I know what you’re thinking…. Writing your bartender resume sucks!
I don’t blame you. I remember when I had to sit down and write my first resume. It was a painful process. I didn’t know what to include or how to organize it, so it ended up taking me ages to complete.
And by the end of it, I still had no idea whether it was good enough to become a professional bartender.
Fast-forward to today and my experience with resumes couldn’t look more different. Working as a traveling bartender for so long, managing bars, and hiring my own teams, has taught me a lot about what makes a bartender resume great.
And you know what, your resume doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy.
In fact, some of the best resumes I’ve seen were simple in their design and content. But you’ve got to know what you’re doing because bad resumes are thrown into the bin quicker than you can say, ‘I’ll have a Vodka Martini!’.
That’s why we’re going to go through everything you need to know and do, to write an irresistible bartender resume.
Let’s get to it.
How Managers Read Bartending Resumes
If you think that managers are going to spend hours pouring over your resume, calling up references, and analyzing every tiny detail. You’re wrong.
The reality is, managers only give your resume a quick scan and decide within 30 seconds whether or not they’re going to proceed with your application.
That means that if it’s poorly laid out, hard to understand, has spelling errors, it’s too long, or it includes too many irrelevant details, they won’t think twice about throwing your resume in the bin.
That’s why keeping your resume simple, clear, clean, accurate, and relevant makes a huge difference in how successful your resume will be.
As a general rule, your resume should never be longer than 2 pages. And if you can keep it to 1 page, even better. Any longer than that and the chances are that you’ve included too many unnecessary details that just wastes everyone’s time.
This is also true when it comes to resumes with fancy designs. Sure, they can work. A fancy design can help your resume stand out in a pile of white pages. But if the design makes it more difficult to read and harder to navigate, it’s not worth it.
There’s also a much better way to make your resume unique, interesting, and stand-out. We’ll cover that in the work experience/employment history section.
A Word on Cover Letters
Some people seem to think that writing a cover letter is important when you’re applying for a bartending job. But they’re not.
Unless they’ve been specifically requested, (which is unlikely) don’t waste your time (it literally is a waste of time) writing them. The managers won’t read them unless they’re really bored. So all they do is add unnecessary ‘bulk’ to your application.
It’s much better to get to the significant points immediately. And that means getting to your resume.
Remember, you’re applying for a job behind a bar, not an office position in a corporate environment. As far as hiring processes go, it’s not that serious!
Should you Attach a Photo?
Whether or not you should attach a photo is going to depend on where you live and where you’re applying to.
In Europe, it’s common practice to attach photos with resumes. In the US, it seems that the country is divided on whether or not you should include one. And in Australia and the UK, attaching a photo is frowned upon.
Because it gives your potential employer a chance to discriminate against your application based on looks, age, and ethnicity.
So being an Aussie, my advice would be to NOT attach a photo to your resume. If they really want to see what you look like, they can see you when you hand in your resume or during an interview.
That being said, this is the hospitality industry. And some venues will ‘require’ a photo with your bartender resume. If that’s the case (and you want to work there), obviously attach a photo.
How to Write your Bartender Resume
When you take into account how managers read your resume, you’ll want it to be easy to understand, simple to navigate, nice to look at, and for it to have relevant content.
The way to do this is to break up your resume into a few important sections. Every great bartender resume will include them. And you don’t need to add anything else to it (unless you REALLY want to).
Here’s how you should organize your bartender resume:
- Special Skills/Languages
- Work Experience
- References (available upon request)
I’ve seen a lot of resumes and you’d be surprised at how many fail to include a good header. It sounds really stupid, but some resumes don’t even both to include their name! And even more of them forget to include their contact details.
Whatever you do, DON’T forget to include your name AND contact details…
That’s why your resume should always start with a prominent header. I like to keep it in the center and at the top of the page. Start with your name in big bold letters and use a larger font. Then include your phone number and email address directly below.
Including your mailing address is optional. But it’s very unlikely that they’ll contact you via post. I’ve also known bar managers who discriminate against applicants based on where they live. So I advise against it.
Including your availability is also optional. I like to include it because it lets my potential employers know how much I can work. And I also know that it helps them decide whether or not my availability will be a good fit for their team. But that’s just a personal preference.
Here’s how it might look:
Skip the Objective
It was once a requirement to include your objective in your resume. But that tradition has become outdated. Nowadays, it’s no longer necessary.
Why? Because your objective is pretty obvious. To get a job… So it doesn’t make any sense to include it. The objective section is completely pointless, no matter how you dress it up.
Special Skills & Languages
This is a section where you can include any relevant skills that might help you succeed in your working environment.
If you speak any other languages, always include them here, regardless of how bizarre they might be. You never know, there might be a wealthy regular from Tanzania that frequents the venue you’re applying to.
Speaking another language is always a valuable skill to have in bars & restaurants. Spanish is incredibly useful in the US, and I’ve found French to be particularly useful in the UK.
Specialized computer skills are also useful to include. Graphic design, programming, expert knowledge of POS systems, digital marketing experience, etc, are always valuable to businesses nowadays, including bars & restaurants.
If an employer sees that you have them, they’ll be more interested in your application because you could potentially to help them out down the line.
