Thoughts from industry experts on standing out from the crowd
ou already wow your guests with your hospitality, knowledge, and skills. But what’s the best way to translate those abilities to paper when applying for your next job? From doing your homework to showing some personality, industry experts share their tips for standing out from the crowd.
“If possible, go eat and drink there and interact with the staff and get a feel for the vibe of the place”
Do your homework
Tracey Ramsey, manager at Lost Lake in Chicago, suggests researching the bars you’re interested in working in.
“If possible, go eat and drink there and interact with the staff and get a feel for the vibe of the place, and then incorporate that into your resume or application,” she says.
Even if it’s not the bar you’re applying to, Atlanta Minero’s general manager Patrick Schultz says job seekers who can note places where they’re regulars or admire from a service standpoint and articulate why stand out to him. “Good bartenders are very detail-oriented people, and when applicants notice these things in other establishments, it lets me know they will bring that trait to the job,” he explains.
“Don’t be afraid to highlight relevant outside involvement in the business”
Keep it brief, but hit the highlights
“No employer has time to read two or more pages of a resume, so keep it brief,” says Alexa Delgado, lead bartender at Lightkeepers at the Ritz–Carlton Key Biscayne.
But don’t be afraid to highlight relevant outside involvement in the business, like participating in competitions or going to seminars or other professional trainings. “That shows me you care about honing your craft,” she explains.
Also mention basic proficiency in applications like Word, Excel, Outlook, and other software, skills Atlanta-based Diageo account consultant Kaleb Cribb says he looks for and that can “translate to possible management positions.”
Be precise and use action statements related to job roles
Cribb also recommends being precise and using action statements related to job roles.
For example, instead of “did inventory,” he prefers a phrase like “implemented a weekly inventory system to help the bar identify potential losses in revenue,” which is not only more concrete, but demonstrates the direct impact you had on a business’s bottom line.
Delgado agrees that numbers can make your application stand out. “For example, if you worked on a menu that boosted sales by X%, put that in there. Don’t be shy about your accomplishments,” she continues.
Show some personality
According to Brandon O’Daniel, head distiller at Copper & Kings in Louisville, it’s important to highlight what makes you unique as an applicant.
Cribb agrees and looks for candidates who have distinct interests outside of work. “This could be anything—a family, a hobby, or a personal accomplishment, like a barback who worked for me who took a sabbatical to hike the Appalachian Trail, which shows commitment and dedication to a task and translates to the workplace,” he says.
“You would be surprised at the number of grammatical errors and typos”
Once you’ve pulled together your application, enlist in a trusted friend to proofread it, recommends O’Daniel. “You would be surprised at the number of grammatical errors and typos I find on resumes, and this is an easily-avoided mistake,” he says. “You want to make it easy for people to hire you.”