’s the first thing your going to look at when you read a resume? You guessed it – the Header. So as bartending applicants, you want to make sure what they see first is in good shape… giving managers more reasons to keep their eyes on the page.
It sounds silly, but first things first… whatever you do, do NOT forget to add your full name and contact details. These need to stick out, so we suggest to (1) bold every detail, (2) make sure you name has a font size a bit bigger than the rest of resume and (3) to center align name ALL name and contact information.
Contact details should include the following:
- Cell Phone Number (with area code)
- Email Address (make this professional; AKA don’t use the one you created in middle school ~ firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Home Address (optional)
- *Availability (optional)
Availability is something often overlooked when it comes to bartender resumes. Again, in the eyes of the manager, availability (showing exactly what days of the week and how often you are available) is one of the most IMPORTANT factors in the application process.
Although it’s optional, meaning it’s not mandatory, we here at Bartending License Help highly recommend adding availability from past experiences.
Section #2: Your Purpose and/or Objective
I’ve often heard that having an “objective” statement is important when it comes to Bartending resumes.
Why? Because everyone’s purpose and/or objective is pretty obvious. You want hours. You want to make money. And you want to help the bar make money. At the end of the day, you want a job… there’s no way around it and there’s no point of dressing that up.
Section #3: Special Skills & Languages
The following section is where you can finally show off a little…
Skills carry much importance behind the bar and will help you succeed at the workplace. Not sure about what skills to write down? Well then I suggest you head over to our list of skills the best bartenders use on their resumes. Generally speaking, we want our resumes to remain relevant to the bartending environment.
Keep in mind: If you have any specialized computer skills, don’t be afraid to include them!
Believe it or not, in today’s modern world, things like graphic design, POS (point of sale) systems, programming, social media or digital marketing can go a long way for a bar or restaurant.
Adding these skills to your bartending resume may lead managers into thinking you could potentially help them out down the road.
But fair warning: Please don’t include the typical “Microsoft Office” efficient line everyone seems to have. Knowing Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint doesn’t give you any competitive advantage from the other bartender applicants.
Now let’s get to languages…
Simply put, if you speak any additional languages it’s extremely important you mention it on paper. Regardless of how obscure the language is, you never know who’s going to walk in the bar. If there’s any communication trouble between a bar and a foreigner/tourist, it can potentially lead to a lost sale.
Language diversity behind the bar can become highly valuable at times… particularly in English dominant jurisdictions or locations. If you’re in the United States, we’ve found knowing Spanish to be the most useful.
Section #4: Education & Training
Usually, bar managers don’t care what kind of education an applicant has received. But this doesn’t mean it’s not worth including on the bartending resume. These aren’t your typical corporate gigs, but showing off an education does say something.
Did you earn a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, Marketing, or Psychology? …How about just a highschool diploma or only an AA?
Despite how far you made it in school, add it.
Here’s the thing.
Earning any sort of degree doesn’t only show that you have a specialized knowledge on a particular subject. It also shows that you’ve accomplished something. It shows that you’ve grinded it out, completed the homeworks, passed the tests, and earned something despite the given tasks.
This is something managers do not take lightly.
Any degree also makes you seem more interesting. Believe us, having a degree (and working at a bar) is something you’ll find unique behind a bar. And who knows, maybe the bar manager might love the fact that you know 12th-century history or philosophy.
This is the same section of your bartending resume where you want to include ALL relevant bartending certifications, licenses, or course achievements.
As you may already know, bartending licenses are required depending on the state or local jurisdiction. If you’re not aware of what your state requires, we’ve got you covered. Click here to check out our interactive map, choose your state, and see for yourself.
Not sure what a bartending license or “liquor serving license” is in the first place? You can learn more here.
If you’ve passed any other bartending courses, training programs or general hospitality classes, this is where you want to mention it. If you are currently enrolled in such program, add it into the resume as well.
Note: If you’re having any trouble finding the best courses in the bartending space, just click here. These are partners and programs we trust.
Other certifications that you don’t have much to do with making cocktails can only help. Things like CPR training, Food Handlers card, or Tobacco Sellers license are great additions.
Section #5: Work Experience & Employment History
Now we move on to the most important section of your resume: Work Experience & Employment History.
**If you have little to no experience working as a bartender, worry no more. Skip this section and continue reading as we wrote a section explaining exactly what you should do if you are new in the field.**
Your manager may even look at this section first when browsing the resume so we want to make sure it’s looking good.
Let’s dig in.
As you begin jotting down your work experience, it’s important to stay unique and to highlight things that don’t come across as too generic. A perfect example of something too generic would be: “Food Runner at Applebee’s”
Instead, we want to be sure to dive more into detail. Even if you were a Food Runner at Applebee’s, you still have many things to turn someones focus on:
- How many tables did you manage at a time?
