5 Ways to Get a Bartender Job A Bartender Job - Look From the Inside Is This Job the Right Fit for You? - Checklist Before You Get Started Ways to Land Your First Bartending Job - Tips & Lifehacks Main Documents You Need to Get a Bartender Job How to Handle a Bartender Interview Was Bartending Affected by the Recent Pandemic? Conclusion
5 Ways to Get a Bartender Job A Bartender Job - Look From the Inside Is This Job the Right Fit for You? - Checklist Before You Get Started Ways to Land Your First Bartending Job - Tips & Lifehacks Main Documents You Need to Get a Bartender Job How to Handle a Bartender Interview Was Bartending Affected by the Recent Pandemic? Conclusion
Updated 04/11/2020

5 Ways to Get a Bartender Job

Despite the seeming simplicity of a bartender’s job, it is hard work that requires good physical shape and a certain set of skills and personal qualities. In this article, we'll cover what you need to get this job even without experience, highlighting five simple yet effective ways.

Despite the seeming simplicity of a bartender’s job, it is hard work that requires good physical shape and a certain set of skills and personal qualities. In this article, we'll cover what you need to get this job even without experience, highlighting five simple yet effective ways.

Working as a bartender is a good choice for those who are still in training, want an additional source of income, and are willing to cope with minor inconveniences such as night / flexible / weekend schedules and sometimes unpredictable visitors. It is also a good opportunity to grow to a bar manager and beyond.

What is more, it is easy enough to get into this field without experience if your skills and abilities meet the basic requirements for this job. In this article, we talk about the specifics of this profession and explain how to find a bartending job in the shortest possible time.


A Bartender Job - Look From the Inside

Before answering how to get a bartender job, let's find out what skills, education, and personal qualities you need for this.


The work of a bartender does not require specialized education, especially higher education. That is why many young students are looking for this job as an additional source of income in their free time to cover their tuition debt. What is more, working as a bartender is a good choice for students as it involves working at night. This means you can balance work with your college studies.

However, bartender schools do exist. Studying in such a school is an undeniable advantage, as this background will allow getting a bartending job with no experience. In some states, training in a bartender school and obtaining a certificate is a requirement. Of course, such training has a price - from $200 to $600. Therefore, consider studying online, but make sure the certification you obtain online is eligible to get a job at a bar in your location. You will be surprised, but Udemy offers such bartender courses starting at $13.

Skills and Duties

Unlike education and certification (which you may or may not have), the following basic skills are required to get hired.

  • Beverage serving and mixing. This is the core responsibility and core skill of a good bartender. You must be able to properly serve drinks (without spilling them or breaking bottles) and mix cocktails correctly and tastily (observing the right proportions).
  • Cleaning. As a bartender, you will be required to keep the bar clean and subtly help visitors do this by offering them napkins. Keeping your workplace clean is essential to both your professional reputation and the reputation of your establishment, so be prepared to wipe down your bar hundreds of times per shift. Plus, you will also need to arrange the bottles of alcohol in a beautiful visual way so that guests can easily choose what they want without even using the menu.
  • Billing. Billing customers and receiving payments from them is another duty. To cope well, you should have money management skills, be able to handle the POS terminal, and remember about safety - your cashbox should be closed when you are not using it.

Personal Traits

The bartender's personality is also important. Personal qualities in an ideal combination with professionalism make you a good service specialist and a valuable worker for any establishment. Here are the personal attributes you need to have for this role.

  • Communication skills. As a bartender, you will have to communicate a lot with colleagues and clients. What is more, you will have to speak loudly enough, trying to shout down the playing music. If you know how to communicate effectively and loudly at the same time, welcome to the bar.
  • Good memory. Regular customers love when bartenders remember them and immediately offer them what they want without any questions. You will have to remember their faces and their preferences to make them want to return to your bar.
  • Desire to learn. As with any job, bartender training doesn't end with a few basic cocktails. If you want your services to be in demand, you need to learn something new from this area.
  • Creativity. Many establishments are famous for creative cocktails and unusual service. Creativity and the ability to surprise is a definite plus for your resume.

License/Health Certificate

As a rule, a certificate is not a requirement for a bartender to work in America. However, if you were working in Australia, you would need a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate. Therefore, review your state's laws before starting your search.

As for a certificate of your health, this is usually not required either. However, in light of the recent pandemic, you should check your health beforehand to ensure you are not an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.

What is more, the service, hospitality, and tourism sectors are now transforming, creating new rules and regulations. Perhaps very soon, additional measures to ensure workers’ safety in these areas and clients will also be developed. But for now, this is solely your responsibility, and of course, you should not be in contact with people if you feel even the slightest symptoms of a cold.

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Is This Job the Right Fit for You? - Checklist Before You Get Started

So, we have already described what personal and professional qualities are needed to work as a bartender. However, before moving on to the direct search for your first job, let's make sure that this is really what you need. Here is a checklist that will help.

