Employment Tips for Getting Your First Bartending

Dress Code

First impressions are created within the first ten seconds of meeting someone. Dress according to the bars dress code for bartenders. If a bar requires their bartenders to wear black and white, go to apply and interview in black and white. If a bar requires their bartenders to wear khaki pants and a golf shirt, apply in khaki pants and the same color shirt, etc. etc. You must look your best! You should be recently bathed, have your hair combed and clothes clean and pressed and be on time. This applies to the application trip, as well as the interview. If you do not look appropriate, you may not be asked back to interview.

To Apply

Take a copy of your resume, social security card and driver’s license. If your state requires a liquor serving permit, get on in advance. Some major hotels will ask for a background check. These are available at the police station, or courthouse for a minimum charge. Fill out the application completely and correctly. You may want to bring a written record of previous jobs, dates and references with you. Try to get your application to a manager. Do not leave it with the front desk or bartender.

The Interview

Get to the interview at least ten minutes early. Being late will usually cause a manger not to hire you. Don’t take a friend along to the interview. Don’t have a drink while waiting for the manager. Don’t smoke during the interview. Don’t judge a bar by its appearance. A busy bar generally means good tips. The only bad bar is a bar with no customers. Be positive and confident. Most experienced bartenders have confidence in themselves. You should too. Don’t make unreasonable demands on the bar manager. You need to be flexible and bend your schedule around the bar managers. Don’t make statements such and “I need to make at least $100.00 a night”. Don’t be too choosy in getting your first job. Take the job, see how much money you can make and get at least thirty days of on the job experience.

Follow Up

If a manager says they will call you back in two days, wait until the third day and call them to see if they have made a decision. Tell them you have been very busy and thought you may have missed their call. Be persistent. Bar managers get a lot of applications from many unqualified people. By being persistent, they know you really want to work for them. Eagerness is a good quality and may cause them to hire you. Be polite when calling bars back and understand that bar managers are juggling many tasks at once. You are not their main priority.