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Applying For Your FIRST Bartending Job

Where you choose to apply for your first bartending job is just as important as how you apply for it. When applicants fail to get their first bar gig, it’s usually because they apply to the wrong places. They apply to fancy cocktail bars and busy nightclubs – bars that don’t tend to hire first-timers – these places don’t callback, the applicants become dejected, and then they quit. It really isn’t that difficult to get your first bartending job, you just need to be a little picky about where you apply.

Ideally, what you want to do is work out which bars hire a lot of first-timers, focus most of your efforts on applying to them, and forget about the places that don’t…for now. This way you’ll get called into a greater number of interviews, which will boost your morale, and keep you motivated. Because whether it’s your first, or fifty-first job you’re applying for, half the battle really is just holding your spirits up enough to keep applying ‘till you get one.

So who hires first-timers?

Tons of places: think anywhere small and anywhere slow. Basically, think anywhere that more experienced bartenders won’t bother applying to, like family owned restaurants, neighbourhood pubs, university pubs, dive bars, pool bars, golf courses, and yacht clubs – bars that even you probably don’t want to apply to. But just right now, when it’s your FIRST bartending job you’re applying for, don’t think about where you want to work, think about where can you work? These places, and the ones listed below, hire first-timers a lot. They hire first-timers because they don’t have a wealth of applicants to choose from, and their bars are quiet enough that they’re comfortable hiring those that haven’t bartended before.

Anywhere else though, try to forget about for now. Try to forget about the nightclubs and cocktail bars you want to work in…for now. Think about it: every bartender wants to work in these bars, so when they need to hire someone, they don’t often bother with first-timers because they have the pick of the litter. So when you apply to these bars as a first-timer, what’s going to happen is you’ll hand in your resume, they probably won’t callback, and then your morale will take a hit.
Forget about chains like Earls and Joey too… for now – even if they wanted to, they can’t hire you because their corporate structure won’t let them. Don’t apply to fine-dining restaurants, hotel bars, or sports bars either. Basically, stay away from anywhere particularly busy when you’re starting out, because busy places don’t tend to hire first-timers.
These guidelines aren’t absolute. You can apply to these bars if you want to, and if there’s a busy bar that you really want to work in, go for it. There are no rules against applying to these bars as a beginner, but because your success rates will be low, we’re saying don’t apply to too many of them. A small number, and I really do mean a small number, of these bars sprinkled into the mix won’t do too much harm, but for the best chance of success, and to raise your confidence, you really, really, should start off with the small bars.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to stick with the small ones for long. You just need to actually get that first job, and then stick with it long enough to put some experience under your belt, and be able to write it down on your resume. Once you’ve done that though, you’re not a first-timer anymore, and then you can apply to the bars you really want to work in.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s get back to applying for your first job. Choosing where to apply is the first step, then you actually have to apply there, and there are some tricks to that too.

 

How to Apply

Applying online is a cinch: email your resume to the address on the posting, and wait for a reply. But whenever possible, it’s much better to apply in-person.

Whenever you apply in-person for a job in this industry, you only have a small window each week to do so: from Monday to Thursday, between 2 and 4:30pm. Applying (in-person) outside of this time range pegs you as a novice to the industry: applying before 2 interrupts the lunch rush, after 4:30 interrupts dinner, and then it’s assumed Friday through Sunday will be busy all day. There isn’t a manager out there that appreciates being interrupted during those times to accept a resume.
There are a few exceptions to this rule though: if the job posting says to come at another time, then you go whenever it says to. If the bar you’re applying to doesn’t open until late, then go half an hour before it does open (the staff will be there, but customers won’t). And of course, whenever you do apply, if it’s busy inside, just walk out and come back again later; I repeat, no manager appreciates being interrupted when they’re busy just to accept a resume.

When you do get around to handing your resume in, only hand it in to a manager. If you hand it in to anyone else you risk the chance of the Manager never actually seeing it – maybe because the hostess misplaced it, or maybe because they “misplaced” it (just so you know: Hostesses are trying to work their way up to bartending or serving too). Besides, it defeats the whole purpose applying in-person; you’re trying to get the manager to see you, because managers always feel more comfortable calling in a face they can picture, than an unknown name on a piece of paper. So when you go to hand in your resume, ask if the manager is there; if they’re not, ask when’s a good time to come back, and come back then.

