Friday, January 25, 2013

Wine studies grow at Napa Valley College

I've mentioned Napa Valley College's wine program before, and recommend NVC, Sonoma State and Santa Rosa Junior College for anyone wanting to get some great wine knowledge.  All of these campuses have great instructors who have real world experience.  Some others are Allan Hancock down south.  Of course I need to mention the big guys, CSU San Luis Obispo, CSU Fresno and last but not least, UC Davis.

Here's Paul Franson's recent article in the Napa Register about NVC:  Wine studies grow at Napa Valley College

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cranky Recruiter: Show Your Strengths

Pow : Comic Book IllustrationUh-oh, here's Cranky Recruiter digging in after a long holiday weekend.  May spell trouble for some job hunters out there.

Ok, so I've wrapped up working on some marketing roles recently and am struck by the fact that so many marketing resumes are so blah.  Often I see sales resumes that are pretty blah and I think that they probably know how to sell things but rely on a good marketer to come up with the collateral.  But a marketer with a boring resume.  It seems to scream poor marketing skills.

Everyone says you should do what you love.  If I was to become a marketer, I think I would love to market things.  If I was in the hunt for a job, I think my number one goal would be to market myself.  First I'd throw away those old versions of my resume, sit down at my creativity inducing desk/table/park bench and brainstorm what I should be branding myself as.  Do I want to be a packaging guru?  Then I had better have a resume that packs a visual punch.  Do I want to be the strategic marketer who can develop an entire program for my future company?  Well I had better have a logically laid out resume that reflects the tactical nature of my expertise.  Am I a technical expert?  My resume had better scream tech wizardry while explaining some highly involved expertise in plain old English. 

This may all seem simple, but this Cranky Recruiter has to slog through boring black and white, Times New Roman resumes all day long.  Occasionally I get a glimpse of color--but all too often it is just the hyperlink blue on an email address.

What wakes me up and makes me notice a resume?  Give me logos.  Did you work at Clorox Company--ooh, put the logo on it for easy recognition.  Were you the lead manager on the revamp of The Gap's marketing campaign--show me some of that classic "Gap" style and make it easy for me to figure out what you did.  Be a little creative--especially if you are in a more creative realm of marketing.  Isn't that the real goal of a marketer--making someone quickly understand why they should want and need the product they are marketing? 

So am I just going after marketers today?  No.  I think this is relevant to every job seeker.  Every resume needs to be factual, but it is also a marketing piece for you.  Do you want to be like every other job seeker out there and hope that your resume, which is one of 100's a hiring manager receives, gets a second look?  I hope not.  So put some time into it and make it reflect you. 

Lastly, get consumer input.  Pass it by someone before you send out your awe-inspiring resume.  Often a friend can spot typos that you've missed over and over.  And yes, you may get some other advice about changes you should make.  Maybe get a few people's advice on the resume and go for the consensus version.   I do often say that you need to take all resume advice with a grain of salt.  People are quick to give advice, but you need to write a resume you are comfortable with.  So, dear reader, take this advice for what it is worth.  Back to the inbox.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Job Seekers Beware: Identity Theft

When you are looking for a job you are thrilled when someone contacts you and wants to interview you for a position.  And as a potential employee, you often don't know what information you should and shouldn't share with a recruiter or hiring manager.  With unemployment running at a high level, if you are looking for a job you may feel that you need to be as helpful and as easy to deal with as possible in the hopes of landing a job.  This is just the way some identify thieves like it.

In the October 2012 issue of Consumer Reports they profiled "America's Worst Scams".  #14 was about ID thieves posing as recruiters to get job seeker's personal information. The article discussed job seekers who were using online job search applications being approached by a "recruiter" who was looking to fill jobs at companies nearby. The ID theives posed as recruiters and conducted interviews in public places with these people, having them fill out detailed job applications which included name, date of birth, address, and Social Security number.  These job applicants later went to the local company as directed by the recruiter, only to learn that there were no openings and that the recruiters were not associated with the company at all.