  • Age. To work as a bartender, you need to be of legal age. This can be 18-21 years old, depending on the state. This age allows you to both work with alcoholic beverages and consume them (in your free time and within reasonable limits, of course).
  • The desire to communicate with different people. Working as a bartender is not the best choice for introverts. For 8-10 hours, you will be surrounded by a large number of different people. Excessive communication with people harms introverts, depriving them of vital energy, while an extroverted person draws strength from communication and society. This job is suitable for you if you are ready to communicate and satisfy requests to provide high-quality and fast customer service while remaining polite and cheerful, even at the end of your work shift.
  • The ability to listen. You've probably heard the statement that the best psychologist is the bartender. People often come to a bar alone just to talk to a stranger, ease their souls, and hear an outside opinion. Be prepared for the fact that you will have to turn into a psychologist and an active listener for several hours on quiet weekday evenings.
  • Good health and stamina. The job of a bartender requires good physical shape and stamina, as it is work on the feet. This option will not suit you if you have problems with the spine, joints, and blood vessels. Prolonged physical activity on your legs and back can aggravate your condition, so before submitting your resume for a bartender job, make sure that you do not risk your health.
  • Preparedness for unforeseen situations. As we said, you will have to communicate with different people. Some of them may always be conflicted and unhappy; some may lose control even after one cocktail. Many people become unpredictable under the influence of alcohol. You need to be ready for this, recognize the signs of a tense situation, and work well with the security service in case of an emergency.
  • Ability to handle money. One of the bartender's duties is to accept cash and non-cash payments from bar customers. Think about whether you are attentive and concentrated enough to form a correct invoice at the end of the evening, not be mistaken in counting cash and giving out change, and make the payment through the terminal correctly. Attentiveness and ability to handle money are crucial for the bartender's work; otherwise, the shortfall will be taken from your salary.
  • The propensity to be active at night. Just as this job is categorically not suitable for introverts, bartending is not ideal for those who need a night's sleep exclusively according to their biorhythms. Therefore, it is a perfect job for "owls" - people who can sleep in the daylight, really rest and reboot the brain and body, and be active at night.
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Ways to Land Your First Bartending Job - Tips & Lifehacks

So, how to get a job as a bartender? Below are five practice-proven ways to land on it.

1. Ask Your Party-Loving Friends

Let's start with the most effortless action. All that is required of you is to call your friends and acquaintances who love parties and often visit bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. Perhaps one of them accidentally noticed an announcement that a nearby restaurant needs a bartender.

In this case, all you have to do is prepare your resume and cover letter, make an appointment with the HR manager, dress nicely, and go for an interview.

Prompt! Telling people you know that you are looking for a bartender job triggers word of mouth, which is often the most effective strategy possible.

2. Make a List of Local Bars and Check Out Their Websites

Open a map of your city, and make a list of all establishments that may need a bartender. Next, go to the website and/or social media profiles of each of the institutions and pay attention to the Vacancies section, if there is one. Many cafes, bars, and restaurants create such sections on the site to passively attract candidates.

In fact, the turnover in hospitality and service is a normal phenomenon (working with people is too challenging, even when you don't need to be super qualified for it), so jobs are vacated quite often, and establishments need new people right away.

Submit your application directly through the form on the website, or write down the institution’s name, website, and phone number in a separate list to return to them and ask for a meeting. Or, if you prefer written communication, email your resume and cover letter to the chosen bars.

3. Walkthrough the Bars in Your City

Most likely, after the first two steps, you already have several potential places to land for work. However, let's continue - we are looking for the best place to work, not the first one. Therefore, it makes sense to check out a few bars in your area.

No, you do not need to order a cocktail in each of them. You need to ask a direct question - does the establishment need a bartender? Very often, this proactive approach is rewarded. If you were not too lazy to get off the couch and come without knowing if there is a vacant place, this speaks of you as an active person, which is important for getting a bartender job.

What is more, you can show yourself as an even more responsible candidate. To do this, prepare and print your resume and cover letter in advance so that they can be quickly passed on to the HR manager for review.

4. Consider Local and Abroad Summer Jobs

Here is another interesting idea for those not bound by family obligations and not tied to their residence and educational institution. Consider temporary hotel work opportunities during the high season. As a rule, large hotels have several bars on their territory, which means they need additional labor.

The recent coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly hit the travel industry and narrowed down choices; however, it is still possible to find good deals if you are serious about it. Start by researching the countries you are allowed to enter as a foreigner, and then move on to finding hotels with open vacancies. This is a good option for summer earnings and first experience. Even if you are not ready to travel abroad, the opportunity to work in resort hotels within the country remains open. Start by exploring the resort towns, then make a list of hotels that need a bartender and outreach them by phone or email. Don’t forget to send them your resume and cover letter as well!

5. Research Job Boards Online

The next effective strategy is to find suitable jobs in your city online. Besides highly specialized job portals and classified sites like Craigslist, you can use niche sites that advertise jobs in the hospitality and service industries. Here is the list of helpful websites:

  • HCareers
  • LinkUp
  • Hospitality Online
  • Journal Des Places
  • Hosco
  • JobsOnTheMenu
  • Career Builder
  • Dice

Don’t forget to specify your location to get only relevant offers.

