So you want to be a bartender and earn some money pouring and shaking drinks like Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail? Finding a bartending job can be easier if you know where to look and how to impress employers.
We asked employers in the hospitality industry how they recruit bartenders and what they look for – here’s what they told us:
What you need to be a bartender:
To get a bartending gig, you:
- must have a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate
- may need a Responsible Service of Gaming (RSG) certificate
- may need to be over 18, depending on which state you are in.
- Check the age requirements to work on licensed premises in your state.
- If you are school-aged, check the maximum hours you can work and what the time restrictions are in your state.
- Contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 or visit their website at https://www.fairwork.gov.au/find-help-for/young-workers-and-students/what-age-can-i-start-work
What do employers look for in bartenders?
Bartenders often work in busy environments. Employers told us they look for workers who:
- can manage stressful environments and situations
- are confident, outgoing and have a sense of humour
- are observant and are good at listening.
Being flexible with your availability is also really important in this role as most employers will expect you to work weekends, public holidays and/or nights.
How do employers recruit bartenders?
- Social media & online jobs boards
- This is the most common way employers advertise bartending jobs, so make sure you connect with businesses online.
- Word of mouth
- Many employers ask their existing workers to spread the word that they are looking for staff. So always let your friends and family know when you are looking for a job.
- Many employers looking to hire bartenders encourage applicants to come in and drop off their résumé and/or cover letter in person. This shows initiative and that you really want the job.
Before applying – Advice from employers:
Get your RSA. You won’t be able to work without it.
Be prepared to start in another position such as a ‘glassie’ (they support bartenders to do their jobs) and work your way up.
Be willing to learn. Do some cocktail courses and research employers you want to work for, to understand the range of workplaces they require bartenders. For example, restaurants with a bar, a club or pub, or in a resort.
A work trial is often part of the recruitment process. Be prepared to do a shift of a least one hour, running through common tasks of the role, including:
- interacting with customers
- pouring drinks
- clearing tables
- processing purchases.
Check out our cheat sheet on Bar Attendants for more information.
Practise your interview skills
For tips on how to answer interview questions for a bartender job - check out this video.