If you only apply during these times, and only to slower bars, you won’t be able to apply to that many bars each day – which is a good thing. Applying for a job, any job, is physically and mentally exhausting. If you apply to more than five bars a day – in person – it’s going to tire you out, and then you won’t feel so motivated to try again tomorrow. And, for whatever reason, if none of the places you went to callback, it’s much easier to stomach five places not calling than ten.

Half the battle really is just keeping your morale high enough to go on applying until you finally land a job. Which means it’s far more important for you to just hand a few resumes in to some bars where you have a good chance of being hired, than it is to hand out a hundred resumes all over the city to any bar with an open door, risk mass rejection, and exhaust yourself in the process. Keep your confidence high, and it’ll help you for the next stage of the process: The Interview.

Before you find out how to ace a bartending interview though, here again, in greater detail, are the bars that hire a lot of first-timers.

 

  • Family owned Restaurants
  • Greek Restaurants – not sure why, but they do
  • Indian restaurants – again, not sure why
  • Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurants
  • Wine-Espresso Bars
  • Neighbourhood bars – specifically for their weekday-day shifts
  • Restaurants that do breakfast – for their breakfast shifts.
  • University Bars
  • Diners
  • Dive Bars
  • Economy-hotel Bars
  • Anywhere with a bar that looks like crap
  • Pool Bars
  • Casinos
  • Golf Courses
  • Yacht Clubs
  • Event Staffing Services
  • Service Bars (that means a bar where the bartender only makes drinks for the servers; customers can’t order at these bars)
  • Boston Pizza for some reason – even though it’s a chain
  • And anywhere where you’ve got connections (it really can help)

Just so you know, the students at Metropolitan Bartending School get one-on-one job-search coaching until they land a job, which includes elaborating on what we’ve just said, and giving them the names of the specific bars and restaurants they should apply to.

How To Make A Bartender’s Resume

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).

Bartenders Resume

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.

The Design

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.

 

The Header

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 johntheflyingninjaboy@hotmail.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.

 

Objective

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.

 

References

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.

The Different Ways to go from Barista-To-Bartender

The switch from Barista-To-Bartender is nice and simple, but not quite as simple as going right from one to the other, there’s one small step in-between.

The step in-between barista-ing (totally a word by the way) and bartending is exactly that: something that’s halfway between the two; like working in a cafe that also serves alcohol for example. There are a few small things you can do like this that’ll help in a big way when it comes to applying for jobs.

Right now, if a Bar Manager looked at your resume they’d see a ton of things that qualify you for the job – drinks mixing, customer service, and cash handling experience, to name a few – but they’d also see a few things missing, which could be the difference between getting, and not getting, an interview. Those things are “experience serving alcohol,” “experience making complex cocktails,” and having worked in a bar setting. You can get experience doing all of these in a matter of weeks, and you don’t even need to get experience doing all three. But if you want to step into the job market with the best chance of being hired, you should get at least one. So here are the best and easiest ways to do that.

 

Option 1: Bartending School

This is by far the quickest and easiest way to get the whole package. Bartending School courses are taught behind real bars by real bartenders (ours are anyway), who’ll teach you how to make all the world’s most popular cocktails, how to sell them; how the major spirits, beers, and wines out there are made; how to distinguish between good and bad alcohol; and just about everything else you need to know to be a good bartender – plus you’ll get one-on-one job-coaching until you get actually get a job.

But if that just isn’t for you, there are a few other ways to go from Barista-To-Bartender, they just take longer, and don’t have quite as high of a success rate.

