Thursday, October 3, 2019
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Dear NYC MBA,
I'm glad you found that post from 2010, and it is definitely time to put up a new take on getting into the wine business. Reading my post from 2010, I think a lot of it is relevant for your situation. First of all, finance experience translates well to a broad array of businesses, including wine. Having your MBA, from a very prestigious east coast school, is also very impressive and gives you a great foundation in business management that many companies will find valuable. So you have a strong footing to get this transition going.
As you mentioned, networking is key. I'm glad you put out calls to fellow alumni. That's a great first start in building your network. And you've reached out to me, which is helpful for us to build a relationship and for you to gain more industry information. Keep doing that with others. I would recommend reaching out to finance people at some of the wineries you like, and see if they would be up for an informational interview. Most likely it would be a phone interview, given that you are in New York City.
You mentioned that you would relocate to Northern California. What about looking at finance positions that are in smaller markets? Sometimes there are more viable candidates in the epicenter of the wine business than there are in smaller geographies, and you could set yourself apart by bringing an MBA and business experience to an underserved location. And some of the other markets outside of Napa have major players in the wine business including Oregon, Washington and Upstate New York.
But perhaps your goal is also to work in the wine industry in Northern California. There are bigger companies that have more finance and business management needs in the major winemaking areas. They also are facing fierce competition from their neighbors for the same talent. The salaries and compensation packages do tend to be better in the bigger winemaking regions, with Napa Valley leading the way (please see the Wine Business Monthly Annual Salary Survey for more information). Also, larger companies tend to be more willing to bring in professionals from outside of the industry, partly because many industries are so closely related, especially in finance, and because they have more ability to train and develop employees than smaller companies do.
Now, while the product wineries make gets all of the attention, there are a lot of ancillary businesses that need finance professionals. Vineyard management companies, equipment suppliers, software development companies, fulfillment operations and packaging suppliers all support the wine business. Don't forget to look at positions with companies that sell products and services to the wine industry.
And with three-tier distribution still alive and kicking, most states have importers, distributors and brokers supporting wine suppliers efforts to sell their wine. These companies also need finance people, and have locations nationwide. New York City has many importers and distributors right in your neighborhood.
I do encourage you to dip your toe in wine education. Right now, your LinkedIn profile doesn't reflect any wine knowledge. Getting a first level certificate from WSET or the Court of Master Sommeliers will be a badge you can put front and center on your LinkedIn profile, and on your resume. As I've blogged about before, you must show some interest in wine in your job search communications and your resume needs to show your strengths.
I hope this is helpful, and I look forward to staying in touch. Keep me posted if you head out to Northern California!
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Make it look a lot like your resume: You just spent all that time working on your resume, now incorporate that into your profile.
Photo: Put up a recent photo that looks professional and engaging. No, not the photo cropped from your wedding with someone else's cropped torso in the periphery. Also, not one of you in your car. (A Cranky Recruiter aside: I see so many LinkedIn profile photos from the vantage point of a car's dashboard. Makes me wonder, was someone so mad, they ran out to their car and snapped a selfie so they could start looking for a new job?) Take a photo of yourself when you are looking good, have good lighting and can say cheese for the camera.
Contact Info: When setting up your profile, make sure you put complete contact information on your profile. This can be kept private, but if you want someone to find you here, it is good if they can contact you. The email you use is the one InMail messages will be routed to, so use one that you can use for LinkedIn messaging. Your work email might not be best, but if you only look at your work email inbox, putting a secondary, unread email address could backfire too. I experience this all the time--especially when I have found the ideal candidate on LinkedIn, but have no way to contact them. Maddening!!!
Background photo: Find a picture you can put up that reflects something about you. My profile has a vineyard scene behind me. I think that makes sense. The default background is fine, but very uninspired. Doing a random scan of my connections, approximately 90% of profiles use the default, so that is quite functional. If you have a social media presence, I think you can find something to put up for your background picture. You would be in the 10% club of unique background photo profiles.
About: Write a summary of your experience and what types of positions you are looking for. Of course, you are probably gainfully employed, so write the summary with that in mind. Make it sing the praises of your work accomplishments, without it sounding like you are looking for a new job. Adding a skills section is smart, as is adding information about your educational background, if applicable.
Experience: This will be pulled straight from your resume. Put company, title, employment length, and work location. Then add relevant information within each job. This can be a paragraph per role, or a paragraph per key responsibilities, depending on length of employment in each role. Keep it relevant. If you've been working for 20 years in the field you want to continue in, you don't need to list old, irrelevant jobs outside of your industry.
Education: List school, degree, any additional accolades (Summa Cum Laude, president of student government, study abroad courses, etc.), and if relevant, date of graduation.
Licenses and Certifications: Are you an MS? Put it on there please. Just got your WSET Level II? Put it on there. Are you a certified Cicerone? Put it on there. CPA: PLEASE! Put down relevant licenses and certifications that add to your marketability.
Skills and Endorsements: List relevant skills. Now for endorsements, I think this is a bit of crowdsourcing, but once you put your profile together people can endorse you on the profile. So put down skills, and hopefully the endorsements will follow.
Recommendations: If you can, ask former colleagues and managers to recommend you on LinkedIn. The request process is pretty easy, and if they do not want to do it, they can easily ignore the request. If you are asking for recommendations, be good and give recommendations for others when asked.
Groups: Link to some groups of interest to you.
Following: Get some follows on there for organizations, celebrities, or companies that interest you.
Accomplishments: If you hold a board seat, have published an article or research paper, have secondary language skills or are hold a patent, put it down. There are several things you can list, so use this area to enhance your profile.
Interests: Are you part of a trade group? Do you like to follow Mr. Wonderful? Show your interests here. Yes, just like on your resume make sure they are relevant and give a positive impression of you. But some personality is good to show here too.
Connections: Once you've put your profile together, link up to your friends, family and colleagues. The more connections you have on LinkedIn, the more likely you will make more. The funny thing people like to say is that they are very promiscuous on LinkedIn. They connect with anyone and everyone. Doing this, you'll be more easily findable by recruiters, like me! Isn't that one of the big reasons you are on LinkedIn.
And keep it current! Go into your profile from time to time to make sure it is up to date and relevant.
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Logos? I like it when people use company logos on their resume in the experience section. A nice, easily identifiable logo goes a long way, so use it to your advantage in your resume. But make it look right. One company logo in a list of several different companies doesn't work. Too many logos and it starts to get busy. But think about using them if it looks right.
Check for formatting issues: Not only do resumes end up getting tossed for errors, formatting issues can cause you headaches too. Some headers don't show up on programs, meaning your name and contact info is invisible, and in turn, you are invisible. Send your file to some friends and make sure it looks okay on their computers. And read this article about how to format your resume best for applicant tracking systems.
Now get to work and write your resume! I know this is a good DIY project for you.