How to Write a Bartender Cover Letter

How to Write a Bartender Cover Letter

How to Write a Bartender Cover Letter

What Is a Bartender Cover Letter?

It may surprise you to learn that you need to write a cover letter to work as a bartender. After all, surely the job is more about your ability to mix drinks than your ability to sell yourself to hiring managers. But bartender jobs are increasingly competitive. Applicants know that bartenders can make great tips, so competition is fierce.

Crafting an excellent bartender cover letter should be given as much care and attention as crafting a cocktail. Well written cover letters could be the difference between a job in a local dive bar or a position in a high-end restaurant or hotel.

Great bartenders require excellent social skills. Their ability to talk to people and build relationships is as important as their mixology skills. Your cover letter is an opportunity for you to show a potential manager that you are the right person to represent their bar.

When you apply for the job, you’ll likely have completed an application form or submitted a resume. Whilst these are helpful documents for potential employers, they can make it difficult for candidates to stand out from the crowd.

Employers want to know more about you than just a list of previous employers or academic achievements. They want to know how you speak to people and how you can increase bar sales, whether it’s through your conversational skills or your ability to create and pour delicious drinks.

They want to find out what excites you and why you want to work for them specifically.

What Should a Great Bartender Cover Letter Include?

This depends hugely on the role that you are applying for. It may also change depending on whether you are responding to an advertised job role (which has a distinct job description), or whether you are writing to a bar or restaurant speculatively.

Bartender Cover Letters for Entry-Level Jobs

If it’s your first-ever bartending job, then it stands to reason you haven’t got any experience to rely on. Instead, you’ll focus more on your social skills and explain how you have the right personality and temperament for the job role.

You may want to highlight your ability to work under pressure, share how you can multitask (you’ll be expected to serve multiple customers at the same time).

You may also want to highlight any math skills that you have – after all, you’ll be expected to take payment and provide the correct change to customers.

You also want to make it clear that you’re open to different shift patterns and that you are well-acquainted with different drink mixers.

Bartender Cover Letters for Bar Managers

If you have experience as a bartender, here is your opportunity to shine. As an applicant for a bar manager job role, you should use your cover letter to talk about your experience.

Try to focus on moments where you’ve successfully worked big events, or provide details of new cocktails that you have created. If you have any experience in managing or leading teams or mentoring new staff, make sure you highlight this.

You should also reference experience in any particular point-of-sale systems, or state whether you’ve attended any workshops/conferences/training courses to enhance your skills.

Don’t be afraid to use bullet points or bold font to draw the recruiter’s attention to key points of interest.

Where possible, try to provide details of key achievements and use quantifiable statistics to justify any success.

If you added a new drink to the menu, can you state by how much that drink increased revenue?

You need to be able to impress the recruiter and make them understand how you can bring financial value to their team.

Bartender Cover Letters for Advertised Job Roles

If you are applying for an advertised job role, make it clear within the letter which position you are applying for. Often, companies will recruit for multiple positions – if you’re looking for a bar manager role, the last thing you want is to be considered for an entry-level position and vice versa.

Having an advertised job role means that there will be a distinct job description. Make sure you pay close attention to what they are looking for. It will give you all the information you need, so try to reference any specific skills they mention.

You should also do your research into the company. Make sure you know who their customers are and explain how you would build relationships with them. If it’s a similar bar to where you currently work or previously worked, you could reference a few ideas as to how you can entice customers to follow you to the new location.

Bartender Cover Letters for Speculative Positions

If there is no known job opening and your bartender cover letter is being sent speculatively, you need to give the manager a reason to create a job just for you.

You should highlight any experience or training that you’ve undertaken and explain how your personality suits their business.

If you’ve any key certifications or achievements, put them at the very top of the letter. You need to catch their attention and keep them reading for as long as possible.

Writing Your Bartender Cover Letter – a Helpful Guide

Writing a bartender cover letter should sell your story.

Great cover letters have a distinct introduction (who you are), a strong middle (what experience you have) and a compelling conclusion (what you can do for the company).