 

Option 2: The Cafe with a Kick

If the cafe you’re working in doesn’t serve alcohol, move to one that does. We call them “Cafes with a Kick.” They’re primarily coffee shops, but they also have a few beers, possibly some wines, and maybe, just maybe, a couple of coffee cocktails on the menu. If you’ve got barista experience already, you can easily get a job working at one of these cafes, and there are more and more of them about. It’s a really simple switch, but it allows you, after a few months, to put down on your resume that you’ve served beer and wine before – which is about 75% of what most bartenders do anyway – and that can be enough to get your resume put in the callback pile instead of the recycling (a Bartending School Certificate will show them you know how to pour beer and wine, as well as mix cocktails, sell cocktails, and that you’re knowledgeable about every bottle that’s found behind a bar…just sayin’).

Also, there are plenty of espresso/wine bars out there that hire baristas to work their day shifts – they’re less “cafes that serve alcohol” as they are “bars that serve coffee” – these look even better on a resume.

 

Option 3: The High-end Cafe

If you work at a regular cafe like a Starbucks, or any neighbourhood coffee-shop that sells a similar range of drinks, that’s great, it’ll come in handy later, but right now you want to move over to a high-end cafe. By high-end cafe we mean those hipster cafes that only serve classic espresso beverages, and blonde roast drip – dripped on a cup-by-cup basis; those cafes with interiors that look more like they should host an ad-agency than a coffee shop; where all the staff have beards, all the drinks have latte art – even the teas – and where there’s no staff uniform, but you can be pretty sure there’s a memo somewhere about wearing plaid.

Despite the contempt dripping from those words – dripped on a word-by-word basis – the coffees they sell at these cafes are as good as it gets, and their baristas are as skilled as it gets – and bar managers know this. So if you can put on your resume that you’ve worked in one of these cafes for a few months, any bar manager looking at it will assume if you can make coffees to that standard, you can handle a cosmo (whereas a Bartending School Certificate will show them that you can handle a cosmo because you’ve practised making them, along with dozens of other cocktails…just something for you to sip on).

 

Option 4: Barbacking

This option requires you to venture outside of the cafe scene, and it’s actually the reason more baristas don’t try to become bartenders, but stay with me: there are a few misconceptions about barbacking.

First off, a Barback is a bartender’s assistant: if the bartender needs a bottle of Vodka, the barback gets it; if the bartender needs some glasses cleared, the barback clears them. Basically, the barback does whatever they can so the bartender doesn’t have to step away from the wood and stop selling drinks. The Barback even gets to pour drinks like beer, wine, and highballs when it gets particularly busy.

Most Bartenders start off as Barbacks, and work their way up over a year or two, and this is what scares Baristas away – the long wait – but Baristas don’t have to wait that long. It usually takes Barbacks so long to move up because most of them have no drinks-mixing, customer service, or cash handling experience, let alone all three at the same time – but a Barista has. So when a Barista becomes a barback, they usually only need to spend a few months getting acquainted with the Bar scene before they get moved up (Bartending School grads on the otherhand get moved up in a few weeks, if they choose to barback at all…second to last time we bring this up, promise).

There are no pre-req’s to becoming a barback, and if you have barista experience you’ll get snatched up right away because Bartenders usually suck at making coffee, and it’s always useful to have someone around that doesn’t.

 

Any one of these options will help you astronomically when it comes to applying for bartending jobs. All are easy to do, and you don’t need to do any of them for too long. The last three you just need to do for a few months – long enough to stick it on a resume – and Bartending School only takes a couple of weeks.

Once you’ve taken one of these routes, you’re ready to move on to Step 2 of Barista-To-Bartender: The Resume

What Kinds of People Become Bartenders?

There is a common misconception that only young people who enjoy mixed drinks and cocktails should become bartenders. While we certainly do see students who fit that profile, the reality is that lots of different types of people choose to become bartenders on a full- or part-time basis.

And why not? It’s a career that offers daily cash pay, a flexible schedule, and the opportunity to take your career in a direction you choose. That mix of benefits draws a lot of different types of people to our bartending school, including:

Students. College students love bartending because it’s something they can do seasonally while working in a fun, entertaining atmosphere. Plus, the wages and tips they make can go a long way toward paying for tuition and books.

Part-time professionals and self-employed people. Not only does bartending help already-employed professionals and freelancers to even out their cash flow, but it also gives them a chance to socialize with customers and coworkers – something that’s missing from a lot of jobs these days.