**Note** Please don’t include knowledge of basic computer skill-sets that most people have. Knowing how to browse the internet and use Microsoft Windows doesn’t count as ‘specialised’ knowledge!
Here’s how to organize this section:
Education & Training
I know this isn’t a corporate job, but if you’ve achieved a certain level of education, you should include it in your bartender resume. Sure, you don’t need a degree to work in the hospitality industry. But it shows that you can apply yourself and see difficult tasks through.
It also makes you seem more interesting. And who knows, the bar manager might love the fact that you’ve got a degree in philosophy & medieval history!
This is also the section of your resume where you should include any relevant certifications. In some countries (and states in the USA), it’s a requirement to pass a ‘liquor serving license,’ sometimes called a bartending license.
Include this certification here (If you’re not sure what this is, check out this article here).
Also, if you’ve passed any wine courses, barista courses, or general hospitality courses, this is a great opportunity to mention them. And if you’re lacking on the experience side of things and you’ve been to bartending school, you should also include them here.
**Note** Sometimes bartending school certificates are seen as a negative on your resume. Some managers discriminate against graduates. For more info why, read this article here.
Here’s how the education and training section could look:
Work Experience/ Employment History
Your employment history is the most important part of your resume. As soon as a manager takes a look at your resume, they’re going to scan to this section first. And if they’re satisfied, only then will they take a look at the rest of it.
So, the bulk of your time should be spent on making this section as awesome as possible.
The most important thing is that you don’t come across as too generic. Everyone is going to say that they cleaned glasses, made drinks, used a till register, and gave “great” customer service. And believe it or not, your manager won’t be impressed by this!
Which is why you want to differentiate yourself here. Almost no-one can be bothered writing a great job description. But you’re going to be different. Because that’s what’s going to make your bartender resume irresistible.
To do this, you want to make your work experience sound as interesting, intriguing, and unique as you possibly can. You should include the more advanced aspects of your job and you should describe what the venue you worked at was like.
You have permission to ‘slightly’ exaggerate these descriptions.
But whatever you do, DON’T lie. You’ll likely be found out and subsequently fired.
For example, if you worked as a barback at a crazy nightclub in Ibiza. Instead of saying ‘you were responsible for changing kegs, cleaning glasses, topping up the fridges, cutting fruit, etc‘.
Say that ‘you worked at one of the most popular nightclubs in Ibiza that hosted some of best international DJ’s in the world and sported an extensive vodka selection. The venue was always packed which meant that the staff needed to be at the top of their game every shift. As barback, you were responsible for ensuring the bar was primed for a busy service at all times. And on top of your ordinary responsibilities, you would jump behind the bar, take orders and help the bartenders out during particularly busy periods.‘
How much better does that sound!?
Writing a job description like that is going to get a much better response than by listing off ordinary responsibilities everyone knows a barback does… If you dress up your job descriptions like this, I guarantee you that your resume will receive A LOT more attention.
When you’re laying out your experience, organize it in chronological order starting with your last job at the beginning.
Here’s how your employment history section could look like:
What if you don’t have any hospitality experience?
You still do exactly the same thing except with whatever experience you do have. Just make the job description relevant to the hospitality industry. That means writing something that highlights your experience with serving customers, having great communication skills, working well in a team, working hard, and/or wanting to learn.
If you don’t have any work experience whatsoever, remember that you don’t need any experience to get a job as a barback or food runner.
If that’s you when you’re applying for these jobs, you’ll have to dress up your resume by including more details about your education (i.e. Have you ever been in any leadership positions? Did you receive any awards? What did you study? Any extra-curricular activities?).
Bare in mind, that when you’re applying for these ‘lower’ positions, a lot of the time you won’t even need to hand in your bartender resume.
As long as you can convince a potential employer that you’re a hard worker, you want to learn, and you’re easy to get along with, they’ll be willing to give you a shot.
In these cases, your resume will only serve the purpose of being able to get into contact with you. So don’t forget the header!
**Note** This is the best way to get your foot in the door if you don’t have any hospitality experience and progress into a bartending position later on.
Some people think you should include your references on your CV. But my advice is to skip this section because the reality is, most managers won’t call them.
Instead, leave a sentence at the end of your resume saying that you have references that are available upon request.
Please make sure that if you do supply any references, you let these references know that they’re on your resume BEFORE you give them to a potential employer. It doesn’t look very good on your end if a manager calls one of them up and they can’t remember who you are!
Putting it all together – Bartending Resume Sample
Putting it all together, here’s how your resume could look:
Simple, clean, clear, and relevant. Yet, descriptive and interesting in the right parts. That’s how you want your resume to come look.
Wrapping it Up
I know writing your resume can be a painful process but if you want a job, you have to do it. Having a solid resume will make a huge difference in how successful your applications will be.
Just a quick note if you’re going to be applying for jobs online. I’ve made the mistake of sending Google docs in their original format and the recipient being unable to open them.
Converting the document into a pdf format is a much more reliable way to ensure that your resume can be read. Remember, the person that you’re sending your resume to might not use the same application as you. But every computer can read pdf files.
If I can impart one final piece of advice for you when you’re writing your bartender resume, is don’t spend too long on it. It doesn’t need to be perfect. If you’re struggling, just copy the above template, fill in the blanks and get it done.
Then when it’s ready, print off as many copies as you can, get out there, and start looking for work!