Finding a barista job in today’s saturated cafe marketplace can be difficult at the best of times. The problem with Melbourne’s developed cafe industry is that competition is fierce – and with competition means a lot of staff turn over as cafes try to one-up each other. Baristas are highly valued members of the cafe team and as such have an ability to move around fluidly between cafes and coffee companies.
If you look at a lot of barista job ads, most tend to ask for 1-year experience working with coffee as a minimum to be even considered. So how does one go about finding a job with little to no experience?
Here are 5 simple steps to get you started.
1 – Barista job boards
Dedicated websites such as Barista Seeker allow you to find the latest job openings in the cafe and restaurant industry. You can even narrow down jobs by location!
2 – Think outside the box
Think outside the box. I know, you’re wanting to put those newfound barista skills to work, but the reality is when you’re 20 dockets deep and have a line out the door, you don’t have the experience or skill to keep up.
Look for jobs in cafes with a view to moving on to the coffee machine. Think floor staff, dishwasher, perhaps even cashier. I know, I know, it’s not what you had in mind, but keep your eyes on the prize and the end goal! A lot of today’s pro baristas started off this way.
3 – Think big
You may not necessarily find work in an independent specialty coffee shop straight away. Perhaps consider working for a coffee chain/franchise like Gloria Jeans or McCafe to build up your technical skills base first. They use the same professional equipment as everyone else.
It also gives you an opportunity to serve real customers allowing you to polish up your workflow and customer service skills. My first barista job was in 2004/05 working for The Coffee Club, a big Australian franchise from Queensland. I built up my experience and skills and used that as a launching pad to move on.
4 – Polish up your resume
Your resume is probably in need of a tweak here and there, and a final spit and polish to really catch the eye of the hiring manager. Here are some handy hints on how to approach crafting a barista resume and cover letter.
5 – Cold Call
Cold calling cafes is a great way of finding a job as a barista. Cold calling is dropping in a cafe when no specific job opening has been advertised.
The worst-case scenario is that you’ll be told that they’re not looking for anyone. I’ve written a handy guide to cold calling cafes, what to do and what not to do. Give it a go!
Good luck on your journey and if you have any questions, hit me up in the comments section below! – David