Bartending Lifestyle Series – New Bartender Survival Guide!

Shawn Soole
December 7, 2006

So you think you’re ready?

You have finished Bartending School and you’re now ready to get your first job in the big bartending world. Here are some helpful hints on what can make or break your first job interview.

1) Get your resume sorted.
Have your resume as up to date as possible. If you have any experience in the restaurant / bar industry or customer service industry use it. Detail every aspect of your job but don’t go overboard, find a balance, making yourself sound important enough to be needed by your new employer while not overly arrogant. Managers will call references and if you have lied, they will find out and then well you know what will happen. Make it stand out, there are so many resumes dropped into restaurants every day that yours has to stand out. I find it more difficult for guys to get a job then girls, managers just tend to like having pretty girls walking around to keep the customers happy.

2) Recon.
Before you apply for a job at any venue, go in and have a drink or something to eat first. Make sure you take notice of what the staff are wearing, what style of venue it is, and who the managers are. For example, if you go for a job at a 5 star hotel restaurant you wouldn’t go in with dyed hair and a piercing. I have even made the mistake of over dressing for an interview at a night club and missing out on the job.

3) Foot in the door
You have dropped your resume off. You have had a phone call and they have asked you to come in to have a chat. You are dressed like the staff carrying your resume and ready to walk into the lions den. Arrive 10-15 minutes early and while you are sitting at the bar waiting, chat to staff and regulars. A manager will love the fact that you can just start conversations like that.

4) The Dragons Den
You’re sitting there in front of the manager, sweaty palms, smelling fantastic in your clean crisp shirt. Be confident but not arrogant. Look the manager in the eyes and tell them that you want to give the guests an experience, you want to become the best bartender you can possibly be. Again don’t bullshit about your experience because you will get caught within a couple of shifts and look like an idiot. I have people constantly coming into interviews saying they know this and that and I can catch them out on a fair few things very quickly.

5) You’re in now what?
You have got the job and the boss is showing you around the place telling you where everything is and introducing you to everyone. And now begins your training begins, regardless of how much experience you have you need training. When I started at Moxie’s, I had to train for a week before being on my own. It’s frustrating but when you screw up, no one is to blame but you and the guy who trained you. Never stop learning, never stop being trained.

6) Indispensable
No one is indispensable, but you can come pretty close. Learn everything you can possibly learn about the industry, the venue and your bar. Become so knowledgeable that your boss would have to use a lot of resources to train someone to your level. Don’t use this sort of power to manipulate situations, always keep the venues needs and wants as your top priority.

So good luck, enjoy the experiences that you will encounter. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

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