You want a bartending job. You read about an opening at your dream spot, or asked the staff if they’re hiring. Maybe you don’t even know they’re hiring. Maybe you just woke up that morning and decided to put yourself out there. Great, because most bartending jobs aren’t advertised. (Still looking for a place to apply? Here’s how to see who’s hiring.)

Armed with a kick-ass resume, (or an average resume and a kick-ass attitude) you’re ready to start that bartending career. It’s around noon on Friday, and you’re on a lunch break from your *yawn* day job.

Question: What better time is there to drop off your resume?

Answer: Pretty much any time is better than noon on a Friday

A manager will never make time for you if they’re busy with lunch, and, the best way to make a great first impression is by speaking to the person in charge of hiring. A manager will want to make sure you don’t look like Chewbacca on a bender, and that you’re capable of carrying on a great conversation; because, if hired you will become a face of their brand.

Solution: Call ahead and ask for the best time to bring in a resume to the manager.

Prepare Yourself Before Going in

  • Do your homework. Check out Facebook and Linkedin. Find out who the manager is, so you can ask for him or her by name.
  • Look the part. Dress in clothing roughly similar to what you’d expect to wear if hired.  If possible, stop by before dropping off your application to check out what the other staff are wearing.
  • Go in sober. Know what’s better than liquid courage? Actual courage. If your prospective employer smells booze on your breath chances are you won’t be hired. You might be surprised by the number of people who walk in looking for jobs even though they can’t find the nose on their face.

Imprint Yourself in the Manager’s Mind

  • Don’t give your resume to anyone else
    If, for some reason, the manager isn’t there when you arrive, leave. Return when they are. If you hand that resume to the wait-staff, those precious pieces of paper intended to get your foot in the door will likely get shoved behind a till, dropped onto a stack, or thrown right into the garbage.
  • Introduce yourself with a handshake, eye contact, and a smile
    A good manager suspects that when a prospective employee drops off a resume, he or she is showcasing their best self. You will be watched for cues indicating how you might interact with actual customers.
  • Indicate your willingness to work
    Show that you’re willing to put in the effort and learn what you don’t know fast.  Be prepared to state your availability, and give as much flexibility as possible.

You’re not done yet: Follow up

If you’re not called for an interview in two or three days, call back, ask for the manager by name, and find out if you’re still in the running. Prove that you have drive. By promoting yourself, you’re showing that you can push bar specials, upsell, and have what it takes to thrive behind the bar.

Use these simple tricks, and even if the company isn’t hiring then, you will be remembered when a position comes up.

JA Allen

JA Allen is a freelance writer, author, and former star of the service industry. After over a decade working from the dish-pit to management in restaurants, pubs, and night clubs all over the world, she now enjoys wasting time between chapters on the flip side of the bar.