How to Become a Bartender

Bartending can produce substantial income. An experienced bartender can find work almost anywhere, and many people enjoy the personal interaction inherent in the job. It is not surprising, then, that these positions are highly competitive. Here are the steps to becoming a bartender.

Step 1: Network with People in the Industry

The key to becoming a bartender is earning the trust of a hiring manager, to the point where the manager is comfortable offering a position. To accomplish this, cultivate friendships and personal relationships with people in the restaurant business. Take a sincere interest in how other people learned how to become a bartender, and spread the word that you would like to do the same. A simple introduction from another bartender can make all the difference.

Step 2: Target an Appropriate Establishment

No two bars are exactly alike. Fast, slow, trendy, old-school, loud, quiet – the variety is endless. What type of place fits your style? When it comes to finding work as a bartender, the answer to this question is surprisingly important. Customers like to buy drinks from people with whom they can relate, and bar managers know this. From the manager’s perspective, finding a bartender means more than finding someone who is qualified. It means finding someone who will fit in. When looking at how to become a bartender, look for a bar to apply to that matches your style.

Step 3: Get an Interview

Do not expect to land an interview by mailing a resume or making a phone call. While you are waiting to hear back, someone more assertive will get the job. Have the application paperwork ready to go, and then walk into the bar during a shift when business is slow and the manager is working. Late morning is usually a good time. Introduce yourself to the manager, hand over the application, and ask if there is a time you can come in to interview for the position.

Step 4: Make an Impression

The point of a bartending interview is for the hiring manager to observe the candidate’s personality. This cannot be overstated. Understanding how to become a bartender means understanding how to put your personality on display for others to see. During the interview, the manager will want to see what the customers will see. So dress accordingly, but more than anything, show the manager that you are the type of person that customers will like.

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Step 5: Treat Bartending as a Career

Becoming a bartender is a process, not an event. Securing a first job is only the beginning. To become successful and reach your true earning potential, become a student of the profession and never stop learning. Take a course and become certified. Ask for guidance from other bartenders and feedback from supervisors. Practice mixing drinks at home for friends and family. Have fun, but consider these activities for what they are – career development.

Many people notice that bartenders make lots of money, and think to themselves: is this something I can do, and if so, how? To become a bartender, realize that the process requires a friendly disposition, a proactive attitude, and a lot of hard work.

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