Exploring jobs in the drinks market - where to start?
Searching and applying for new jobs can fast become a minefield but with a structured approach you can make the process much easier and it starts with some key considerations;
- Searching for and finding a job
- Working out how each company recruits and who to contact
- What roles to apply for
- What information to include in your application
- What to do once you have applied
Having a defined, focused and credible approach to applying for new roles is imperative. We see far too much time wasted by candidates who effectively drop their CV into a black abyss (through no fault of their own) and then eagerly await a job interview.
Below are several factors to consider when searching and applying for roles which we hope will help you save time and energy.
Where are drinks industry specific jobs?
You will find drinks jobs in one or more of the following places;
- Direct from a recruiter e.g. Fluid Fusion
- Employers own career websites
- Through your own network e.g. referrals
- On a generalist job board e.g. Monster, Indeed…
- On social media - LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc.
- On specialist drinks media or niche job boards like Liquid Careers
Looking at this list it is not surprising that it can feel like a herculean task to know where to even start, so turn the scenario on its head by devising your own target list of employers.
Which businesses do you want to work for?
Focus on employers who reflect your skills, personality and experience. For example, avoid building a wish list based on simply which brands you want to work with. Be very clear and realistic about what roles you want to apply for and be focused. Less can be more.
Once you have your list it is then time to find out how each company recruits i.e. are they on LinkedIn? Does your recruiter have an open door to them? Is the company on Liquid Careers already (if so, setup job alerts)? Does the company have a dedicated jobs section on their website and who can you network with to find out more?
These points are crucial, together with working with a small number of good recruiters, because the more you can find out about how a company recruits the better, before you apply.
Tip: Do your research. Is the company currently doing any particular type of re-launch, project, campaign etc. It may be worthwhile referring to this in your application (if applicable).
Taking the above into consideration, send in your details but bear the following points in mind;
- Always include a CV, it may seem obvious, but candidates can forget
- Include salary/package details if asked for, not stating this information often puts candidates at a disadvantage
- Include a cover letter, the more concise and tailored to the role you are applying for the better. Short and concise.
- Avoid applying for materially different roles at different levels in the same business as this shouts a lack of direction and credibility
- Note the requirements of the job advert carefully before applying, simply applying on the basis you have the same job title as the advertised role does not hold water
- Tailor your CV to the actual role you are applying for. If a role outlines a particular set of experience requirements then ensure this comes across by demonstrating relevant experience.
- Avoid “over selling” of your credentials or egotistical mantras within your covering letter and CV
So you have applied, now what? It can be tempting to chase up your application after a few days, but it is important to understand that unless a technical issue has arisen, someone will have seen your details and either intends to get in touch or has more suitable profiles to approach first.
There is an old saying that “persistence overcomes resistance” but this is not true for applying for jobs. Consider for every job there will be other applicants, sometimes hundreds and your time is arguably best spent exploring other opportunities rather than simply chasing the one you just applied for. It can also suggest ‘desperation’.
CV creation and the mistakes to avoid
At Liquid Careers and Fluid Fusion, we have reviewed thousands of CVs and while many are generally better than they were 10 years ago, it never ceases to amaze me how many mistakes I still see on CVs today.
Gone are the days when the CV was the one-stop sales pitch. Those who understand the benefits of working with a good recruiter, using social media (e.g. LinkedIn profile) and networking within your industry can increase their chances of securing an interview.
However, regardless of other mediums, CVs are vital as your shop window and must come up to scratch. You only get the one chance to make a first impression so it is worthwhile avoiding the following mistakes;
Spelling and grammatical mistakes
Yes, this is obvious and easy to fix with spell check at the fingertips of us all, but it is still surprising to see so many CVs with spelling mistakes (approx 5% of all CVs). Nothing looks less credible than a CV which is littered with errors. Simple solution; run spell check every time you change anything on your CV, and then read it, because even spell check won’t pick up everything.
