Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Salary Ranges

Staying on top of your industry salary ranges is always helpful, both when you are going for a performance review and when you are scouting for a new position. The annual salary survey Wine Business Monthly puts out is a must read in this industry. While the most recent survey is still available only to subscribers, here is a link to the latest press release . Another site to browse is This site usually aggregates data from many industries, but can give you a guideline. Some more specific sites are and When you are thinking of asking for more money--have your information and homework done using any of these helpful sites.

Friday, October 3, 2008

How to get into the biz

Recently a job seeker wrote to me for advice on how to get into the CA wine scene. As this advice seemed helpful to many readers, I got permission to post it here.

Subject: advice?

Hi Amy,
I am very interested in getting into the wine industry but I have a lot of questions about how to do so. I have had experience selling wine in restaurants as a server. I have done many blind tastings and know a little bit about French and Spanish wines but not so much about American wines. So, I guess my first question would be where do I start? How should I frame my experience in a resume in order to maximize my abilities in order to get a job? Should I try to get a job in a tasting room or a wine store? Do I need to take some classes in order to even begin this process? Any advice that you might be able to pass on to me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Dear Job Seeker,
Thanks for the message. Hopefully I can help out a bit. Not knowing your professional background, I can only give thoughts on how to gain exposure to the US wine world. I do think working in a tasting room is helpful. Wineries often offer some education about the wines and region that you would be working in, and learning on the job is very helpful. It also gives you some contacts in the wine industry and fodder for your resume. Working in a wine store is also helpful, especially if you are interested in getting into wine sales. Working in retail gives you exposure to distributors, and also you gain knowledge about wineries, wine styles and customer interest. If you are near a wine growing region, several local colleges give sensory, winemaking, marketing and related courses. Many times they are taught by big wigs in the wine industry, yet more contacts for you. If you would like to send along a resume and keep me posted on your wine experience, I would be happy to consider you for openings.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Are you there recruiter, its me, Perfect Applicant?

Recently I was speaking to a job seeker who had solid experience in both sales and marketing. I was urging her to tailor her resume for specific job openings, and expanding her descriptions related to the job description. By focusing a resume to the job, it allows you to present yourself well to the reader.

When you are applying to a position directly with a company, often all the resumes are sent to a general delivery email address. A Human Resources recruiter then slogs through the inbox to find out who has responded to the ad. As when I post a job, lots of relevant resumes come in, but also a lot of unqualified but interested job applicants apply. The company recruiter is tasked with finding those applicants that come closest to the job description, and making those resumes available either to an HR manager, or to a hiring manager. Within big companies, the recruiters are going through tons of resumes for all sorts of open positions, from winemakers to CFOs, viticulturists to sales managers. It only makes sense that the concise, clear resumes make it out of the inbox, and onto someone's desk.

While tailoring your resume is important, keeping it readable to the recruiter is crucial. Explaining your work experience clearly and thoroughly is important. Also, keep a handle on your use of buzzwords. While everyone in your industry may be able to quickly ascertain your knowledge when looking through a list of acronyms, to a company recruiter it may be all gibberish. A happy medium is to explain your background in plain words, and list technologies, systems, etc at the bottom of each entry. This allows your resume to be understood by anyone who is looking at it, which is exactly who you want looking at it. Now you just want it to get out of the inbox and into the hands of the decision maker. Good Luck.