We’ve created a helpful guide that takes you step-by-step through the bartender cover letter process.

First Section – The Introduction

Read the job advert so you know who you are writing to. Where possible, avoid writing 'To whom it may concern' – it shows a lack of effort and the recruiter is unlikely to want to continue reading.

If it’s a speculative letter, use a ‘top-down’ approach. This is where you put all the pertinent information at the top, such as your qualifications or certifications, in a bid to encourage them to continue reading.

If it’s a response to a job advert, then state where you saw the advert. It will help the recruiter understand which aspects of their recruitment campaign are working. Refer to the specific job role and use your introduction to sell yourself and your personality.

For example:

Dear Mrs Bloggs

I recently saw your job advert for a bar manager on LinkedIn and I am excited to submit my application for the position.

How to Write a Bartender Cover Letter
How to Write a Bartender Cover Letter

Second Section – The Strong Sell

You need to explain more about why they should hire you. You should be clear about the necessary skills required by bartenders and understand how yours match up with the job description.

Try to mimic any terminology that they use and reference specific job duties mentioned by them, then highlight how you have the skills that match those tasks.

For example:

I have two years’ experience working as a bar manager in a local restaurant and a further eight years’ experience bartending throughout bars, restaurants and country clubs. I excel in mixology and have extensive experience in creating every kind of cocktail. I bring a wealth of experience with me and I believe I have the right skills which match your needs.

Third Section – Your Experience and Achievements

Here you go into more detail about your specific experience and key achievements. Use quantifiable statistics or data to show how hiring you will bring a tangible financial difference to the prospective employer.

If you are writing a bartender cover letter with no experience, this is the area where you need to focus on your personality. Show them how you would build relationships with their clientele.

You want the recruiter to garner a positive impression of you and come away thinking that they already like you and want to hire you.

For example:

In my experience as a bar manager, I took full responsibility for leading a team of three part-time bartenders and worked closely with the restaurant management team to develop our drinks menu and check that it worked cohesively with the food menu.

My role was hugely varied. From a leadership perspective, I organized staff rotas, arranged staff training and handled stock levels. I was also responsible for increasing bar revenue and over the past three months, takings increased by almost a third. I worked closely with my team to refine our drinks selection to focus on offering high-quality signature cocktails. I worked closely with an experienced mixologist to train my team and, as a result, we were able to significantly increase restaurant bookings. Customer reviews and feedback regularly praise our cocktail menu and our restaurant is currently fully booked five nights a week and projected turnover for the year is up by 17%.

Fourth Section – The Closing Argument

At this stage of your bartender cover letter, you want to help them understand exactly what you can do for them as an employee. You need to show your added value.

You also need to explain why you want to work specifically for them. This is especially important if you are writing a speculative bartender cover letter.

If you are a regular patron, don’t be afraid to say so. Tell the recruiter what you like about their bar and why. Try to give them a reason to want to hire you.

You could suggest recommendations for ways to build relationships with regular customers or how to entice new customers.

The closing argument is about flattery and attention to detail. It’s about showing the recruiter that you have the skills that they need and giving them a compelling reason to invite you for an interview.

For example:

I am extremely keen to join your team as I have long been a regular customer. I love the overall look and feel of your bar; it’s warm and personable and in a great location.

I believe that I can use my insights as a paying customer to make a tangible difference to your business. I’ve noticed that it can take a long time for drinks to be served when the bar is busy. As an experienced bar manager, I would address this issue by reviewing the staff rotas and/or possibly refining the drinks menu. I believe that by understanding any pressure points, it’s possible to put plans in place which will speed up service. This can then help to increase the number of drinks sold throughout the evening, which will improve overall revenue.

Over the last two years, I’ve built positive lasting relationships with my clientele and I know what attracts them. Therefore, I would propose implementing a series of outreach events that can be designed to raise the profile of the restaurant, helping to reach new customers. This is something that I think could work extremely well and I’d love the opportunity to talk to you more about my ideas.

