An effective Bartender’s Resume, and by “effective we mean one that does exactly what it is meant to do: get you an interview, should contain only a few specific things. Everybody who can demonstrate that they have the right skills for the position gets an interview. That is all your resume needs to do.
Your resume should tell potential employers your name, contact info, the job you’re applying for and the experience that qualifies you to do it. That’s it. Anything else, and I really do mean ANYTHING ELSE on there will only harm your application.
Here’s what a perfect bartender’s resume looks like, take a good look (click to enlarge).
Looks pretty plain, right? Yeah. It’s meant to. That is because the person reading it doesn’t have the time to read anything more detailed. They probably have another 40 resumes to get through. 40 resumes that are filled with irrelevant fluff which means that they have to waste their precious time searching for the information that they really need.
You won’t stand out by submitting a resume with wacky designs or flowery language. Attempting to use your resume to showcase your personality will only harm your chances. You will only stand out by being the person that doesn’t do these things. So do yourself, and the person reading the resumes, a massive favour by only including the information that they want to know. So lets go through how to do that.
The design in our example is simple but professional. That is what you are aiming for. Print it out on either white or off white paper with a plain, easy to read black font. Far too many people try to stand out from the crowd with elaborate designs. Potential employers rarely appreciate the design aesthetic, instead they see somebody trying to hide their inexperience. Remember that until this person meets you your resume is all that they have to judge you on. A wacky or elaborate design on brightly coloured paper will lead them to assume that you are not taking the job seriously.
The Header is the first thing that potential employers see. Therefore it needs to be done well. Print your first and last name in a big, bold typeface. Don’t use nicknames, middle names or titles.
Below this put your phone number. Don’t bother listing a string of phone numbers; potential employers will only ring the top one. If nobody answers they won’t bother moving on to the next phone number, they will probably move on to the next resume. Therefore it is important that the number you put down has voicemail. If you can’t answer the phone people will usually leave a message. Make sure that your voicemail message is professional in tone. A Darth Vader impression may be amusing to your friends but bar managers will just hang straight up.
After the phone number you need to list your email address. This should also look professional. If your current email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, do yourself a favour and create another more serious address. If you do create a professional email account make sure that you check it on a regular basis, you don’t want to miss the opportunity of a lifetime.
Whether or not you put your home address down depends on how far you live from the bar you are applying to. If you live in the neighbourhood then put your address down. It’ll assure employers that you are close by and more likely to turn up on time. If you live further away leave your address off for the opposite reasons.
Finally, when listing contact info, don’t put “Phone: 604…” or “Email: johnsmith…” Employers aren’t stupid, if they see 10 digits next to your name they’ll know it’s a phone number.
This is normally the place where irrelevant information goes. A common mistake amongst applicants is to combine their objective with their profile into a badly written paragraph full of adjectives that tells the person reading it nothing at all. It often looks something like this: “Fun, creative, hardworking, and eager guy thoroughly looking forward to joining the team at XYZ Pub right away!”
This example is awful. It may sound positive but it doesn’t tell you anything. It doesn’t even tell anybody what job you are applying for. The adjectives are also meaningless. If a stranger came up to you in the street and told you that they were fun and creative would you believe them? Probably not, so why should the person reading your resume. Instead ditch the adjectives; just tell people what job you are applying for:
“To get a full-time Bartending Job at XYZ Pub”.
This is a useful sentence. It tells the reader something.
Profile/ Key Skills
Once the reader knows what job you are applying for they then need to know who you are and what qualifies you for the job.
“Bartending School Graduate with 2 years Barista experience.”
“Bartender with 3 years experience working in nightclubs, cocktail bars, and hotels.”
This is direct and useful information. It is the sort of thing that bar managers want to read, not the “fun, creative guy” fluff that tells them nothing. Not only does this make the bar managers job easier but it means that they may even appreciate it enough to give you a call.
Below your profile in the Key Skills section list four or five specific skills that you have that qualify you most to tend bar. By this we mean skills like “Cash-handling,” “Mixing drinks,” and “Customer service.” Vague and meaningless terms like “Problem solving,” “Great Work-ethic,” or “Teamwork skills,” should be avoided. These are things that anybody can claim and don’t help the person reading your resume to picture you as a reliable bartender.
Recent or Relevant Experience
Now that you’ve told the reader who you are you need to provide proof to back it up. In the Recent Experience section list your three most recent or relevant jobs. Alongside each one include a few details that show how that job prepared you for this one.
In the header for each job, include the name of the place you worked at as well as its location and the position you held. Also include how long you worked there for.
Below this header put three to five bullet points each detailing a RELEVANT task that you did there. For example, if your last job was at The Gap, then you would put down “Customer Service,” “Cash Handling,” “POS System usage,” and “Prepared products for display”. All of these things are also part of life as a bartender. Rarely are bartenders required to “Fold T-shirts” so leave that one off the list. By highlighting your relevant skills it reinforces the idea that you are the right person for the position. If you can work the POS system at The Gap you can probably do it behind a bar.
Education and Certification
This is just the cherry on top of the cake. I know we’ve said that the cake shouldn’t be decorated but this is the exception.
This section is obviously the place where you list your relevant qualifications. These include the ServingItRight certificate (which you can get at Metropolitan Bartending School), your Bartending School Certification (which you can also get at Metropolitan Bartending School), and WHMS or FoodSafe if you have them. It is also the place to inform the reader that you have a First Aid certificate or a Class 5 drivers license. While these aren’t directly related to bartending it is always useful to have someone with these skills around.
If you have a post-secondary degree or diploma put that down too. While an Art History degree probably won’t come in handy behind the bar it tells the person reading your resume that you have the ability to comprehend advanced subject matter, so learning to pour a Guinness properly isn’t beyond you.
If you have references, great! Put the name of your referee down along with their title and phone number. If you haven’t got any references then leave this part blank. Don’t write “References Available on request”. Bar managers hate that phrase as it looks like you are trying to hide something. If they want a referee they will request one.
And that is it.
Nothing else needs to go on your resume.
If there is something more that you want to include, don’t! Remember that whoever is reading your resume has a heap more to get through. Save them some time by only including relevant information and they will appreciate you more than you realise. It’s like when you were in school and were given a reading assignment. Do you remember that feeling of relief when you saw a page with not much writing on it? Well that is exactly how the person trawling through the resumes will feel when they see yours. They just want the Sparknotes.
If you only put down what is absolutely necessary then you will find that you get invited to far more interviews than more experienced candidates who hide their abilities in fluff filled resumes.
Once you’ve created a simple but effective resume you’re ready to progress to the next step: Applying for Jobs.