- Any interaction with any customers?
- Perhaps you made drinks on the fly, filling the roles of others?
- Did you clean tables and glasses, fill waters, and work around the clock?
- Have you ever used a cash register and handle money?
These are all experiences you can attribute to your bartending resume. Believe it or not, your manager will be impressed by this.
Stay intriguing, unique, interesting… and dress up all job descriptions. This will all have a tremendous impact on your search for a job.
Tip: If you want to take a look at some examples of what “great” job descriptions look like, simply click here. These will influence you to think about your descriptions a bit differently.
As long as you’re not lying to anyone, don’t be afraid to exaggerate a little bit on your experience. Everyone does.
Just DON’T lie, as they managers can easily prove you guilty of it with a simple phone call.
Last thing, as you list your job descriptions, be sure to list them in chronological order. Thus, your most recent job experience will be the listed first… and your first-ever job experience will be listed at the bottom of the page.
Section #6: References
For the last and final section on your bartending resume, we’re going to take into account references. References are people that have you have worked with in the past (usually someone who had a higher position than yours) that would kindly vouch for you and your work ethic.
But unlike the other 4 sections discussed in this post, references are totally optional. Meaning, it’s up to you.
The reality is that most managers don’t use references. But on the other hand, it doesn’t take anything away from your resume if you do decide to include a few references.
We suggest to use references if they are someone of high stature. A good example of this would be an top-notch chef or bar manager at a highly rated restaurant or bar in the local area.
We also feel it’s a good idea to just simply put “References are available upon request” and nothing else.
In this case, if the managers want to reach out to someone, which is highly unlikely, they can ask you at another time. The advantage of this is that you now have extra room on your resume to talk about jobs descriptions, work experience, or education.
How to Make a Bartending Resume WITHOUT Experience
With every first job or work venture, it’s often difficult to get your foot on the ground. On the brightside, with bartending, getting a job without experience is not as hard as it sounds.
And just because you don’t have experience in the bartending space, does not mean creating a bartending resume is a waste of time. There are still many sections (see above) you can utilize to fill up your resume and make something worthwhile.
For anyone crafting a bartending resume without experience, the following is for you.
Bar managers will often look for people they can trust. This is usually people that have been through the thick and thin of working long hours or people that know what the daily grind (routine) is all about.
This is a good thing.
It means they do not strictly look for people with experience behind a bar. Instead they look for people they know, people that they can trust, or folks that work hard at what’s in front of them. And in your shoes, this is something we can take advantage of.
The best way for someone without experience to quickly jump behind a bar, is to know someone. Perhaps you have a friend or family member that works at the same place you are applying to? If not, maybe they know someone who does. In this case, it’s always worth a shot asking around because any word-of-mouth recommendation will help.
Onto the resume…
As discussed in sections 4 & 5 above, you don’t need the perfect background to prove to someone that you can accomplish things.
Just like our example with school.. Who cares what degree you have. The main thing is that having a degree in the first place shows a manager that you’ve grinded it out, learned something new, and earned something despite difficult tasks.
Thus, regardless of your experience or education (even if it has nothing to do with bartending) don’t be afraid to add it to your bartending resume. Below are some skills you can put on your bartending resume that may have learned at other establishments or stores that can be useful to a bartending job:
- Cash-handling & register
- Communication skills
- Customer service skills
- High volume retail experience
- Knowing how to work on a team
- Ability to upsell / add-on, or sell more products
- Well- rounded with ability to speak on different subjects (keep people entertained)
- You know how to clean glassware
- Fill up ice, food-run
- ANY sort of hospitality skills
After the resume, it’s then all about the delivery….
If you don’t know anyone to hand the resume off to (to then pass it over to a manger)… the next best step is to hit the ground running and to start physically visiting the bars or establishments you wish to work at.
Noticed how I said “physically.” That’s because visiting a place in-person, during the appropriate hours (1-4pm), gives you a better chance at meeting a manager face to face. In this case, managers will now be able to match a resume and name to a face… or even better – a personality! We suggest you print out your resume on several pages this way every bar manager you visit will never be empty handed.
You can also apply to bars via the internet. We’ve seen this work in the past plenty of times. Plus it may save you some time and money on printing or transportation. Click here to access our bartending job hunt page to get started.
Then, after making initial contact with a manager or employee, the key is to continue to reach out. In the restaurant industry, schedules are busy and constantly jammed. Most of the time, the managers are not going to remember to “call you back” or even take the time to “look at this (resume) later.” So don’t be afraid to continuously reach out.
After all, what’s there to lose?