Skills and competencies

Ten skills you’ll learn from working a server or bartending job part-time

6 Sept 2023, 13:51

Waiter taking orders

You may think that your bar or server job won’t teach you much other than how to pull a pint or balance a full tray, but you can gain so much more from it. Jobs in the service industry can help you develop many transferrable soft skills that are desirable to graduate recruiters and internship providers.

Here are ten skills you can gain from a bar or service job and how they can help you display your transferable skills for a graduate position.

1. Teamwork

Teamwork is the ability to work well with others and ensure that they want to work with you. It requires you to be adaptable in order to deal with the team’s workload. This skill is important to employers if your job or placement requires you to work with other people to get the best results for the organisation

You can demonstrate this skill in an interview by referring to how you collaborated with your team to provide an excellent service to clients and what the results were.

2. Customer awareness

Customer awareness is the ability to understand the customer’s particular needs. In many parts of the commercial world such as retail or management consultancy, customer awareness is vital for success as businesses rely on knowing what customers are looking for.

You can demonstrate customer awareness in an interview by talking about how you made suggestions to mangers on stocking up on specific items that customers told you they’d like.

3. Numeracy

Numeracy is the ability to process and understand numerical data. Recruiters in STEM areas as well as those in finance and retail value this skill.

If you worked at the till while manning the bar or accepted payment for customer bills and gave out change, you can use this as an example of your numeracy skills and how you used them in a working environment.

4. Integrity

Integrity is the ability to do the right thing even in conflicting or difficult situations. This trait is a valued and admirable quality in any job that you do.

An example of integrity from working in a bar or restaurant setting is having reported a discrepancy between what was in the till and what was indicated in the log of the day’s takings to the person in charge.

5. Communication

Good communication skills are essential regardless of which sector you wish to work in. You need to be able to give clear directions and listen to your co-workers and customers to ensure that what is needed in the workplace is done properly. Effective communication is also required when you need to negotiate such as when dealing with conflicting ideas on how to handle a task.

You can demonstrate how you practised your communication skills by talking about how you handled misunderstandings with customers and how you avoided mistakes by asking for clarification when it was necessary.

6. Time management

Good time management is very important in a wide range of jobs. Being able to prioritise tasks and plan your workload sensibly in order to meet deadlines is a requirement for many employers.

You can demonstrate this by talking about how you fitted your bar or restaurant job into your busy college schedule and were able to meet all your commitments and deadlines.

7. Working under pressure

Graduate employers want to know that you’ll be able to make sensible decisions under pressure. This is especially true in careers such as medicine, healthcare or defence where decisions made in an emergency setting can save someone’s life.

An example of this you could present in an interview would be working at a busy bar during an event such as a rugby match and dealing with drunken, rowdy and difficult customers to keep the event running.

8. Resilience

Resilience is the ability to bounce back after a setback and is an increasingly popular trait among employers. This trait is important in the workplace as it means you’ll be able to take constructive criticism and won’t be put off by challenging work or a bad experience. This trait will also help you deal with the rigorous selection processes that are common for graduate schemes and internships without giving up. Being resilient shows a determination to succeed which is appealing to employers.

Working in a bar or restaurant often requires resilience, especially when dealing with rude or drunken customers. If you’re able to put up with unpleasant behaviour from customers without if affecting your work, you are a resilient person.

9. Persuasion

Being able to persuade is particularly important in sales and marketing careers where you need to convince clients to take action. However, being able to persuade others to follow your ideas is useful in many careers.

An example of using persuasion in a bar or restaurant setting would be convincing customers to order a product that the business wanted to promote.

10. Initiative

Employers want you to take initiative when it comes to work. This means being motivated enough to take responsibility for their own work and use their common sense to carry out tasks and ask for directions when unsure. Businesses want employees who follow through with tasks and produce work of a high standard.

Having actively sought out bar or restaurant work to support yourself shows initiative. Many employers favour candidates who have held part time jobs during college as it demonstrates a drive to take action to change their circumstances, earn money and gain experience

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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