Andrew is a London based Account Manager for a premium Czech Lager who, in his spare time, writes articles, short stories and his own blog
It’s an old truism that it is not what you know it is whom you know. Networking is the best way to get into any industry and Drinks is no exception. Don’t despair though; there are plenty of ways to get in front of the right people.
The first critical question someone should ask when looking to move into Drinks is the same as with any element of the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) industry: does one go for a large, corporate company or a small to medium enterprise (SME)? There’s much to be said for the both of them.
There are other articles and other people who will explore this in depth but it bears repeating the over-simplified generalisations about these two types of organisation.
Large Companies – Highly corporate. Employees at large companies will often find themselves with a pretty standard package, regular training and a strong HR team to engage with when both applying for, and once they get, the role. The key disadvantage is that, within a large corporate company, you are unlikely to have much responsibility beyond the job description.
SMEs – The trend here is to sacrifice some of the security and support described above for the opportunity to have a lot more responsibility and to enjoy the excitement of being the underdog.
Both types of organisation usually outsource their recruitment process to third parties. We’ll come back to that though.
If you have decided that you want to work for a larger organisation they usually maintain an element of recruitment in-house due to the size of their HR departments. This, alongside their highly public nature, means one can discover roles themselves by regularly visiting their Careers pages. For the employee who isn’t able to spend a lot of time networking this is an easy way to search for roles using the power of Google.
The reason why recruiters are so useful is they provide all the advantages of networking (personal recommendations for roles, building a relationship, and the flexibility this provides) with many of the benefits of the Internet, namely access to roles and organisations you may not have previously considered. By keeping your LinkedIn up to date one maximises the opportunity for recruiters being able to find you and thus approach you. Once the conversation has started it is then down to the candidate to nurture the relationship and ensure they are at the forefront of the recruiter’s mind when new roles come up.
This ability to network is doubly true in the Drinks industry. No matter what you are doing, warm and friendly types dominate the Drinks industry. Practicing your networking skills by engaging with a number of recruiters doesn’t just increase the number of roles brought to your attention but also ensures that talking to strangers becomes second nature.
By engaging with a number of recruiters such as Fluid Fusion, you maximise the number of roles brought to your attention and increase the potential of finding the opportunity that is right for you. However, don’t stretch yourself too thin. It’s about quality not quantity.
Honourable Mention: Graduate Schemes
The exception to all of this is Graduate Schemes. Graduates who are bright, energetic and mostly devoid of corrupting experience are like gold dust for aspirational organisations. Whilst it is true that many companies do use recruitment companies to discover graduates, much of the recruitment is done in house. The majority of graduate roles are found on the company websites.
So, in the modern world there are two ways to move into the Drinks industry and three if you’re in your 20s. You can either search online or you can pick up the phone and talk to a human. The latter is usually better and less time-consuming. Don’t be afraid of the headhunters. They may help you find something unique and, with the Drinks Industry being full of fascinating but tiny organisations, they may find something far more suitable than you ever could.
Andrew is a London based Account Manager for a premium Czech Lager who, in his spare time, writes articles, short stories and his own blog (manlyeagle). As a proud Yorkshireman, his favourite ale is Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, which is what refreshes him between a long day at work and a longer list of deadlines. See his LinkedIn profile here Andrew profile