There should only be a few specific things written on an effective Bartender’s Resume, and by “effective” Bartender’s resume, we mean one that does exactly what it’s supposed to: get you an interview. Everyone who shows they have the required skills to do the job gets an interview – so that’s all your resume needs to do, nothing more. All it should say is 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 literally mean ANYTHING ELSE on there, and it can only hurt you.
Here’s what a perfect bartender’s resume looks like; take a good look (click to enlarge).
Looks pretty plain, right? It’s supposed to. The person reading it doesn’t want to read anything else because they just don’t have time to. They have another 30 resumes to get through, 30 resumes that all have way too much irrelevant crap on them that needs to be sifted through in order to find the info that’s being looked for. You won’t stand out with wacky designs, flowery language, or showcasing personality on your resume, you’ll stand out by being the only person that doesn’t do that, and saves the person reading it a ton of time by telling them what they want to know – and only what they want to know. So lets go through how to do that.
You can see the design here is pretty simple, yet professional. That’s what you’re going for. Either white, or off-white paper, with a plain black font. Too many candidates try to stand out with elaborate designs, which are only ever seen as an attempt to hide inexperience behind a veil of smoke. Also, until this person meets you, your resume is all they have to judge you on, so if you go with a wacky design, they’ll assume you just don’t take things seriously.
This is the first thing they see, so it needs to be done well. In big and bold, you want to put your first and your last name; no nicknames, no middle names, no titles, just your first and last name.
Then put your phone number – just one phone number, if they don’t have success calling one, they don’t try another. Make sure that number has voicemail too. Again, if they don’t get through, they don’t try another time, but they do leave messages. And it’s a given that your voicemail needs to be a professional one. If your’s sounds something like “Waaaaaassssuuuuuuup B****!!! I’m not here…” don’t expect any bar manager to be leaving a message.
Then put down your email address, which should look professional too. If your address is email@example.com, then create another more serious address just to apply to jobs with.
As to whether you do or don’t put your home address on there depends on how far away you live from the bar you’re apply to. If you live close by, slap your address on there because it’ll look like you’ll always be on time to work, but if you live far away, leave it off because it’ll look like the exact opposite.
And a last note on contact info, don’t put “Phone: 604…” or “Email: johnsmith…” If they see 10 digits next to your name they’ll know it’s a phone number, no need to qualify.
This is usually where the most irrelevant info goes. Applicants often combine this and their profile into a poorly written paragraph full of adjectives that tells the person reading it absolutely nothing. A lot of the time it looks something like this, “Fun, creative, hardworking, and eager guy thoroughly looking forward to joining the team at XYZ Pub right away!”
This is just aweful, it doesn’t tell you anything. It doesn’t even say which job you’re applying for, and all those adjectives are a waste of space. Anyone can say they’re all those things, but nobody ever believes it. If someone came up to you in the street and told you they were fun and creative, would you believe them? There shouldn’t be any adjectives on your resume, just tell them what they want to know: which job you’re applying for.
“To get a full-time Bartending Job at XYZ Pub”
That’s useful, that tells them something.
Profile/ Key Skills
Once they know which job you’re applying for, they need to know who you are…in regards to the job you’re applying for.
“Bartending School Graduate with 2 years Barista experience.”
“Bartender with 3 years experience working in nightclubs, cocktail bars, and hotels.”
This is what they’re looking for, this is something they can use. “Fun, creative, and energetic guy,” is just fluff that all bar managers hate sifting through. Only give them direct, useful information that makes their job easier, and they’ll appreciate it enough to give you a call.
Under your profile, in a section called Key Skills, list the four or five specific skill sets you’ve developed during your combined employment history that most qualify you to bartend. Nothing vague like “Problem solving,” “Great Work-ethic,” or “Teamwork skills,” they only care about the specific tasks a bartender actually does, like “Cash-handling,” “Mixing drinks,” and “Customer service.” These aren’t things that just anyone can say, and they help the person reading it to imagine you as a bartender.
Recent or Relevant Experience
After you’ve told them who you are, you need to prove it. Under a section called Recent Experience, put the three most recent, or relevant, jobs you’ve done, and a few details that show how that job prepared you for this one.
In the header for each job, put the name of the place you worked, the location, the position you held, and the year (or years) that you held it.
Then under the header, put three to five bullet points detailing the tasks you did there…wait for it…which are RELEVANT to Bartending. 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,” because those are all things a bartender has to do – “Folding T-shirts” not so much, so leave that off. Highlighting these relevant skills on your resume helps the person reading it imagine you as a bartender, even if you didn’t do them behind a bar. They’ll assume if you could handle cash at The Gap, you can do it behind a bar.
Education and Certification
This part is just icing on the cake. We know we’ve been saying the cake isn’t supposed to have icing on it, but this is the one exception.
Obviously this is where you put that you have your ServingItRight (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. But it’s also where you can put down that you have First-Aid, or a Class 5 drivers license. No, they’re not directly related to Bartending, but it’s always useful to have someone with these things around. And if you have a post-secondary degree or diploma, stick that there too. No, your degree in Art History probably won’t come in handy behind the bar, but it tells the person reading your resume that you have the ability to comprehend advanced subject matter, so learning to pour a Guinness probably isn’t out of your repertoire.
If you have them, great! Stick the name, title, and phone number of the person on there. If you don’t, then just leave this section blank. Don’t write “References available on request.” Bar Managers hate that. It looks like you’re trying to hide something, and if they want a reference, they’ll request one, you don’t need to let them know they can.
And that’s it.
That’s all that should go on your resume. If there’s something more you want to say on it, don’t! The person reading your resume has to read a ton of them. Save them some time and they’ll appreciate it more than you know. Remember anytime you’ve been given a reading assignment, and how relieved you felt when you saw a page with not much on it? That’s exactly how the person reading resumes will feel when they see yours: they just want the sparknotes. If you only put what’s absolutely necessary on your resume, you’ll find yourself getting called in for interviews ahead of more experienced applicants who managed to hide that experience under a mountain of fluff.
Once you’ve made your resume, you’re ready to move on to the next step: Applying for Jobs.