State yourachievements as well as your responsibilities
A CV is a mini sales pitch so please remember that overly long narrative describing what your role is obvious to the recruiter (employer or agency). Descriptive information about your job role is important but please keep it brief. Far more important is what you have achieved, what successes you have had and initiatives you led etc. Always ensure that each job role has clear achievements. This is what an employer wants to see. It’s not just about what you did but how well you did it. What stands you apart from others?
All the information in the wrong place
So you have your job history, academic qualifications, personal profile, contact details, referees etc. but what order should they be in? There is no hard and fast rule but it is vital to consider that a recruiter will typically spend 10-30 seconds reading your CV, which will rarely take them past the first page unless the content is sufficiently compelling. With this in mind always ensure the most pertinent information is on the front page and that includes who you are (including contact details), brief personal profile and what role you do now (including achievements). We would always suggest that education details, what you like to do in your spare time, referees and charity work should be at the end of your CV and the bulk of the front page describes the most recent job position.
Does size matter?
Yes, when it comes to CV writing, very much so. One page CVs are good in theory but I have seen many that come at the cost of not getting the right message and information across. Avoid truncating your personal successes and achievements or even worse making everything so small and crushed together that the reader needs a magnifying glass.
On the flip side, CVs that are too long will invariably not receive the attention that the author was hoping for. A maximum of 2 to 4 pages is ideal, 4 pages maximum for Senior Executives, 3 for middle managers and 1-2 for junior level candidates.
Does your CV work history match your social media profiles?
Another issue has come with the advent of social media, particularly sites like LinkedIn. It may sound obvious but if you go to the trouble of creating both a CV and a profile on a professional network (I’d strongly advise doing both) then please ensure they mirror each other and are kept up to date. This happens all the time and employers really do check you out on social media.
Badly constructed layouts
The advancement of computer software has enabled many new and exciting ways for people to make their CVs look fancy with all manner of design layouts; dialogue boxes, word clouds, scattered paragraph sections, embedded pictures etc. Excessive formatting is not only hard to follow, but also bear in mind that most employers and recruiters use CV parsing technology that can struggle with over-complicated formats. Your CV may look visually stunning, but this is often a case of style over substance.
Lack of key information
Surprisingly, we still see CVs with limited or no contact details, education information, job titles and dates for each job role. Occasionally there will be no email or contact number at all. Ensure all key information is on your CV and include your LinkedIn details if you have an account. Furthermore, please ensure you include the most suitable contact details e.g. only include your work email or phone number if you are comfortable with being contacted by employers and/or recruiters.
Note: avoid inappropriate personal email addresses e.g.
Are you economical with dates and information?
It’s an obvious and slightly prickly point but always ensure that the information you present is correct and accurate. In an industry like the drinks market, many people know other people and their respective roles and responsibilities. Also, companies know other companies i.e. how they are structured, reasonable levels of responsibility and what candidates would realistically be in charge of etc. Therefore, avoid over egging the pudding. In addition be specific with dates, X working at Y between 2011 and 2016 is far too vague, include months as well. Also make sure your LinkedIn profile is consistent with your CV.
Another point is to avoid unexplained gaps in your CV. If you have been travelling, taken a sabbatical or being on maternity etc. then be open and upfront about this.
Omissions and gaps are frequently honest mistakes, but they can stir up suspicion and questions in the readers’ minds.
Concise, compelling and clear
CVs that contain long blocks of narrative often act as an instant turn-off for the reader. This makes the reader rush through the detail and often undermines the real quality and skills of the author. Be clear and concise with narrative and use bullet points. Make it punchy and avoid bland descriptive text such as “I did X and then I did Y”. Avoid stating the obvious.
Fancy fonts and technicolour palettes
Some CVs we receive are like works of art; awe-inspiring pictures and a raft of interesting colour combinations. Unfortunately for wannabe Picassos, simple is always best when writing a CV. Black and white, standard font with bolded emphasis on key or header information, ideally in a word document, is best. Nothing makes a CV harder to read than multiple bright colours, random text boxes, in different sizes, in some comedy font, all in bold. It is very distracting.
