The professional bartender’s guide to writing a perfect resume

A guide for bartenders on how to create the optimal resume to land a high-paying bartending position. Topics covered include formatting, resume summaries, bartending skills, work experience, and education. 

So – you want to be a professional bartender. The food and beverage industry is certainly a lucrative one, and bartenders are some of the highest-paid professionals within the field. As such, the competition for these jobs is steep, meaning you need to create a resume that wins the attention of employers over your competitors.

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about writing an effective resume as a bartender.

Keep reading to learn the answers to the following questions: 

  • Which resume format is best for bartenders?
  • How and why should a bartender write a resume summary?
  • What key skills should a bartender include on their resume?
  • How can a bartender grab an employer’s attention with their work history? 
  • What level of education should a bartender include on a resume? 

1. Which resume format is best for bartenders?  

Without a shadow of a doubt, the best resume format for bartenders is the reverse-chronological resume.

The reverse-chronological resume places the primary focus on work experience, starting with an applicant’s most recent job and working backward from there. Hiring managers in restaurants and bars will almost always look for bartenders with experience, as the job is extremely fast-paced and leaves little room for training. 

For applicants who do not have very much experience working as a bartender, the key is to search for positions such as “Server” or “Bar-Back” that provide opportunities for advancement to Bartender. If this is the case for you, you may want to consider one of the following alternative formats:

  • Functional resumes: A resume format that focuses on education, skills, and unpaid experience instead of work experience. This format is often used by recent graduates who have relevant academic experience in a certain field but lack formal work experience. 
  • Hybrid resumes: Hybrid resumes combine elements of both functional and reverse-chronological resumes, spreading out the focus of the document more evenly between all sections. This format is often used by applicants who have limited work experience, are changing career paths, or have large gaps in their work history. 

2. How should a bartender write a resume summary? 

A resume summary is a brief statement at the start of the document that helps to introduce the applicant and their skills to an employer.

For bartenders, the resume summary is an excellent opportunity to showcase their prowess within the field, particularly if they have held leadership positions or key responsibilities not always assigned to a general bartender. 

Below we have provided an example of a weak bartender resume summary, followed by a corrected explanation and example. 

Incorrect bartender resume summary example:

Bartender for many years in both fine-dining and nightclub environments. Enjoys fast-paced work with a social aspect, making them the best candidate for this bartending position. Previously held a position as a bar manager. 

What's wrong with this example? This example is incredibly non-specific when it comes to this applicant’s skills, experience, and accomplishments. To improve this summary, the applicant should focus more on their experience as a bar manager and provide more quantifiable details regarding their skills and background. 

Corrected bartender resume summary example:

Personable Bartender with 3+ years of experience working in fine-dining restaurants and nightclubs. Managed the bar for a highly rated club in downtown Manhattan, with responsibilities including supervising a staff of 30+ bartenders and bar-backs and creating signature cocktails. Highly adept at working in a fast-paced environment with large crowds.     

Why is this better? This example offers the specificity employers are looking for from a resume summary. The applicant has included eye-catching details and impressive descriptions of previous responsibilities they held as a bar manager. Their skills are clearly outlined and their experience is plainly evident.

3. What key skills should a bartender include on their resume?

Bartenders often play a jack-of-all-trades role within restaurants and bars. Not only do they need to mix drinks, but they must also communicate with customers, keep their workstations organized, and much more. 

As such, a professional bartender should always include examples of both their hard and soft skills on a resume. Hard skills refer to technical abilities, such as mixing drinks, while soft skills refer to interpersonal abilities, such as talking with customers.

The following examples of 10 hard skills and 10 soft skills are just a few of the many abilities a bartender should consider adding to their resume: 

Hard skills

  • Mixology
  • Signature Cocktail Creation
  • Knowledge of Craft Brews and Wines
  • Age Verification of Customers
  • Proper Sanitation Practices
  • Knowledge of OSHA and Serve Safe Standards
  • Bookkeeping and Financial Transactions
  • Precise Pouring Techniques
  • Order Taking and Fulfillment
  • Inventory Management

Soft skills 

  • Friendly Demeanor
  • Exceptionally Strong Verbal Communication
  • Collaboration and Teamwork
  • Customer Service
  • Organization
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Conflict-Resolution
  • Creativity
  • Calm-Headedness and Composure
  • Tolerance

4. How can a bartender grab an employer’s attention with their work history? 

An employer will expect you to be able to mix drinks and speak with customers – those abilities are the core foundations of the job, after all! This means that your work experience entries should go above and beyond detailing the minimum requirements for the job.

To grab the attention of employers, bartenders should strive to include their accomplishments and key responsibilities that set them apart from other applicants. 

Here is an example of a work experience entry from a bartender’s resume:

Bartender | Old Town Saloon 

Jefferson, NC | January 2017 to March 2020

  • Provided exceptional service to a minimum of 150 guests per night, with busiest nights topping upwards of 400 customers in a single evening. 
  • Implemented a new POS system that decreased transaction times by 15%, leading to a 20% increase in nightly sales and transactions. 
  • Created seasonal craft cocktails from scratch using in-depth knowledge of mixology and flavor profiles. 

5. What level of education should a bartender include on a resume?

On any resume for any job, it is always important to list your highest level of education. For a bartender, the education section is also a great place to list any additional training or certifications they have completed, as these will give them a greater competitive edge. 

Here is an example of a well-crafted education section on a bartender’s resume: 

Education

B.S. in Food and Beverage Management | Appalachian State University

  • Concentration: Bar Management and Business Administration
  • Graduated: 2018

Certifications

A journalist by trade, a writer by fate. Nikoleta went from writing for media outlets to exploring the world of content creation with Kickresume and helping people get closer to the job of their dreams. Her insights and career guides have been published by The Female Lead, College Recruiter, and ISIC, among others. When she’s not writing or (enthusiastically) pestering people with questions, you can find her traveling or sipping on a cup of coffee.

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