Retirees. In the same way, retirees may decide to get out of the house, earn a bit of extra cash, and have some fun by mixing drinks at their local pub or golf course. It’s hard to think of a better way to stay active for a few days or nights a week.

Anyone looking for an in-demand career path. Bartending has been around for a long, long time, and won’t be going out of style anytime soon. If you can take a short amount of time to learn your craft at a bartending school like ours, you will likely find that restaurants, hotels, and other types of establishments are always hiring. In other words, you can keep bartending for as long as you’d like if you’re good at it.

Want to learn at the country’s premier bartending school? Call us today to register for an upcoming course, or click here to see the schedule and description of classes.


 

3 Reasons Now is a Great Time for Bartending Classes

After helping thousands of people to learn about bartending and get jobs in the industry right away, we are convinced that there is never a bad time for bartending classes. But, there are a few things that make it an especially great idea right now:

1. Bartending helps you earn cash in a tough economy. One thing our graduates love about bartending is that they have the opportunity to make cash tips nightly – and often, more than they would make in a regular 9-to-5 office job. Combine that with a flexible schedule, and it can be a great way to catch up on bills, even in this tough economy.

2. Bartending is a skill that can lead to bigger things. While a lot of our graduates are happy to simply take work as a bartender and enjoy the cash and lifestyle benefits that come with it, some move on to restaurant and hotel management, to become club managers, or even to open their own establishments. Bartending makes a great introduction to all of these careers because it introduces you to a number of different concepts and gets you comfortable working with people.

3. Bartending is something you can always come back to. Learning to mix drinks and keep guests happy is a skill that you can come back to again and again in life, no matter what part of the country or the world you happen to be living in. That means it’s perfect for part-timers, those in between careers, and anyone else looking for an inexpensive way to open up some new opportunities.

Best of all, learning to be a bartender is fast, easy, and affordable. Why not call us today 604 222 8363 to reserve your spot in one of our upcoming courses, or click to see our class schedules and descriptions

Micah Dew: Creating the Beergarita.

Watch Metropolitan’s Barchef Micah Dew crafting his latest creation for the Province newspaper drink of the week.

Happy Tending!!

http://www.theprovince.com/Video+Cocktail+week/5279673/story.html

 

Fairchild TV at Metropolitan

Our new instructor Micah filming a segment with Fairchild TV

Today’s Cocktail : “The Juice” (named after Canuck Kevin Bieksa)

Today’s cocktail is dedicated to our infamous Canuck defenseman Kevin Bieksa.
A little fact about Bieksa is his nickname “the Juice” , which he earned by both teammates and fans during his Manitoba Moose days.  It is all due to his love for drinking pineapple juice before and after the games.
So, for all you Canuck fans getting ready for tonight’s game, due your part and try “The Juice” cocktail, and cheer our team on!
GO CANUCKS GO…..
Surfer on Acid

 

Ingredients
1 oz Coconut Rum
1 oz Jägermeister®
2 oz Pineapple Juice

Method: Prepare in shaker
Glass: Old-Fashioned

  1. Shake all ingredients with ice for a few seconds.
  2. Pour the content of the shaker into a short glass, along with ice.

 

Celebrating our boys in blue, the Canucks that is…

Its Friday afternoon here in Vancouver, and to show our patriotism for our home town boys, we are painting the town blue, green and white for Sunday’s Canuck game!

canuck shooterTo celebrate our boys in blue, try our cocktail of the day the Johnny Canuck!

Johnny Canuck

Ingredients  

1/3 oz Creme de cacao

1/3 oz Blue Curacao

1/3 oz Melon Liquor

 

Instructions Layer the following: Creme de cacao, followed by blue curacao into a shot glass, then melon. Serve. 

Serve Johnny Canuck in a Shot Glass

 

GO CANUCKS GO!!!!

 

Vancouver’s Perfect Manhattan

manhattan

The most difficult drinks in bartending are the classics that use few ingredients. Nothing could be more true when preparing the Rye based Manhattan cocktail.  The drink has as  many reincarnations,

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