Maybe there are exceptions to this, depending of the type of role e.g. creative designer, but in our experience, simple and plain is best.
Without a doubt, the key to a successful interview is preparation. Candidates who do not prepare adequately for interviews rarely prove successful. As soon as the interview is arranged, start considering your potential new employer, their business, your aspirations and the questions you would like to ask.
Research the company as much as possible before the interview, visit their website, and use internet searches including social media to find information about the company, recent news, their sector and the role. In addition, in the drinks market, take a look at the products, physically if possible either in stores or in bars (in moderation!). Getting a real feel and understanding of the brands is critical in what is such a brand-led market.
Read the job specification in detail and relate your experience to the role. If there are aspects or information you are unsure about ask the company directly or the recruiter you are working with.
If you are working with a recruiter ask the consultant about the interview format and about any extra information they may have about that role and company e.g. culture.
Prepare answers to potential competency based questions - these tend to be abilities, skills and behaviours necessary to fulfil that role. In addition, always prepare 3-5 questions you wish to ask in the interview.
Ensure that you're somewhere quiet where you can fully concentrate and will not be interrupted. Speak confidently and positively, and try not to rush your answers. Prepare notes as you would for a normal face-to-face interview, and have a copy of your CV so you can make references to it (such as strengths, achievements, work experience and future plans).
The drinks market is a convivial, friendly and less corporate market than some other consumer goods industries. However not all companies are the same and our advice is, unless you are explicitly told not to, always dress smart, you can take a tie off after all but you can’t throw on a suit when you see your interviewers are wearing one. If in doubt ask the company or recruiter.
Always plan to arrive at least 10-15 minutes before your interview, as this will allow you to avoid any traffic issues and spend a couple of minutes to unwind and relax. If you are running late ensure you advise the company or the recruiter at the earliest possible time.
During the interview:
Ensure your phone is switched off.
Avoid slouching; sit comfortably and stay alert. Do not chew gum. Smile - this tells the interviewer that you are confident and enthusiastic.
Listen to what is being asked of you and give relevant, concise answers rather than rambling on. We can’t stress enough how important it is to listen and answer the questions in a concise manner, if you didn’t understand the question always ask the interviewer to repeat it.
Give honest answers - don't pretend to know something if you don't or take credit for something you didn’t do.
Know your CV, previous employers and achievements inside out and be prepared to answer detailed questions about them.
Remember that this is your chance to showcase yourself. Show off your knowledge of the company as well as your attributes, experience and passion.
Common questions you may be asked:
- How much do you know about the vacancy/company?
- What do you see as the main functions of the vacancy?
- How do you visualise a typical day?
- What interests you about the position?
- What skills or experience do you have that make you right for the position?
- What qualities do you have that make you right for this position?
- What has been your biggest achievement in your career to date?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Give an example of when you coped well under pressure?
- Describe a time when you helped a colleague?
- When have you had an opportunity to show initiative?
- What motivates you?
- How do you motivate yourself?
- What de-motivates you?
- How do you analyse your own performance?
- How do you think that you could improve your own performance?
- What are your long-term goals?
- Why do you wish to leave your current/last job?
- If you could change one aspect of your current/last position, what would that be and why?
- What are you looking for in your next position?
- Choose 5 words to describe yourself?
- What 5 words would your previous boss use to describe you?
- Describe a time when you received negative feedback about your performance?
- Are you considering other vacancies?
Typical questions to ask:
- Ask relevant questions that show you are interested but that also prove you have done your research, for example:
- What are the future plans of the company, brands/this position?
- Who do you consider are your key competitors?
- What are the company's growth plans?
- Please describe the company culture/ethos?
- Ask about training opportunities, promotion, prospects etc.
- Ask for more information about the duties and responsibilities required in the position (if not already covered).
- What is staff retention like?
- Why has the vacancy arisen?
- Ask about the interview procedure - how many rounds are there?
- Ask plenty of questions that show you are interested in the company and position.