13 Essential Skills For a Bartender's Resume

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published February 22, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Bartending is a rewarding career if you love people and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment. The skills required of bartenders are vast and varied, from mixing drinks to problem solving. When drafting a resume or preparing for an interview, consider the many skills bartenders learn through training and on the job. In this article, we present 13 essential skills for your resume, along with tips to highlight soft skills in your bartending interview.

Read more: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

What do bartenders do?

Bartenders perform a number of duties in the course of their jobs, many transferable to other industries or positions. Bartenders prepare and serve alcoholic beverages with precision and consistency. They restock drinks or replenish bar snacks. Bartenders keep inventory of ingredients and monitor equipment, such as blenders, for defects. Bartenders handle cash and process payments for drinks or meals.

Alongside bars and restaurants, bartenders work in:

  • Vacation resorts

  • Private or public clubs

  • Catering companies

  • Casinos

    Related: Bartender Resume Samples

List of skills for a bartender's resume

Bartenders exhibit a wide range of skills on the job. They work in fast-moving environments that require dexterity and adaptability to changing conditions. These professionals come into contact with many different personalities and can alter their tone and style, depending on the customer.

Here is a list of 13 skills bartenders use each shift:

1. Memory

If there is one thing a successful bartender needs, it's a good memory. They strengthen short-term memory by recalling drink orders, remembering the ingredients to specific drinks or cocktails, or the names of trending craft beers. Bartender's sharpen long-term memory when they remember regulars and greet them by name. A good memory builds rapport with customers as bartenders converse with regulars about personal topics and inquire about them at a later time.

2. Mixology and preparation

A knowledge of trending drinks or obscure concoctions set bartenders apart. They stay current on seasonal trends or drink popularity and often create their own recipes. Bartenders who free pour, the skilled practice of adding alcohol in precise amounts, sharpen their dexterity and efficiency skills.

Bartenders might mix the same drinks over and over with equal precision to satisfy the customer's expectation that the taste of the next drink will be the same as the last.

3. Communication

Bartenders speak and interact with a number of personalities throughout their shift. Their communication skills allow them to shift tone or change topic according to who they are interacting with. As part of a team, bartenders communicate with wait or kitchen staff and might run interference to ensure the bar and/or restaurant run efficiently.

Communication skills include listening to customer's troubles with a sympathetic ear, and if a regular, following up with the customer. Their listening skills alert them to times when they may have to intervene in heated conversations or a contest of opinion.

4. Flexibility

Bartenders may work alternate shifts, nights or weekends. Their availability remains flexible and shifts may change from week to week. On the job flexibility comes into focus when bartenders fill gaps in wait staff to fill food orders or complete financial transactions. Customers may change drink orders or meal requests or ready to close out a bar tab; bartenders have the flexibility to fill in where needed.

5. Organization

Bartenders need organizational skills to stay alert to product demands and ensure the bar has ingredients for trending cocktails or the latest craft beer, including garnishes and ice. Seasonal trends affect drink demands and bartenders know what's popular or likely to be in demand.

It takes organization to remember which customer wants which drink and fill them in the correct order. When handling cash, working with team members, and keeping track of day-to-day demand, organizational skills keep everything in balance.

6. Teamwork

Bartenders work with wait and kitchen staff as well as management and other bartenders. They value the team effort of serving customers and do their part to fill orders or help other staff if they fall behind. Bartenders stay alert to changing circumstances and provide assistance if needed.

7. Friendliness

Bartenders present an inviting, friendly atmosphere to bar patrons so they feel welcome and relaxed. Remaining friendly can present obstacles when a bartender feels stress or frustration when dealing with a dissatisfied customer. Bartenders may offer conversation if the bar is quiet as well as meet customer requests when the bar is busy. They interact with many different people, cultures and customs and a friendly approach makes customers feel comfortable and builds trust.

