Danielle Barber, a wellness consultant for 10 years at Harborside Health Center in Oakland, offers this advice to aspiring cannabis professionals:
“The people who stand out the most are the ones who connect. Having a beautifully written resume and cover letter can certainly help get you the interview, but establishing a true connection with the interviewee and sharing your story can help get you the job,” she said. “Why do you want to enter the cannabis industry? If your answer is not a noble one, that usually gets you overlooked. Demonstrating an ability to be flexible and a desire to learn will help you keep the job once you get it.”
And yes, it is an exciting career path, but it is not guaranteed to be the most fun and easy job you’ve ever had. It might actually be a challenging and exhausting job for a range of reasons:
Here are some other great tips for getting a career in cannabis:
Are you open to working for recreational companies, or do you prefer to work for a medical facility? Do you want to be self-employed, or would you rather work for a company or non-profit? Do you prefer working with people or plants? Focus on your cover letter and resume, and tailor them for each position. Decide in advance what you can and cannot compromise, such as how much do you need to get paid, how far are you able to commute and are there tasks you’re not willing or able to perform?
Make sure you’re getting a legal job for a legal company. At least the basic aspects of your job description and pay rate should be in writing. Take the time to read and understand anything they ask you to sign before signing. If the pay rate is not sustainable, do not accept the job unless you are able to negotiate a living wage.
Yes, the cannabis industry is young, but the cannabis reform movement has existed for decades and some dispensaries have been operating legally for over 15 years. You should not expect to change procedures or marketing campaigns too quickly unless that is what you were hired to do. If you push management to make too many changes too quickly, they are likely to feel offended, threatened or overwhelmed. Fresh energy is usually appreciated, but use caution when criticizing an already existing operation. Build trust before suggesting changes.
Despite the fast pace of this industry, hiring and promotions often happen slowly. Be patient, not pushy. Utilize social media to identify which organizations and events are the best investment of your time and donations. However, use social media sparingly when following up with potential connections – email or in person is better when the relationship is new. For more in-person networking, attend job fairs, workshops and city meetings, volunteer at conferences to receive free registration and patronize a range of dispensaries and other businesses to learn and build a report with potential colleagues.
Cannabis staffing companies can help you identify companies who share your values. Recruiters can give you feedback on your resume, such as advice on whether or not to include illegal cannabis experience. You also might benefit from interview prep with a professional. Some staffing companies offer mentorships — don’t pass up an opportunity to build a relationship with a mentor who has experience in the industry!
Use appropriate language and etiquette. Don’t use slang, abbreviations or emojis when corresponding. Act and dress professionally for events and interviews. Maintain a current LinkedIn profile with a professional photo. Consider obtaining relevant education through a respected training program such as Oaksterdam University or a continuing education seminar. Educate yourself on the history of the cannabis movement — companies will need to maintain a commitment to the social justice aspects of the business in order to compete. As with any other job application, don’t exaggerate your experience. This will backfire when your employer realizes you lied.
TELL US, are you searching for a career in cannabis?