How to Write a Bartending Resume

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I get so many visitors looking for tips on how to write a bartending resume that I thought I should finally post a tutorial on how to write your own. Read on, reader!

Step One: The Header.

I see a lot of resumes in my position, and you’d be surprised at just how many people leave resumes with no contact information. First, print your name in large letters. Don’t forget your mailing address (if different from your home address, always use the mailing address), phone number, and email address.

Jeffrey A Morgenthaler

69 Blahblah Street
Portland, Oregon
(503) 662-2391
[email protected]

You want to give employers a clear way to get in touch with you, otherwise, what would be the point of having a resume?

Step Two: Skip the Objective.

For some reason, it’s been traditional to include an objective section in a resume, and I’ve never understood why. Everyone’s objective is the same: to secure a good job. No matter how you dress it up…

Objective

To find employment in a fast-paced, fun work environment.

…it always comes off sounding weak. Skip it.

Step Three: Languages and Special Skills

Believe me, if you speak a foreign language, especially Spanish, in a restaurant in this country, you’re going to be one step ahead of the game. Put it down, but don’t lie about it. If you can only count to ten in Arabic, it’s not worth mentioning.

Do you have any computer skills? I’m talking about POS (Point of Sale) systems here. Squirrel, Micros, Aloha, etc. If you’ve used a computer system at another job, put it down. More and more establishments are moving to computer systems, and having to spend two days training you how to punch in an order is only going to be a deterrent to hiring you.

How I Communicate

In The Real World..

I can read and write in French. Asking me to speak it may require a freshen-up trip to Paris.

…On A Computer

I can program a Micros point-of-sale system, and I have four years of experience with Squirrel. I speak Microsoft Windows and Macintosh with equal proficiency. I have a firm grasp on the Microsoft Office Suite, the Adobe Creative Suite, and the Macromedia Suite. I am skilled in web page design, XHTML and CSS.

On a side note, I received a resume a few weeks ago and the applicant put down that he was proficient with both Internet Explorer and Firefox. I almost had a stroke from laughing as I slid the resume into the trash.

Step Four: Education.

Yes, it’s just a foodservice job. No, you don’t need a PhD to do it. But having some education shows that you’re a little more well-rounded than other applicants. And hey, you spent $30,000 on that philosophy degree, so get some mileage out of it!

My Formal Education

Hartnell College

1989 – 1992

Salinas, California

Graduated with A.S. degree in physics.

Technical University of Budapest

1991

Budapest, Hungary

Studied Hungarian baroque architecture as part of the Boronda Art Scholarship awarded through Hartnell College.

University of Oregon

1992 – 1998

Eugene, Oregon

Graduated with bachelor’s degree in Interior Architecture.

Also worth mentioning here is any special training or bar-/restaurant-related coursework. If you took a class on wine, mention it here. If you went to bartending school, put it down. Spend some time on this section. It’s almost as important as the following section.

Part Five: Work Experience.

Here’s the meat of your resume. Now, I get a lot of people asking how to fill in this section when they don’t have any bartending experience. It’s very simple: you lie. Just kidding. Always tell the truth, even if it is a bit embellished. I’ve actually hired people with “some” bartending experience only to find out that they lied about having any, and they were subsequently fired. Now I have a test that I have all my new applicants take.

Important tip: When you’re filling out the job description for each establishment you’ve worked in, I feel that it’s more important to convey a sense of what sort of place it was, rather than recounting what you did there. Face it, you did the same thing at every job: served customers, worked the cash register, and cleaned. I don’t care. What I want to know as a bar manager is what sort of establishment you worked in, as I haven’t had the chance to visit every bar and restaurant in the country. Was it a dive bar? Fine dining? Nightclub? Let me know. Some of us in fine dining are actually looking for people who come up from high-volume chain restaurants. You never know, so dont’ be shy, and do be as specific as possible.

Work Experience

El Vaquero

2005 – 2007

296 East Fifth Avenue
Eugene, Oregon

Head bartender. Tapas and Steaks. Huge menu and an enormous Spanish wine list, complemented by my menu of classic cocktails – with a twist. Priced OLCC catalog, set up Micros POS, trained a hardworking staff of bartenders, barbacks and cocktail servers, and conducted liquor classes for the staff of two restaurants. Fast-paced atmosphere, Disco Night on Thursdays, and a very demanding thirtysomething clientele.

Marche

2001 – 2005

296 East Fifth Avenue
Eugene, Oregon

Bartender/waiter. Buttoned-up black-tie service for the pre-theater crowd. Northwest cuisine done in the French bistro tradition, washed down with bottles of Pinot Noir. Huge French and Pacific Northwest wine list, dessert crowd at ten, open kitchen and bistro-style zinc-topped bar.

Chanterelle

2002

207 East Fifth Avenue #109
Eugene, Oregon

Bartender. Full-service, fine continental restaurant. Early crowd, small kitchen, tough German chef, fast pace.

The Vet’s Club

2000

1626 Willamette Street
Eugene, Oregon

Bartender. Huge thirty-five seat bar, and the hottest club in town. Late nights, stiff drinks, intense fast pace, two bartenders and a lot of smoky blues.

The Tiny Tavern

1996 – 2000

394 Blair Boulevard
Eugene, Oregon

My first bartending job. Four years, five nights a week in one of the toughest bars in town. Famous chili, pitchers of Olympia, loud music and a lot of smoke.

You should list any work experience you have here. The more food- or bar-related experience you can list, even if it’s as a barista or prep cook, the better.

Part Six: References.

I prefer not to list references on my resume (especially on the web, I don’t need people calling my former bosses at six in the morning) because I have a lot of experience here in town. However, if you’re applying for a job in another city, or if you don’t have a lot of experience, then you might want to list work-related references. Keep it under three, kid.

I hope this tutorial has helped, and that you’re now on your way to writing a successful resume. If you’re looking for more advice and/or some professional help with your bar resume, my friends Cheryl Charming and Darcy O’Neil have posted additional information at their own sites.

34 Replies to “How to Write a Bartending Resume”

  • Well, there you go, kids. Take that advice as you will.

  • Andrew says:

    In hollywood it is a prerequisite to have a very professional headshot on the resume! It’s a nutty town. My thought is inspired by jeffreymorgenthaler.com comments about bartending being so wide & diverse.

    So true that the discos will have handsome young guys & pretty sassy girls working. Whereas, an joint with a much more mature client, like fine dining, would tend to have older more professional bartenders, not sexy young guys & girls in their 20’s.

    Conversely, I do know of quite a few places that only hire men ! And I also know of places that only hire chicks!

    Every employee brings something unique & valuable to the table.
    Skills, appearance, youth, maturity, fresh attitude, seasoned player, old school, new school. There is a spot for everybody.

  • Sharon says:

    Jeffrey,

    Great tips on the resume, especially the part concerning previous work experience! Andrew is right, however, about a picture on your resume in Los Angeles. Typically you won’t be hired without one. Here it’s not considered tacky, just marketing yourself proficiently. Only in LA:)

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