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Transitioning from Bartending to a Sales Career: How a Career Test Can Help

This blog post navigates the transition from bartending to a sales career, highlighting the transferable skills bartenders possess. By identifying these skills and understanding the sales domain, bartenders can smoothly transition, securing a flourishing sales career.
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In the bustling realm of bartending, every interaction is a blend of salesmanship, customer service, and the art of storytelling. Bartenders navigate through diverse personalities, managing expectations with a smile, much like a seasoned sales professional. 

Understanding the Shift: Bartending to Sales

The transition from bartending to a sales career is more of a natural progression than a stark leap. Both jobs demand a knack for building rapport, an understanding of human behavior, and the ability to thrive in dynamic environments. As you bid farewell to the busy life of the bar, a promising sales career is calling, giving you a chance to use the people skills honed over countless shifts. 

Changing your career from bartending to sales opens doors to endless opportunities, financial growth, and a chance to build lasting relationships in a new yet familiar territory. Through the lens of this blog post, we'll explore the journey of transitioning from bartending to a sales career, ensuring you're well-prepared to make the leap and flourish in a field where your skills are highly valued and rewarded.

At first glance, transitioning from bartending to sales might seem like a leap into unfamiliar territory. However, dig a little deeper; you'll find many overlapping skills and principles between the two professions. Bartending is not just about mixing drinks; it involves a keen understanding of customer needs, building rapport, and cultivating loyalty–all foundational elements in the sales world.

Identifying Transferable Skills from Bartending

One of the first steps in transitioning to a sales career involves identifying the skills you developed as a bartender to apply in a sales role. These can include exceptional interpersonal communication, the ability to build customer rapport, strong negotiation skills, and the aptitude for handling objections.

However, it's important to note that while these skills are transferable, there will still be a learning curve when transitioning to sales. It's essential to familiarize yourself with the sales process, learn about different sales techniques, and understand the industry you will be working in.

Additionally, you may need to enhance your knowledge of the products or services you will sell. While bartending may have given you a general understanding of alcohol and mixology, sales will require in-depth knowledge of the products or services you are representing. Understanding your product or service will enable you to confidently and accurately answer questions or concerns from prospective clients.

People skills

Bartending hones your ability to interact with a diverse clientele, understanding their preferences and ensuring they leave satisfied—much like what a sales role demands. The essence of sales lies in building relationships, understanding client needs, and providing solutions, which is a refined version of what bartenders do every day.

Communication skills

As a bartender, you’ve learned exceptional interpersonal communication skills. You have spent countless hours engaging with customers, listening to their stories, and making them feel heard and valued. These skills are invaluable in sales, where building relationships and establishing trust with clients is crucial.


Every recommendation for a drink or a dish is a mini sales pitch. Bartenders subtly sell products to customers by suggesting specials or upselling premium liquors. In sales, this skill blossoms into a full-fledged ability to pitch products or services, negotiate deals, and close sales.

Negotiation skills

Strong negotiation skills are also a key asset in both bartending and sales. As a bartender, you may have found yourself negotiating prices with suppliers or persuading customers to try new drinks. These negotiation skills can be directly applied to sales, where you will often find yourself negotiating deals, contracts, and pricing with clients.

Handling pressure

Bartenders often work in high-pressure environments, especially during busy hours. This experience is invaluable in sales, where meeting targets and handling rejection are part of the daily grind. The ability to stay calm, think on your feet, and maintain a positive demeanor in challenging situations is a trait that will set you apart in the sales domain.

The bar environment is dynamic and requires bartenders to adapt to different situations swiftly. Similarly, the sales landscape is ever-evolving, requiring a knack for adapting to market trends and customer preferences. Your experience adapting to different customer moods and preferences is a solid foundation for navigating the varied scenarios you’ll encounter in sales.


Upselling is a valuable skill in both bartending and sales. As a bartender, you may have recommended premium spirits or suggested additional drinks to customers. Similarly, in sales, upselling involves identifying opportunities to offer other products or services that complement the client's initial purchase.

Preparing for Your New Career in Sales

Before making the switch from bartending, preparing yourself for the challenges and opportunities of a sales career is crucial. To succeed in this field, you must have a solid understanding of sales techniques, strategies, and the industry.


Reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Identify the sales skills you already possess and the areas where you need improvement. Consider taking a career test to understand how your personality and skills align with a sales career. 

Career quizzes provide insights into how your personality and skills align with a sales career. These tests can offer valuable information on the sales sectors that might suit you best, be it retail, B2B, real estate, or others.

Enhancing your Sales Knowledge

While sales roles often value experience and skills over formal education, having a basic understanding of sales principles, market dynamics, and customer relationship management is beneficial.