We all think we are too smart to fall for a scam, but ID thieves can be pretty clever.  While I am sure the majority of meetings you would have with a recruiter would be above board, I think you should always be cautious about sharing your personal information.

As a job seeker this is the information you should share:
1.  Your name
2.  Your phone number
3.  Your email address
4.  Your home city, state and zip code
5.  Your work experience
6.  Your education level/degree

If you are sending in a resume, you should make sure you have that information included.  Often people put their home address, and while this is the convention, I believe you can keep this off of your resume.  A potential employer can request this of you as needed.

This is information you should never share unless it is a true employment application or offer of employment:
1.  Your Social Security Number

And beware if these questions are asked:
1.  Your mother's maiden name
2.  Your bank account information
3.  The make of your first car
4.  Your first pet's name.
Ok, maybe I am thinking about all the things you may use as your password on those last ones, but do try to keep personal information private so that ID thieves cannot use it.

So, what do you do when that friendly recruiter approaches you for an interview in a public location?  Well, first of all do your homework.  Is she really who she says she is?  Does she have a website?  Did she give you information about the job she is currently hiring for?  Have you ever heard of her before?

If you are feeling confident that this meeting may lead to a job or be good for your job search, plan on meeting her.  Beware if she puts a lengthy job application in front of you that asks for your mother's maiden name, any aliases you have ever used and your Social Security number.  If she shows up and has inconsistencies between what you talked about on the phone and what she is discussing during the meeting, keep your personal information as tightly guarded as possible. 

As a job hunter you want to be easy to interact with.  But don't be taken advantage of by those who prey on people in tough circumstances.  Keep your guard up and try to figure out if it is a real opportunity or a "phishing expedition".

Good luck out there folks!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: Margrit Mondavi's Sketchbook

Last spring I had the pleasure of sitting down for lunch with Margrit Mondavi.  She graciously agreed to be interviewed for this blog.  (Please visit the Post here).  During a wonderful lunch at Robert Mondavi winery she shared her experiences in the wine industry.

Recently Margrit published "Margrit Mondavi's Sketchbook" with Janet Fletcher.  It is a beautifully illustrated recollection of her life.  She shares her passion for life, her love of her family and friends, and her interests in art, food and culture. 

The book is a great reflection on her past.  She talks about her childhood and her young married life, being a young Swiss bride married to a U.S. Army Officer.  She also explains her involvement in the Napa cultural scene; bringing art and music to the local schools and hosting concerts at wineries, both at Charles Krug Winery and then the highly successful concert series at Robert Mondavi Winery.  Learning about her upbringing you can understand her culture shock living in different locations as a young bride and young mother.  Getting to know about her life-long love of art and music you can appreciate her involvement in the art programs at the Robert Mondavi Winery and also the many charitable donations she and Robert gave in support of the arts.

Of course no book by Margrit would be complete without Robert, and she gracefully explains her relationship with the love of her life.  It was touching to understand the deep love they had for each other, and also get a glimpse at the strong bond they had.  Hearing about their travels and the way they were completely engaged with each other's lives, hopes and dreams is a wonderful love story.

And if you are learning about Robert and Margrit, there must be talk about good food and wine.  The book details many of the great wine events they were involved with.  The partnerships they made and the dedication they had to the California wine industry was very informative.  I enjoyed learning about the Great Chef's cooking school, which was also a bit amusing.  I also really enjoyed the hand-painted menus that were included in the book.  It would not be a complete memoir of their love of food and wine without a few recipes thrown in. 

Margrit's artwork is included throughout, brightening up the pages.  There are also wonderful reminiscences by her friends and family, painting more detailed pictures of her life and influence.

Margrit is a very joyful person, who surrounds herself with beauty.  She is aging gracefully, still involved in so many endeavors, and savoring every minute of it.  This book is a joyous reflection of her.