How To Become A Bartender With No Experience: A Complete Guide

How-To Guides

Bartender pouring a liquor bottle into a jigger

Many people go to bars to socialize because even the quietest can suddenly become chatty after a few drinks. More individuals are choosing this career line for the long run, which is an exciting move since a decade ago, it was more of a “till something else comes up” gig.

The many online searches on how to become a bartender with no experience show more people are looking to train themselves in what could be a super fun job. The art of mixing requires patience, experience, and taking calculated risks, and even you can get it with time. 

Here are tips on becoming a bartender without formal experience or education in mixology. 

Take up a Free Course

Professional bartender making cocktails

First, you want to arm yourself with some knowledge, and luckily the internet is full of free courses on almost every topic imaginable. 

Watch YouTube videos on what drinks to mix, the history of some of the best whiskies, and such information. Before you even create a CV and pitch it to a peer to make a Resume Edge review, you want to make yourself stand out from the crowd with the knowledge you have already earned. 

It becomes easier for a club manager to entrust their business to a bartender who can tell their VSOP apart from the XO placed on the special shelf. 

Get Licensed

You want to prove you are ready for the job by getting the tools of the trade. Even though not every state requires a bartending license, you will look better than your competition if you already have one. 

You will take tests to get the license, which will take you through the laws of serving drinks in that state, and that is information any employer would find safe to have. It also looks good on your resume – see this useful source – when you include industry compliance. 

It doesn’t take long to get one. If you join a school and want to soak it all in, you must commit to 40 hours of study. If your state doesn’t require it but knows you are better off with one, you can get it online in only two hours. 

Work as a Barback

Woman working as a barback

Think of backup singers. While they are not the stars of the show, they sure make all the difference with their harmonizing. This is what you do as a barback, as you will be making the bartender’s load much lighter with your heavy lifting. 

You will be responsible for cleaning, passing the drinks to the bartender, and other jobs behind the scenes. You will learn how to work the counter through observation and be ready to run it on your own soon enough. 

Barbacking also looks great on your resume - read this to see how – and you will improve your chances of getting hired. You will familiarize yourself with the terms at the counter, dealing with customer requests, and the pace at which things move during happy hour.

Get a Mentor

Professional bartender using a liquor pourer

Working as a barback is an excellent way to be mentored, but you can still reach out to others to share their ideas. You want to remember the most important traits when working with a mentor: 

  • Be respectful.
  • Be committed to learning.
  • Show initiative by learning about the products.
  • Be proactive so they are not constantly telling you what to do.

The more you watch and learn as your mentor works, the more you anticipate their needs, and the sooner you can move up the career ladder.

Start Small

Bartender pouring a bottle of whiskey

The regular bar could overwhelm you, so you may want to start at restaurants as you work your way into crowded areas with many drinks to serve. You could also start at a bar during the day when it’s quieter and fewer orders are placed. 

Less busy establishments are a better bet. It takes confidence in your skills to serve up many requests and even keener attention to detail to get all the orders correctly. However, you do not want to stay at less busy restaurants too long as the drink orders are not usually challenging enough for growth.

Eventually, put on your big boots and work in an overwhelming situation for practice. It is the only way to grow!

Use All Available Tools to Promote Your Skills

LinkedIn and sending resumes are good, but have you seen the true power of social capital? These days, the best portfolio you can build for your business or skill is on social sites, so get busy. 

You want to create creative drinks that show off your talents, so those holding private parties can hire you. You also want to network to let your circles know you are available for bookings and jobs.

Conclusion  

Becoming a bartender can be an extremely rewarding career. You meet new friends, learn about different drinks, and help people celebrate special occasions. While it is not necessary to have experience in bartending to land your first job, it will give you a leg up on the competition. 

If you’re interested in becoming a bartender, start by doing your research and getting familiar with the basics of bartending. Use social media to your advantage and submit a resume and cover letter highlighting your skills and experience. Finally, don’t be afraid to network with other mixologists and bar managers in your area.

Remember to start small and take your time – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your new career. Do you have any questions about becoming a bartender? Leave them in the comments below.

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