Becoming a Bartender: Timing is Everything

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Becoming a Bartender – Timing Can Be Everything

By B.J. Williams

Do you want to know the type of establishment that often hires first time bartenders, trains you in fantastic customer relation skills, and once on your resume will help you get a job just about any place in town? Learn how to become a bartender and get bartending jobs in the fastest way possible and with absolutely no bartending experience.

The Place

The answer to the above question is Country Clubs. The 1990’s and the early years of this decade saw an explosive growth in the private club industry – especially Golf and Country Clubs. There are good ones in almost every moderately sized American city. This means there are probably some near you. Country Clubs care more about an employee’s attitude and personality then they do about bartending experience. So if you want to know how to become a bartender without any experience at all, you’re answer is Country Clubs.. You can learn how to become a bartender on the job and get paid while you learn.

Country Clubs, depending on the location (but also in general), have two busy seasons. The long busyseason is the summer and if you time your application to come in around mid April to mid May, you are almost guaranteed a job – especially when you use the tactics discussed in this article.

The other busy season is Thanksgiving to New Years because Country Clubs do lots of banquets. Hint : If you apply about 1 week before Mother’s Day (the busiest brunch of the year) or in late August/early September; you will have an additional advantage. Country Clubs often rely on the labor of college students. This makes the beginning and end of the summer busy season difficult because most college students are still in school.

These are not the only times to apply, just the ones that will give you the greatest leverage and increase your chances of getting your first bartending job and learning how to become a bartender.

The Steps

Step 1: Get the names and e-mail addresses of the Food and Beverage Director at 5 Country Clubs in your area. If you can’t find the e-mail address on their website (some country clubs have terrible sites) just call and ask for it. Explain that you want to send in a resume and most places will give it out easily. Just make sure you get it for the Food and Beverage Director (Manager).

Step 2: Write a cover letter with a customer service story. Conflict resolution and sales stories work great in bartending cover letters but at Country Clubs, Service is King. Stress that you understand what it is like to have repeat business, give impeccable customer service, and go above and beyond customer expectations. E-mail your cover letter and resume (as attachments) to the F&B Director. In the e-mail body explain that you are excited to work there and hope he/she will look over your resume. Include your phone contact information.

Step 3: If you have heard back, awesome. If not, call the F&B Director the next day. DO NOT call during a busy time. Try to call between 2:00 and 4:00. This is a slow time. When you do get in touch with the F&B explain that you sent a resume and are following up hoping for an interview. Be Persistent. Things get hectic at a Country Club, especially when there isn’t a full staff yet. Call once a day for a couple of days if you have to. Re-send the e-mail if necessary. If you want to learn how to become a bartender you will have to be a little persistent.

Step 4: Ace the interview. Remember that Country Clubs put a lot of stock in personality and attitude. Present your self as mature, reliable, likeable, friendly, out-going, and customer service oriented. Bring your A game and you will get your first bartending job.

The Pros and Cons

Country Clubs have both pros and cons. I’d like to tell you a little about both so you know what you are getting into.

Pros

Great place for your first bartending job

Will learn both regular and banquet bartending skills

Training can be phenomenal (especially on customer service)- Learn how to become a bartender on the job and get paid while doing it.

You interact and meet the most influential people in your community (great if you’re in school and not looking for a bartending career b/c members own businesses and often offer jobs to those they know who graduate from school. Even if they don’t have something for you they know people who do!)

Can be lots of fun

Some places allow uses of their facilities (DO NOT ask about this in the interview)

Good Money

Cons

Tips are often pooled – This means that all the checks have a gratuity on them and this service charge gets pooled amongst all the staff. This means it isn’t a traditional bartending job where you can expect to take home $100+ cash a shift. Chances are you will earn some cash, but most of your earnings will be in your paycheck. The bright side is that this is why you will be able to get the job with no experience. Experienced bartenders want cash immediately. If you are willing to make $13-$18 an hour, while you learn how to become a bartender, with some supplemental cash – country clubs are perfect.

May include early morning shifts. This is unusual for bartending jobs but a fact of life at Country Clubs. Morning shifts pop up from time to time. If you are an aspiring bartender looking to get started those are really the only cons I can think of.

Conclusion

Country Clubs are a great place to start your bartending career. They have bartending jobs available to those with great attitudes but no experience. Another pro of starting at a country club is that most businesses in town will look favorably upon your experience there. Work for a summer at a club with a good reputation and all the good restaurants in town will be sure to hire you. Then you can work 3-4 nights a week and make a healthy cash living. You got paid to learn how to become a bartender at the Country Club and can now leverage that experience into a phenomenal “cash” bartending job. Happy hunting.

Brian Williams has over 12 years in the Bar, Bartending and Food and Beverage industries. He has helped dozens of people get a bartending job through his Seven Secrets Program. His program and free “Get a Bartending Job” Newsletter are available at How to Get a Bartending Job

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