I spent a lot of time researching “Soft Skills.” So you don’t have to. There is no video in this section, so please read the following short lesson on General Soft Skills.
Definition of Soft Skills: Personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with others.
Briefly, soft skills are interpersonal skills, and coveted by every manager out there in every business and industry – the Food & Beverage Industry included.
Where “Hard Skills” have to do with knowledge and expertise in your particular field (like the ability to make drinks efficiently), Soft Skills are about who people are – and not what they know.
You can get better at hard skills over time, but soft skills are tough to acquire or change. You cannot change someone’s attitude. You can’t change their personality. You certainly cannot adjust their attitude!
I’ve taken great pains in keeping things fairly basic here – there’s no need for you to memorize any of this. Just know that your Soft Skills will be front and center during the job interview. We get into the really good stuff in the following lesson. And, the “Job Interview” section will build on all of this stuff.
As I have mentioned many times before – you have no bartending experience! So, the interviewers are going to try their very best to “get into your head” and try and figure out who you are.
They’re looking to see if you’re honest and trustworthy. If you’re a problem solver and can handle conflicts. If you “fit it” with the rest of the employees employed at that bar.
All of the above are Soft Skills.
Many studies have been done concerning soft skills – far beyond the scope of my Bartending Course. Based on my experience, and my opinion, I have listed below some of the most desired soft skills in the Food & Beverage Industry:
- Effective communication skills
- Ability to work as a team
- Problem solving skills
- Work ethic
- Critical thinking
- Conflict resolution
- Positive attitude
An exceptional bartender has many, if not all, of the coveted “Soft Skills.” Think about it. You can hire someone with a great personality – but they’re consistently late for work. Or, a bartender can easily get customers laughing over almost anything – but won’t help the cocktail server garnish the drinks. I could go on and on.
What I find interesting with the above list is that many “Top 10 Bartender Skills” lists usually cite a couple of entries from this list. Personality is almost always one of the selections. That’s fine, and it’s certainly true, but cherry picking one or two qualities from the above list just doesn’t cut it.
Personality is not the king of the Soft Skills, and, through experience, I came to this conclusion many years ago. There are just way too many other Soft Skills that exceptional bartenders need besides a great personality.
A great personality alone is not going to get you the job. It doesn’t make you an exceptional bartender. It certainly helps, but these days Bar Managers are asking a lot more detailed questions – trying to dig a bit deeper into a person’s character and Soft Skill levels.
Soft Skills is a very deep subject. They differ among industries, and can seem a little confusing sometimes. There are many types of soft skills, as I noted above, but when it comes to working behind a bar, in my opinion, demeanor is the king.
So far now, just note the list of Soft Skills above. In the next lesson, I’m going to break down these Soft Skills, and show you how to recognize your level of skill – and use these skills to land that first bartending job!