The nitty-gritty: Smile though your feet are aching. Food and beverage service positions are in high demand during the end of year holiday party season. From restaurants to local pubs to private parties, there are typically a wide variety of places hiring. Patience, a good memory and organizational skills are part of the job. It goes without saying, of course, that an amiable persona, charm and uncanny ability to smooth ruffled feathers of disgruntled customers are expected. A certain level of physical fitness is required. Catering companies, too, search for bartenders and servers of all ages to work private parties. Caterers who handle food preparation are usually behind the scenes. You might be in charge of menu planning, food preparation and set-up.
The hours: Flexible schedules. Nights, weekend and lunch times can peak during the weeks before New Year's.
Median pay range: Bartending: $7.33 to $15.11+ an hour, plus tips. Waiters and waitresses: $7.54 to $14.41, plus tips. Caterers should expect an hourly range between $9.82 and $11.89, but can run up to $20 an hour, plus tips.
Qualifications: A pleasant personality and ability to banter with customers is essential. Math and memorization skills come in handy, too. Past experience is helpful, but other positions where you've worked with people even as a volunteer are worth noting. Personal and professional references are valuable calling cards. Before you apply: Do your recognizance as a customer to see how the wait staff and bartenders dress and get a feel for the venue and menu. Read up on part-time bartending jobs. One tip: If you're considering bartending, for example, as a post-holiday part-time job, you might enroll in bartender training school that offers two-week programs. Catering per se will require more stove time in the kitchen to earn your culinary chops and references to back up your claims. There can be stiff competition from professional chefs. Expect upfront costs for sample menu preparation. Not for the hot and bothered.
Kerry Hannon is the author of What's Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job.
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