What to do after bartending school

Congratulations! Anyone can mix a cocktail by following recipes, but we want you to be more than that. We make it a tough class so you know the essentials for when you get behind the bar. With some extra effort, you understand the cocktails and more about each spirit… which is really what makes a fantastic bartender. If you’re still wondering what to do after bartending school, we have some tips for you.

The Necessary Next Steps to Job Hunting

As a next step in your research, we like to encourage students to park themselves at the bar in any pub and learn more of what goes on by sipping a cocktail and observing. Order a coffee and observe what happens behind the bar. Make note of what brands of spirits are used in the well, plus what do they have for premium options. You can also see what the bartenders there do well, and what mistakes they make. There are a lot of bad bartenders out there. Lots of good ones too, just with bad habits. Now you should recognize what some of those habits are.

  1. Study the cocktail menu, and make sure you know those drinks
  2. Observe how the staff interact with each other
  3. Note their work ‘uniform’
  4. Ask when a hiring manager is in

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MEET A MANAGER WHEN THE PLACE IS BUSY! We can’t stress this enough. You could be the ideal candidate for the job, but if you have no sense of when a good time to chat about employment options is… your resume will end up in the garbage. Proper scouting of a place will help with that.


Get your Responsible Serving Certificate after Bartending School

You need your responsible serving certificate, and in BC we use Serving It Right. The program is administered by the government and anyone that sells alcohol, in any capacity, needs to have this certification. This is an online program that should take 2-3 hours and does have a multiple choice test at the end of it. It’s $35 and you have a couple attempts at successfully completing the test. Many people in the hospitality industry already have Serving It Right and now need to renew their certification every 5 years. If you don’t have your Serving It Right before you start your classes, wait until afterwards so you can focus on what we’re teaching you first.


Employers like eager and trainable people

We constantly say that there are many jobs out there for bartenders. Managers are busy, especially if short-staffed. They don’t have time to post each job online. Be sure to have that one page resume printed and ready to hand out. Restaurants really need help

  • dress as if you are ready to work that day
  • introduce yourself and shake hands
  • hand over a resume
  • indicate availability
  • repeat the following week

Catering Contacts

Catering and Event Bartending companies are regularly needing staff, especially for seasonal and summer events. These companies prefer fresh grads, which makes working events a great thing to do after bartending school. Events might be irregular in schedule, but are great opportunities to network with other staff working throughout the city. Those staff will be in the know of any openings at their regular jobs… and networking is key in this industry. By coming through Fine Art… you already now have a few contacts with your fellow students, the instructor… and now some catering contacts like those below.

You can also fine the above contacts on Instagram. Follow and message them directly. We have had many recent Fine Art grads get started with these local event bartending companies. It’s a great way to get a little experience while making money and building contacts. If bartending is just a part time thing for you, Event Bartending is the way to go. Send them all an email today!

Your Resume After Bartending School

We have a pile of resume writing tips to have your resume stand out. Each hiring manager will be looking for something different though. Chemistry is key for that first interaction. If you don’t get to meet that manager in person, then your resume needs to speak for you.

Make your work history relatable. Every job, club or organization you have been a part of has something relatable to what happens behind the bar. Tease out any customer service aspects. Stress your reliability to always show up on time. Organization and cleanliness are key.


Highlight relatable training too. Serving it Right is essential. WSET Certification? Do you have First Aid? Security training? Food safety? Barista training? Cooking classes? These other bits of training are not essential, but do indicate your desire to learn. Sometimes a manager might want FoodSafe for all staff. If you have it, then it’s one more thing in your favour.

Persistence will win you that job

Don’t get discouraged. There is a place for everyone out there that wants work behind the bar. Yes, we do get occasional calls and emails from managers that are looking for people. When we can send great graduates their way… they come back to us again and again.

Mason Wedgewood Bacchus

Mason and Tom are now the key bartenders at the Wedgewood Hotel and right after bartending school they both got hired! Neither of them had experience before they started the classes and now they make great cash. Harry just landed a job as a bartender at Burgoo! Be sure to send us a picture of you behind the bar too, so we can showcase you as a recent success story!

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