One more tip! Get registered on those websites and other job boards, and customize your settings to get a notification when a new bartender position becomes available in your location.

How to apply for a bartending job online? Make sure you have the necessary documents at your fingertips.


Main Documents You Need to Get a Bartender Job

In addition to your personal documents and certificates, you need two more key documents that will help you attract the potential employer’s attention and convince him that you can be the best choice.


While bartending does not require a college degree or anything else highly specific, you still need a logical, literate, and attractive resume to get it. Start by looking at bartender resume examples to help you understand the structure and content of the resume that is expected of you. And here's what else you need to write.


While certification is optional, it is one of your greatest strengths. What is more, an online certificate is more than affordable - the cost of the online course is approximately equal to the bartender’s hourly rate, so you can definitely afford it. Be sure to get at least one certificate to prove that you are serious about this job and write it down in one of the first lines of your resume.


As always, jobs are listed in chronological order. However, even if you have no experience and practice, you shouldn't skip this section of your resume. In this case, be honest and write that you are a promising newbie looking for a first job.


The skills described in your resume should ideally match the skills described in the vacancy. This does not mean that you need to copy the vacancy text every time you send your resume. It means that you need to prioritize the qualities that are required and mention them first.

Prompt! Add a few important but universal qualities. For instance, upselling and active listening skills are essential regardless of the catering institution in which you will work.

Personal Qualities

Also, don't forget to add your personality traits, but be honest. It is possible to acquire any skill, but no amount of knowledge will make an extrovert out of an introvert.

With our resume builder, you can select your qualities and competencies and easily transform them into an attractive resume. All you have to do is add a touch of personalization.
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Cover Letter

A cover letter is a required document when applying for a job in any of the industries. When applying for a job as a bartender, your cover letter is your chance to start a lively dialogue with the establishment in which you want to work. This document is especially important for newcomers as it gives you a brief but meaningful way to explain why you like the job, why it suits you, and why you are suitable for this position. Start by analyzing bartender cover letter examples to make your task easier.

Plus, having a cover letter shows that you are serious about the job placement process and aren’t too lazy to take extra initiative, even if writing this letter is not a requirement. What is more, if you are applying for a more serious position, for example, a bar manager, then a cover letter is required. Take a look at our bar manager cover letter examples to see what you can write in it.

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How to Handle a Bartender Interview

Your chances of being invited for an interview increase significantly once you have created the necessary documents with our solution. Here are some rules for successful interviewing.

  • Dress properly. But don't overdo it with formal style. A white shirt or T-shirt, jeans, and clean shoes will be enough to make an adequate impression.
  • Research the bartender interview questions and answers in advance. Be prepared to demonstrate your skills.
  • Sharpen your speech. As we’ve stated, you will need to communicate clearly, effectively, and loudly at your job. Use the list above to prepare your answers to the questions, plus practice in front of the mirror. Make sure you sound clear, confident, and smile.

Was Bartending Affected by the Recent Pandemic?

Robotization threatens the loss of jobs for many professionals and ordinary workers, and bartenders are also among them. Foodservice robots are another way to ensure safety and improve customer service. But there is good news - robotic solutions are quite expensive, from $100,000, so not all establishments will be able to afford their implementation. Your chances of finding a job as a bartender are still high.

However, robot adoption isn’t the only change in the hospitality industry that affects bartending. Insider research describes many hypothetical and real changes and rules you will be obliged to follow at your post-pandemic bartender job.

  • No shareable cocktails. One cocktail for two is likely to become a thing of the past, according to research. However, the effectiveness of such a ban is questionable. If a couple is living under the same roof and orders such a cocktail, then they have more opportunities to transmit the virus to each other at home.
  • More to-go cocktails. Takeaway cocktails became a survival opportunity for bars during the quarantine period. A cocktail in a leakproof package is an invention and a quarantine-time trend that will continue because not all people are ready to revisit public places as actively as before.
  • No unwrapped straws. Of course, sealed cocktail straws are the responsibility of the establishment. However, bartenders will most likely not insert straws into glasses but will offer visitors to take a straw and unwrap it on their own.
  • Masks and gloves. This is a reasonable requirement that has already become a reality for many hospitality and catering establishments. Be prepared for the fact that you will also have to work wearing gloves and a mask.
  • Digital or cleanable menus. Digital menus are already becoming common practice - cutting paper expenses and the cost of updating menus after months of use. Now, this is another way to ensure safety. Perhaps establishments that cannot afford a digital solution will use menus that are easy to clean and sterilize, or something like banners visible from anywhere in the establishment.


As you can see, finding a job as a bartender is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance. What is more, the industry is changing and adapting to the needs of society. Nowadays, good professional skills, personal responsibility, and prioritizing clients’ health and safety will become your most substantial competitive advantages in employment.

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