Why a bar job is the best move for your career

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Posted on Friday 22nd July 2016 by James Howell

Don't worry about taking a bar job or café work when you graduate - it could be the best thing for your career.

The majority of people leave university without a job waiting for them and if this is you - don't panic. There are lots of graduate employers who want to find employees right now (take a look at our Immediate Start page for those) but there will be lots of you who just want time to take stock and reflect on what you want to do with your life.

Step forward the most important career move of your life - the bar job. Here's 4 reasons why you should take a bar jobs.

Skills for the bills

Bar jobs are described as low skilled jobs by employment researchers and governing bods - but quite the opposite is true. Bar jobs of all types, including café work or waiting on restaurant tables, provide you will a wealth of versatile and applicable skills.

The most important soft skills you can gain include multitasking, communication skills with a customer and customer service skills. Graduate employers love to see these skills in applicants and it helps show they have some real work experience.

Also, bar work and similar jobs can help you be geographically mobile. If you have your heart set on working in Manchester, Bristol or Cardiff for example, finding a job there will be a good start before you start your career.

Get some work experience

Similarly to "bar work is low skilled work", this kind of service based work gives you concrete examples for employers. You might have great sales skills but employers want evidence for your attributes. These examples can be drawn from things like up-selling, managing a customer's dispute over food or even managing patrons who've had a few too many.

Employers also love graduates who can prove they are able to hold down a job. Employers are always concerned graduates move on too quickly either through boredom or a distaste for the role. Do not underestimate how much employers will appreciate an awareness of work place expectations - for example punctuality, being dressed appropriately and the ablity to follow instructions.

A view on life

For some, leaving university is just the next step in their long thought out dream. However, for most it is a blank, terrifying canvas with a wide range of expectations and uncertainties. If you do not know where you are destined to end up it is time to take stock and think.

Bar work is fun and relatively straightforward, allowing you to think about what it is you want to do. The flexibility of the work also allows you to try your hand at different areas by undertaking internships or work shadowing during the week and working on the weekends.

Another excellent way to gain perspective into your own future is by talking to patrons. Tailor your pub applications to business districts and popular meeting places for the best chance of stumbling across a helpful stranger.

You will be surprised to learn how much a lunch time pint is still a think in certain city pubs in these business districts. Talk to these regulars, find out what they do, how they do it and whether it might be the career for you. Nothing compares to insight from the horse's mouth.


It might sound bizarre, but you will gain so much confidence from working and, more importantly, earning. Employment will help you realise your strengths and weaknesses to make sure you can offer employers a complete package.

You should also not let people get you down about working in a pub. The fact many graduates leave university and mope at home is not viewed as productive by employers. However, evidence of proactivity and action is most welcome on a CV.

Whether you start a stop-gap job as a waiter/waitress, bar staff or barista, employers understand you are in the early days of your career. These sorts of jobs are the perfect way you can start your career and gain essential skills while figuring out where your future lies.

Image Credit: Steve Allison