CVs and cover letters are your chance to make a good first impression when applying to bar jobs, and on employers in general. However, they can be hard to write. You want to convey the right message. You want to come across as being professional, but at the same time you also want to show your personality. Often you’ll find yourself just giving up and writing something generic like “I want this job, I am good” (Don’t do this).
There are three simple rules you NEED to follow to successfully find work.
- Be professional.
- Create an outstanding CV.
- Show the company you’re applying to some love.
In five easy steps we will teach you how to make a good first impression when applying to bar jobs.
1 Make sure your CV is filled in
The first thing a recruiter will check is your CV. They need to see what you have done, and what experience you’ve got in the bag. If you are applying to bar jobs with an empty CV, or your CV has missing or very little information, it will not make a good first impression.
Before hitting ”apply” you want to make sure that your CV tells a good story of your work experience. Elaborate on your experience by adding your main tasks or responsibilities in that role. Don’t worry about not having any experience behind the bar, any job you’ve had before will mean that you’ve learned something, but we’ll get to that later.
First lets look at how to enter your information so that any person looking to hire you can easily gain an overview.
- Always enter your information in chronological order.
- If you have a lot of previous job experience, choose your most relevant roles for the jobs that you want. If you only have a few previous jobs, add them all.
- Elaborate on your key responsibilities for each job if possible.
CV headline: Barback, Bars Without Borders from January 2013 - September 2014
Elaborate: Maintaining stocks, changing kegs, collecting empty glasses, maintaining the premises clean, ensuring there is plenty of clean glassware, and re-stocking ice.
2. Make your words count
Once you’ve added your experience you should add some information about yourself. Employers will often only scan the top of your cover letter to determine whether to read on or not. This makes your first statements the most powerful. Don’t waste this space by repeating information that can be found in your CV - use it to expand upon what you achieved…
CV headline: Shop Assistant, Pull and Bear from December 2012 - September 2013.
Elaborate: Greeting customers who enter the shop, Being involved in the stock control and management, assisting shoppers to find the goods and products they are looking for, Being responsible for processing cash and card payments, stocking shelves with merchandise.
Your cover letter: While working as a shop assistant I learned to work fast and efficiently. I also improved my customer facing skills, stock control and was promoted to junior supervisor because of my developing team leader skills.
3. Do Your Research
Tailoring your cover letter to the specific venue you’re sending it to, is definitely beneficial to your job hunt - generic letters are easy to spot and can often turn a recruiter off (step away from the copy and paste buttons).
TIP: Avoid phrases such as “I’m a real people person” or “great team player”. People that read application letters will tell you that EVERYONE is a “great team player”. So instead of taking the generic road, talk about what you’ll add to the team and WHY you should be on it.
Expand on vague statements such as “I think your company would be good to work for” by giving specific reasons as to why. To understand what will add value to the specific venue research the company you’re applying for. Check their social media to see what kind of “personality” they have. If they have a laid back tone of voice in their public communications then try to match that in your cover letter. If you are applying to The Hilton you might want to more formal in your approach than if you apply to a local bar around the corner.
This is a great chance to show that you understand the culture of the venue before you’ve even been given an interview and you can use your information if you are invited to an interview.
“The chance to work in [country you want to work in], and especially with a company that has [give examples of what you find appealing] - I particularly like [what do you like the most about their menu, their interior or concept, team] and I feel confident that I [what are you bringing to the table?]”.
Venues will already know what they can do for you. They know that their incredible offer of accommodation is a big plus for you. Let them know what they will gain by hiring you.
TIP: Don’t forget the importance of titulations. “Dear” and “Hi/Hello” can make a big difference in the perception of you. If you are unsure about how formal the venue is always write “Dear”.
4. Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t
If this is the first job that you’re applying for in the bar/hospitality industry then elaborate on your “transferable” skills rather than your lack of experience - always focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.
“Working in a coffee shop for six months improved my customer facing skills, my serving skills and my order taking. As well as this, I worked for a summer in a barber shop which allowed me to greatly increase my customer interaction abilities”.
Interests and hobbies generally tend to be ignored by recruiters and could be taking up valuable space on your cover letter. Use this space to talk about relevant things to the job or to the venue. Make a good first impression by talking about something specific to the venue.
“My favourite cocktails are [name one or some of your favourite drinks] and I’m looking to forward to making them in your venue as I know you have a great reputation for serving great versions of these”.
5. Keep it short when applying for bar jobs
To make a good first impression when applying for bar jobs you don’t need more than ¾ of a word document, it’s more than enough - believe us. You’re writing a short introduction about yourself, not your biography.
TIP: Have fun with your writing. Don’t treat it as a boring chore that you need to do because you just want a job. If you treat your CV and cover letter as a boring chore it will - without you even knowing it - be crystal clear to the person reading it.
If this is your chance to get a job you’ve always wanted, or your chance to finally travel the world, then don’t mess it up by giving of a bad first impression. Follow the simple steps above and you’ll only ever increase your chances of landing that job. Remember: Make a good first impression and a recruiter is likely to keep you in mind for future jobs as well!
Updated by Sofia - February 2018