8. Composure

In addition to friendliness, bartenders learn to remain composed and calm despite job stresses. Bartenders develop composure as they become adept at reading situations and acting accordingly to diffuse a situation, help a coworker or manage a crisis. Bartenders who take frequent breaks and practice self-care increase their ability to remain composed in harried circumstances.

9. Efficiency

Bartenders do a lot more than pour drinks, they take orders, wait tables, deliver orders, perform cash transactions, monitor inventory and restock the bar. Varied job responsibilities call for learning to handle job duties in an efficient manner to complete tasks in a timely manner without sacrificing customer service.

10. Consistency

Bar customers order cocktails with the expectation the drink will taste exactly the same as the previous drink, no matter where they ordered it. Bartenders must be consistent in their mixology so customers get exactly what they expect. The ability to consistently use the same ingredients amounts is good for business and ensures profits because bartenders aren't over or under pouring.

Consistent behavior lends familiarity to the bar and customers might expect their bartender to display the same temperament and attitude each time they visit.

11. People skills

Bartenders gain skills to read people and vary their bartending style to meet the moment. Bartenders may interact differently with a group of football fans than they do with a bachelorette party. They learn to adapt to conditions and people to present a friendly face and meet expectations by accurately filling drink orders.

12. Cash management

Bartenders handle financial transactions throughout their shift and are able to accurately and swiftly process cash, credit card or traveler's cheque transactions. They may process an order for a large group celebrating an event or help out-of-town travelers figure out which coins are worth what. Bartenders may close out tabs, requiring accurate record-keeping to know what the customer owes and provide a receipt. Bartenders handle cash transactions by announcing the amount of cash a customer presented (“Out of ten dollars”) and accurately counting back their change.

13. Stamina

Stamina is the staying power to continue performing a job efficiently and accurately despite changing conditions. Depending on the time of day, holiday, or shift, bartenders can be very busy stocking the bar, filling drink orders, monitoring inventory and handling transactions. Stamina plays a valuable role for bartenders as they multitask throughout their shift.

Related: Bartending Interview Questions and How to Answer

Tips to highlight your soft skills in an interview

Bartenders train to not only hone their skills in mixology, they also acquire vital, transferable soft skills. Here are six tips to highlight soft skills in your next interview:

Display great attention to detail

Your short-term and long-term memory development as well as your efficiency fall under attention to detail. It takes attention to detail to remain organized and juggle several tasks at once while remaining accurate. Use an example of a time when you were tasked with several responsibilities requiring attention and how you handled them with accuracy.

Show you understand customer service

Bartenders are in the business of customer service and your ability to remain friendly and composed shows your consistency and devotion to the patron. You've developed the ability to build rapport with customers and you're adept at altering your own tone and approach, depending on the situation. Have examples of how you resolved issues or provided exemplary service.

Display adaptability

Highlight your adaptability by demonstrating your job flexibility and teamwork skills. You're able to fill gaps when needed, complete transactions for wait staff, deliver food orders and still accurately fill drink orders. The ability to adapt to situations is a job skill that transfers to most job roles. Talk about situations in which you had to adapt to rapidly changing conditions, such as an influx of customers on an already busy night.

Describe your management abilities

Put a spotlight on your ability to manage, whether its inventory or cash, you have developed management skills. As part of a team, you manage situations and customers such as relieving an overworked colleague or resolving a problem. Highlight your management skills by offering examples of leadership you displayed and provide detail.

Show your creativity

Bartenders use creativity to handle situations or find solutions. You may know when to substitute an ingredient without altering a drink's taste, or you've come up with your own recipes and tried them out on your customers. Your creative skills are put to the test when you act as an intermediary to resolve a conflict. Share a recipe or a story of when you were challenged creatively.

Explain how you're a problem solver

Evidence of your problem solving skills is in your ability to interact with many personalities and tasks while performing your job. Maintaining composure and a friendly attitude demonstrate how you detach from a problem to see it clearly and find a solution. Give details of a situation when you found a resolution, such as locating an appropriate ingredient substitute.

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