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Top Tips to Boost Your Career in the Bar Industry

Paul Martin, award-winning mixologist and prolific trainer of bartenders and hospitality professionals, reveals his top tips to kick your career up a notch, no matter what level you are in the industry.

The evolution of bartending

Throughout my time in the cocktail industry, I have been delighted to witness a remarkable evolution in the role as a whole. When I first began back in the mid-1980s, the suggestion that bartending was a "career" was a stretch for most people. However, the change in perception and opportunity that has occurred over the last three decades puts the current crop of professional bartenders on par with another creative hospitality professional—the chef!

So, with opportunities for career development greater than they have ever been, along comes a much greater expectation from potential employers in regard to the skills and aptitude of those they are employing. In short, to succeed in profession you must in turn become a highly skilled professional. With that in mind, here are some of my suggestions for maximizing your career and making yourself irresistible in the eyes of potential employers.

Experience level 0-24 months

When starting out, keep an open mind about your potential career path. There is so much more to a great bartending career than simply mixing and serving drinks, and one of the biggest barriers to career progression can be an inability to see past this single facet of the job. After all, this is why the 1980s attitude existed in the first place!

Experience level 2-4 years

For those bartenders and servers who have a little more experience under their belts, it can be easy to become a bit "settled." This is potentially a time when the ambitious career bartenders and waiters of the past can lose their drive and just settle down with a job they enjoy and at a skill level that is "good enough." However, if you are truly driven to achieve your potential, this is the time that you need to be forging ahead. Here are a couple of things to consider:

Experience level 5 years+

As an established hospitality professional, one of your biggest opportunities for growth is to start building your public profile and media presence.

Remember, if you have the drive to succeed and the passion to enjoy the ride, then the only thing that can prevent you from achieving your potential is yourself. Best of luck!

Top Tips

Paul’s latest book, 101 Award-Winning Cocktails from The World’s Best Bartenders, is out this October and is available for pre-sale on Amazon here.