Want to work in cannabis? Fantastic, you’re not alone. I’m going to tell you how to get your first job in the highly sought after cannabis industry, and it’s going to be raw. The simple truth is that you’re one of thousands that are going after the hundred jobs and the odds aren’t in your favor. So what do you do? Find ways to increase your chances of getting noticed, interviewed, and maybe even hired.
Think of it like fishing. 99% of people are fishing from above the water like a boat, dock, or river bank. These are your typical job seekers using typical job seeking methods like blasting resumes, searching job boards, or attending career fairs. These strategies are fine if you’re ok with dropping a line and seeing what hits, metaphorically. But if you’ve ever fished you’ll understand the drawback- waiting. And waiting. Casting and reeling. Checking your hook, more waiting. Momentary excitement! Nope, bait fish. Just like job hunting, this can be frustrating and time consuming. But there’s another kind of fishing that utilizes precision, planning, and dedication which tends to result in much more potent harvests.
Spearfishing. For those unfamiliar, spearfishing involves diving underwater, often unaided, sneaking up on a fish, and landing a hyper targeted kill shot, all while completely out of your element. And there could be sharks around trying to jack your dinner or worse. There’s no click it and rip in spearfishing, no set it and forget it. From the moment you enter the water you’re on a specific mission with a predetermined strategy that you know to be effective. So now we understand the concept, where do we begin?
Like most fishing trips, you start with knowing what type of fish you’re after. If you’re looking for a career in cannabis that means finding out what company you want to work for. You can google it, and googling it is something I recommend a lot, but I’ll give you a shortcut. Trade shows. And I don’t necessarily mean attending, they can be pricey. But if you go to the event website you can find a list of the companies attending, a description of services, and usually a website for further recon. Pretty good jumping off point, right? Want to know which companies might have the most money and be looking for expansion? Check the sponsors. Companies that sponsor events are either doing very well or trying flex, so definitely follow through on that due diligence.
Once you’ve identified the companies in the industry and have an idea of who you want to work with, create google alerts like “company name job” “company name opportunity”. You could also create alerts for specialties like “cannabis web designer” or “cannabis dispensary manager (city). Additionally, search the standard job posting websites on a regular basis for the companies as their most recent positions may be listed. You might also consider a cannabis specific job board like Vangst, HempStaff, or Ms Mary’s Staffing.
Follow the companies on social media. I can’t stress this enough, cannabis companies don’t have access to or don’t use traditional channels, but we use social media like ninjas. As the kids say, it goes down in the DM. Follow, interact, don’t harass, and give them a reason to follow back. Following their social profiles will also give you an idea of company culture, values, and day to day life. As far as LinkedIn goes, for the sake of job searching here’s my tip- find someone with the job you want and find similar skills and experiences that you can highlight on your own profile. But don’t be a stalker and don’t just go for the ask.
Your resume and cover letter should also be updated to reflect the qualifications for any positions you apply for. The extra time put into customizing each attempt will be noticed by the person screening resumes and help you stand out.
That covers identifying potential opportunities, preparing your employee profile, and making contact. If everything works out the next part of the sequence is an interview. Before an interview, and I cannot say this enough, review the company’s website. Then review it again before the interview. The key is to communicate why you want this position, not just any position. A lot of people want to work in cannabis just cause it’s cool, but companies want team members that share their passion and their values. If you don’t take the time to understand what the company is all about how can you hope to add value?
After the interview, follow up. Send a nice email and reiterate why you want to work there and how you’ll make the organization stronger by becoming a member. There’s no easy way to get your foot in the door, but there are ways to get closer to the entrance. Remember, a lot of people who love pot want to find a way to make it their career, you’ll need to adjust your approach to cut through the noise. So while everyone else is sitting on the shore you’ll be down closer to the action.