One way to enhance your sales knowledge is to attend sales workshops. These workshops provide valuable insights and practical tips from experienced professionals. They cover many topics, including prospecting, closing deals, and building customer relationships. By participating in these workshops, you can gain a solid foundation in sales principles and learn how to apply them effectively in real-world scenarios.

Look for online courses, communities, or certifications that can provide a solid foundation in sales. Platforms like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, or local community colleges offer relevant sales courses. Engage in online discussions, ask questions, and learn from the experiences of others in the sales community. Online resources provide a convenient and accessible way to continuously expand your knowledge and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in the industry.

Building a Professional Network

Networking is an essential aspect of any career transition. It is vital in the sales industry. Building a solid network can provide valuable insights, support, and potential job opportunities. There are several ways to expand your professional network in the sales field.

One effective way to connect with professionals in the sales industry is through social media platforms. LinkedIn, in particular, is a powerful tool for networking with sales professionals. Create a compelling profile highlighting your skills and aspirations, join relevant sales groups, and actively engage with other professionals by commenting on their posts and sharing valuable content. By establishing a strong online presence, you can attract the attention of industry leaders and potential employers.

Consider joining relevant professional associations in the sales field. These associations often host networking events, workshops, and conferences tailored to sales professionals. Becoming a member gives you access to a community of like-minded individuals who can offer guidance, support, and mentorship. Take advantage of these resources to expand your network and learn from experienced professionals who have already succeeded in the sales industry.

Navigating the Job Market

As you venture into the job market, it is crucial to tailor your resume to showcase your transferable skills and highlight your bartending experience in a way that appeals to potential employers in the sales industry.

Create a resume emphasizing your customer service skills, ability to work in a fast-paced environment, and sales achievements. Include measurable results, such as increasing sales revenue or exceeding targets.

During job interviews, be prepared to demonstrate how your bartending experience translates into applicable skills for a sales role. Showcase your ability to handle objections, build relationships, and adapt to customer preferences. Emphasize your passion for sales and your eagerness to learn and grow in a new industry.

Thriving in Your New Sales Role

As you embark on your new sales career, adapting to the new work environment and continuously striving for personal and professional growth is crucial.

Transitioning from a bar setting to an office environment may require some adjustment. Be open to learning new processes, tools, and techniques specific to the sales industry. Seek feedback from your colleagues and managers to improve your performance and integrate seamlessly into the team.

Sales is a dynamic field that requires continuous learning and improvement. Stay updated with industry trends, attend training sessions, and seek mentorship opportunities. Developing your sales skills will contribute to your long-term success and enable you to achieve your targets and objectives consistently.

Overcoming Challenges in the Transition

Transitioning from bartending to a sales career may come with its fair share of challenges. However, you can overcome these obstacles with the right mindset and a proactive approach.

Adapting to a New Work Environment

The work environment in sales can be quite different from bartending, which might require an adjustment period. The pressure to meet sales targets can be stressful, especially if you are new to the field. Seek mentorship from individuals who have experience in sales. Their guidance can help you understand the expectations and adapt to the new work culture. Also, learn to set realistic goals, manage your time effectively, and continuously learn and adapt to improve your sales performance.

Dealing with Rejection in Sales

One common challenge in sales is rejection, which can feel disheartening. It is important to remember that rejection is not personal and to see it as an opportunity to improve and learn. 

Develop a resilient mindset and learn from each rejection to improve your sales approach. Remember, every no brings you closer to a yes. Maintain a positive attitude and treat each rejection as a chance to refine your technique and identify areas for growth.

Balancing Work-Life in a New Industry

Work-life balance is crucial for overall well-being and productivity. As you shift from bartending to sales, take the time to establish a healthy work-life balance.  Sales roles sometimes demand long hours or travel, which affects work-life balance. Set boundaries, prioritize self-care, and allocate time for personal interests outside of work. This balance will contribute to your success and job satisfaction.

How JobTest.org Can Help Your Transition

Embarking on a new career path in sales after bartending can be both exhilarating and challenging. A pivotal step in this transition is understanding your inherent strengths, interests, and the kind of work environments that invigorate you. Our career test is an excellent tool to guide you through this change. By taking this career test, you’ll unveil insights into how your personality and goals align with a sales career. 

It's not merely about switching jobs but discovering a career in sales that resonates with your values and aspirations. The test provides a personalized analysis of your career personality, helping you understand which skills and values align with your new career. After your test, you can schedule a session with a career coach who will use your test results to guide your career development plan. So, before you step into the dynamic world of sales, take a moment to complete our industry-leading career test!

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