BWF PicToday’s college graduates face increasing competition for the fewer jobs that are out there. We often are asked by college students, “What do I have to do to get hired?”

Many students chase the courses that seem to align with a particular profession hoping that their formal education in a specific area will attract an employer all by itself. It won’t!

Many students who put themselves through school with borrowed money face double jeopardy. First, the payback on the loan they’ve taken out is sometimes 3 and 4 times the amount borrowed, and because they had funds from the loans, they didn’t feel pressured to get a job while in college. So they pass up the opportunity to get real-world experience. Yet that experience is one of the qualifications an employer is seeking.

Here’s our short list of what employers are looking for today:

1. Experience. It is better if it’s in your chosen profession, but even if your experience is not, it demonstrates that you can and have held down a job. Hopefully, your boss provided you with a great recommendation you can put on your résumé. So, while you are going to college, consider working your way through, even if it makes your curriculum extend beyond the typical four-year standard.  That job gives you a big edge over the students who just borrowed their way through school. And if you do borrow, you’ll be in a much better position to pay it off.

2. Entrepreneurship. Yes, employers are now starting to hire grads with entrepreneurship education and experience over those who don’t have it. Why? Because they want to hire folks that understand that all the money- including their salary, benefits and bonuses- originates from the sales of the company’s products or services. They want folks who understand that sales and customer service is the key to maintaining and growing cash flow. They basically want to hire people who really understand how their position fits into the big picture of the company.

3. Stability. Probably the first thing employers do when confronted with a ton of résumés is to eliminate the ones that look “unstable.”  Instability is easy to spot because it’s measured by how long you have held onto each job. If, for instance, you have been jumping around from job to job with less than one-year tenure at each, it makes them question, “Why should I hire this person? The training alone will take 3 to 6 months.” It’s difficult for a college student to demonstrate long-term tenure with an employer, but holding on to a part-time job for two years or more speaks volumes.

4. Ethics. What was the biggest mistake you made working for an employer and how did you handle it? No, it’s not a trick question. It’s all about whether you cover up and blame others, or whether you take responsibility for your own behavior – and sometimes, for the behavior of others. Employers want to hear that you are honest and can take responsibility. So, if you can, demonstrate what you did to make sure you, or anyone, wouldn’t make that mistake again. It may be that you rewrote the policies and procedures; checklists and signoff sheets; or even put a new clause in a contract or a sign on the door! Employers want to hear how you added permanent value to your last employer’s company.

Remember, when all the résumés are lined up, you want yours to stand out. Employers are looking for employees that will justify their investment in time, money, and training. Your resume has to say, “I’m worth the risk!” So make sure your resume distinguishes you from the rest. We wish all the grads good luck landing that all-important job after graduation!

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact