Many people are interested in working in the legalized cannabis industry but are unsure of the best way to get their foot in the door. Combining advice from hiring managers with our own personal experiences, we’ve prepared a detailed list of tips to help professionals lock down the marijuana-related career they’re looking for.
1. FOCUS YOUR EFFORTS
A job in the industry can be any number of things– aside from plant-specific jobs like customer care (“budtending”) and cultivation, there are plenty of other regular business duties such as administrative, marketing, legal, and finance. Know your strengths and go after a specific type of job.
2. GET CERTIFIED
Everyone wants to work in the cannabis industry, so becoming certified is an excellent way to stand out in a large pool of applicants.
There are a number of training schools which offer certificates; some are more reputable and informative than others, and very few offer online education options. Read “How to Weed Out Underqualified Training Schools.”
3. MAKE SOME FRIENDS
Go to trade shows and start chatting up company representatives.
Keep your tone conversational, but still professional. Sell them on your personality. After you’ve established a level of comfort and rapport, mention that you’re looking for a job in the cannabis industry, then ask your new friends if their company [or someone else they know] is looking for an employee with your specific skill-set.
Exchange business cards and follow up.
If you’re a medical cannabis patient, befriend the staff of your local dispensary. Visit regularly and remember everyone’s name. On one of your visits, bring in your resume and cover letter and ask someone on the staff to give it to their manager (or better yet, give it to the manager directly if you know who they are).
4. CHECK JOB SITES
Search Craigslist; cannabis industry employers love to use it because it’s free, easy, low key, and very effective.
Check marijuana industry specific job sites like WeedHire, THCjobs, BlazedIn, SoHookedUp, Viridian Staffing, and CannaClassifieds.
You might find something on Indeed or SimplyHired. They’re worth checking.
Don’t bother with CareerBuilder… my attractive cannabis marketing resume with purple pot leaves for bullet points was met with several untargeted responses in which I was offered sales jobs that end in mandatory drug testing.
5. RESEARCH CANNABUSINESSES
Learn more about the company you may be interested in applying to; does their “brand personality” seem to be a good fit with yours?
If the company is in the medical marijuana industry, do they seem more activist or revenue oriented? Do your personal goals seem aligned with theirs? Be sure to adjust your application strategy accordingly.
6. TAILOR YOUR RESUME
Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience in the legalized cannabis industry– hardly anyone does. Just be sure to place heavy emphasis on skills and former job responsibilities that are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
7. WRITE A GREAT COVER LETTER
Take the time to make a great first impression. Proof read everything before it goes out to make sure it is as professional as possible.
Avoid slang terms. Try to use the same words that the company uses.
People want to hire employees that are knowledgeable and passionate about cannabis, but not people who talk more about using the product than how they would apply their unique skills to the industry.
Some peoples’ cover letters read along the lines of “I like pot. I know pot. I wanna be around the pot,” when they should say “I’m a professional. I appreciate and understand cannabis. I would be a valuable addition to your team.”
Send your letter and resume from a professional email address (typically something that involves your real name). If your email address is email@example.com, you won’t generate as much professional interest as you would sending resumes from firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. GET AN INTERVIEW
The most important traits for cannabis industry workers to have are professionalism, passion, and dedication. We’re in the process of breaking stigmas, so be extremely mindful of your demeanor and personal appearance. The entire world is watching the cannabis industry and is waiting for someone they can point and laugh at– you don’t want to be that person, and no company wants to hire that person.
Find a balance; don’t show up to the interview in birkenstocks, but don’t go extreme and wear a full-on business suit. Nobody is looking to hire Stoner of the Year, but they don’t want someone who seems like a narc either.
Demonstrate through knowledge of the company you’re interviewing with; give compliments, ask questions, and make suggestions.
Demonstrate knowledge of state and federal laws.
Cutting off those dreadlocks won’t change who you are as a person, and it will probably help your chances of getting hired (don’t shoot the messenger… we’re just trying to help).
9. FOLLOW UP
Thank the company for the interview, and keep checking in with them every so often to see when they will make their decision on who they’re going to hire. The goal is to demonstrate your strong interest and dedication to the position, short of irritating the hiring manager with too many calls and emails. Know that the majority of cannabis companies are small businesses that do not have the HR resources that a larger company might have, so be patient and keep putting yourself out there.
10. LIVE THE DREAM
If you follow all the steps above, you’ll land an exciting career in the cannabis industry in no time!