How to get your foot in the door of the cannabis industry.

The cannabis market is a rising industry with multiple career paths that can lead to success. Despite my vast experience in cannabis, I only landed my first dispensary job in AZ after submitting my resume everywhere for over a year. Over the course of that year, I learned what set me apart, and how my resume is the first impression of who I am for a potential employer. These careers are heavily associated with cannabis, but dispensaries don’t require a background of past experience in a “grow room, club, or collective,” which very few people posess.

A majority of dispensaries are looking for retail, medical care, and inventory control backgrounds, but anyone with knowledge and experience in cannabis can find success in this industry.

A majority of dispensaries are looking for retail, medical care, and inventory control backgrounds, but anyone with knowledge and experience in cannabis can find success in this industry. We’ll start with some resume basics for applying to a dispensary, and how to present yourself on paper. We will also discuss two types of resumes, one for those who have experience, and one for those who do not.

How to Position Your Work and Life Experience to Standout

Applying to a dispensary can make you wonder, what does my resume need to look like for me to get a job? Professional, is the answer for this job and any other job, now and always! The format, spelling, and grammar should be your first concern, followed immediately by the content. Is pie eating champion of 1999 a notable accomplishment? Yes, but it would be a great example of content you don’t need on your resume. How relevant is the summer you spent working at The Corndog Hut? It depends on what on what you gained from the experience and how you choose to present it. That said, recent work experience is always pertinent to your next job, but summarize the position and detail the work you were responsible for. How you summarize and articulate yourself matters; I made the corndog batter every morning to make the corndogs all day, vs. My responsibilities were opening the shop and completing the daily prep for food service. These summaries present you far better than taking the potential employer through a workday.

As with any employer, volunteer work is also desirable in a potential hire, list any experience related to health, care, and wellness is usually favored. I also incorporate my lifestyle knowledge into my resume as much as possible, this can be diet, education, or career knowledge. Education, skills, and references are important, all of which should be honest and listed in an easy to read format. I tie my skills or education into my past job summaries to demonstrate the application of those skills and education. Skills gained from education and past jobs can also be important to add. Being able to use Excel, or Microsoft Office, the internet, cameras, social media, and other forms of technology are simple additions to a resume that can add large amounts of value to a potential employer. Reading your resume and editing the length to keep the employer involved is also recommended. If you include large descriptions on every facet of your resume, it becomes too much to read and retain when looking at countless other candidates who do the same. Crafting a strong resume will take several edits, but when ready, it will change how you are engaged for a potential job.

Focus on Your Skills and How They Apply to a Dispensary

Approaching the legal industry can be daunting for those who are gaining experience from black or grey markets. I’ve encountered those who had great success in those markets only to find how challenging it could be finding legal employment, while others entered to immediate success. On a resume, summarize your role and describe daily responsibilities but avoid getting too in depth about business details. I would also advise this for those entering from another state, as it’s beneficial to see the laws and operating procedures of the new market. It can be successful to learn and try new procedures, techniques, and technology in all fields related to cannabis before crafting your resume. Building a list of skills was something I found to be beneficial, as it informs employers of my knowledge. This led to interviews focusing on my personality and fit into the business, instead of the basic questions breaking the ice. These resume changes and basics got me into some of my best interviews as much of my background was established, as was my understanding of cannabis. Incorporating my work experience in the cannabis industry was beneficial but I found my work credentials outside of cannabis to be just as important.

Anyone can enter the cannabis industry within the legal requirements, but with or without professional training or experience in cannabis. A successful retail salesperson or natural medical student could make excellent budtenders, as they both relate to facets of the position. Relating those skills back to budtending, and communicating that experience should be the focus of your resume. Often when listing skill sets, I will also relate them back to how they would come into play when working in the dispensary. An example of this might be, use of a kitchen scale to complete recipes which can translate easily into deli style service of cannabis where accurate operation of a scale is crucial. Along with whatever experience you have in, or outside the industry, a cover letter that speaks to your experience with cannabis can be beneficial. Any experience is experience, if you’ve been smoking for a long time, describe learning weights, prices, and quality. Most dispensaries have a position for rolling pre-rolls, if you have been rolling your own, you have experienced a dispensary need. Communication will be your best asset, and how you decide to present yourself for the job will determine your results. A resume will be your handshake, it is a presentation that you will not present, it must present itself.