Fifth Section – Call to Action and Sign-Off

Your final paragraph should be short and include a call to action; for example, inviting them to contact you.

Ensure that you end the letter with a professional sign-off, such as ‘Yours sincerely’.

For example:

Please feel free to contact me on [phone] or [email]. I believe that we would have a good synergy together and I’d love the opportunity to join your prestigious team.

Yours sincerely,

Jane Name

Top Tips for Improving Your Bartender Cover Letter

To make your bartender cover letter stand out, remember these tips:

  • Choose a professional font – We recommend Ariel or Times New Roman. Try to stick to an 11 or 12 point font size. This looks professional.

  • Grammar is important – If you’re not the best at spelling, use a spell check or grammar tool to ensure that there are no accidental typos or mistakes. You want your cover letter to make a good first impression.

  • Make sure your letter is unique to the employer – This is particularly true if you are writing a speculative bartender cover letter. You need to make the reader feel that it is unique to them. Don’t send the same letter to multiple places; employers will spot this a mile off.

  • Use a ‘positive sandwich’ – This is an effective tool where you frame criticism within two positive statements. In our example bartender cover letter, section four uses this effectively. It starts with a positive ('love the look and feel of the bar'), then moves into a mild constructive criticism ('it can take a long time for drinks to be served'). As well as explaining a way to overcome this, the candidate reverts to a positive ('prestigious team') to leave a lasting positive impression.

Example Bartender Cover Letter

Let’s see how the whole letter reads when collated:

Dear Mrs Bloggs

I recently saw your job advert for a bar manager on LinkedIn and I am excited to submit my application for the position. I have two years’ experience working as a bar manager in a local restaurant and a further eight years’ experience bartending throughout bars, restaurants and country clubs. I excel in mixology and have extensive experience in creating every kind of cocktail. I bring a wealth of experience with me and I believe I have the right skills which match your needs.

In my experience as a bar manager, I took full responsibility for leading a team of three part-time bartenders and working closely with the restaurant management team to develop our drinks menu and check that our menu worked cohesively with the food menu.

My role was hugely varied. From a leadership perspective, I organized staff rotas, arranged staff training and handled stock levels. I was also responsible for increasing bar revenue and over the past three months, takings increased by almost a third. I worked closely with my team to refine our drinks selection so that we could focus on offering high-quality signature cocktails. I worked closely with an experienced mixologist to train my team and, as a result, we were able to significantly increase restaurant bookings. Customer reviews and feedback regularly praise our cocktail menu and our restaurant is currently fully booked five nights a week and projected turnover for the year is up by 17%.

I am extremely keen to join your team as I have long been a regular customer. I love the overall look and feel of your bar; it’s warm and personable and it is in a great location.

I believe that I can use my insights as a paying customer to make a tangible difference to your business. I’ve noticed that it can take a long time for drinks to be served when the bar is busy. As an experienced bar manager, I would address this issue by reviewing the staff rotas and/or possibly refining the drinks menu. I believe that by understanding any pressure points it’s possible to put plans in place which will speed up service. This can then help to increase the number of drinks sold throughout the evening, which will improve overall revenue.

Over the last two years, I’ve built positive lasting relationships with my clientele and I know what attracts them. Therefore, I would propose implementing a series of outreach events that can be designed to raise the profile of the restaurant, helping to reach new customers. This is something that I think could work extremely well and I’d love the opportunity to talk to you more about my ideas.

Please feel free to contact me on [phone] or [email]. I believe that we would have a good synergy together and I’d love the opportunity to join your prestigious team.

Yours sincerely,

Jane Name

Final Thoughts

Applications for bartender positions benefit from an effective cover letter just as much as any other job role.

Depending on how much experience you already have in this field, you will either concentrate more on your characteristics and soft skills, or on your key achievements, backed up by quantifiable data if possible.


Read This Next

You might also be interested in these other WikiJob articles:

Or explore the Application Advice / Job Applications sections.