As the cannabis industry is still in its infancy, work opportunities abound within the field. While more and more states legalize the medical and recreational use of marijuana, related job openings are multiplying rapidly. Unfortunately, navigating a new industry can be tricky, especially when there are so few veteran workers from whom to glean advice.
One surefire way to help get your foot in the door of any industry, let alone one as new and uncharted as the cannabis industry, learning how to write a cover letter for the cannabis industry to go along with your cannabis industry resume.
Why You Should Write a Cover Letter for the Cannabis Industry:
Close to half of all applicants don’t even write a cover letter when applying to a job. This means writing one at all will immediately place you ahead of a significant swath of the competition.
But this doesn’t mean any cover letter will do. In fact, recruiters and hiring managers often consider the quality of a cover letter’s contents as a deciding factor between interviewing one applicant over another. In other words, if two jobseekers have similar backgrounds (went to similar schools, have similar work histories, etc.), the strength of their respective cover letters might have the power to determine who lands the interview or job offer.
The ability to effectively communicate is a massively important soft skill in nearly any work environment, and writing a high-quality cover letter is an effective way for an applicant to immediately demonstrate their ability to do this well.
Even if you have personal experience with recreational or medical marijuana, it’s a better idea to emphasize your formal work experience above all else, even if it’s appears less relevant to the cannabis industry. Despite the likelihood that those reading your application would have little negative bias toward heavy cannabis use, personal experience in that realm isn’t exceedingly relevant to your professional career.
5 Critical Elements of a Cover Letter for the Cannabis Industry
Being familiar with the core elements of a cover letter is hugely important in order to effectively write one of your own. If you lack the time or confidence to put one together yourself, you can always rely on a cover letter builder.
However, if your goal is to write your own cover letter, make sure your document includes these five important sections:
1. Personalized Greeting: Research the name of the hiring manager, grow site operator, or dispensary owner as it’s best to address your cover letter directly to them. Taking this step shows your willingness and ability to do research and take the initiative.
If you’re unable to find a specific name, it’s perfectly fine to address the company’s hiring manager, recruitment team member, or general manager generically. However, avoid using “To Whom It May Concern” when addressing a cover letter as it can be seen as cold and impersonal.
2. Engaging Opening Paragraph: Let this section succinctly summarize why you’re applying for this job. Use this paragraph to inform the hiring manager of what attracted you to the position in the first place, while suggesting that you’re well qualified to take it on.
3. Value-based Second Paragraph: This is where you’ll make good on the clues you dropped about your qualifications in your opening paragraph. Your number one goal here is to draw as direct a connection as possible between your qualifications and the job posting’s experience requirements. Think of this as a laser-focused pitch that illuminates why you’re the most qualified candidate for the position.
4. Body: This paragraph or two shouldn’t hold back any information. It’s here that you should spell out the appeal of your qualifications. Either via short paragraphs or a bulleted list, let the relevant details of your work history do the talking here. Use the space economically while still loading it with as many positive selling points as possible. Remember, you should be illuminating the most impressive elements of your background here, not repeating sections of your resume, word-for-word.
5. Compelling, Summarizing Closing Paragraphs(s): Take this last chance to drive home to your potential boss what kind of employee you’ll be if you are hired. Be sure to thank them for reading over your application, and don’t be afraid to express early interest in expanding on your qualifications in an interview. Suggest a desire to learn more about the position.
7 Tips for Writing a Cover Letter for the Cannabis Industry
The following tips should help make your cover letter into a better companion to your resume, mostly by highlighting practices to avoid, as well as offering a few pieces of wisdom that often help jobseekers become hired.
It’s important to remember: use the flexible nature of your cover letter to creatively fill gaps in your resume. Breaks in your employment history, a willingness to relocate, and a reasoning for changing careers can all be creatively contextualized here. In a cover letter for the cannabis industry, it’s great to highlight your wealth of transferable skills to signal that you’re ready for whatever a growing company could throw your way.
1. Fill in the gaps. If your resume is stuck with empty portions of its timeline, writing a cover letter is the best way to put any related concerns held by a potential employer to rest. Highlight the ways in which you were still gaining experience during any periods of unemployment, whether you were attending classes or exploring new hobbies.
2. Differentiate it from your resume. In order for your cover letter to best complement your resume, it’s actually best to let it stand on its own as a unique document. Aside from the bit of necessary overlap when discussing your qualifications, use this opportunity to add to the information on your resume. Allow your cover letter and resume to make each other stronger.
3. Avoid a flashy cover letter. Though it’s a fine goal to ensure your cover letter is aesthetically pleasing, conventional wisdom dictates that applicants should typically avoid including images or overly showy borders and fonts. While the cannabis industry certainly has a less conservative reputation, you might still want to play it safe unless you have an inside understanding of the business’ work culture or the manager’s preferences.
Research the name of the hiring manager, grow site operator, or dispensary owner as it’s best to address your cover letter directly to them. Taking this step shows your willingness and ability to do research and take the initiative.
4. Show a willingness to relocate, if necessary. It’s possible you may live somewhere with relatively heavy legal restrictions on the use or possession of marijuana. If that’s the case, your cover letter would be the best place to point out plans to relocate (or at least a willingness to do so) to a region with more legal opportunities in the cannabis industry.
5. Maintain a first-person perspective. While the word “I” doesn’t belong anywhere on a resume, your cover letter is the perfect place to sell yourself from a first-person perspective. It may feel like you’re sounding too self-absorbed, but don’t worry, it should be your goal to make yourself sound as qualified as possible.
6. Maintain professionalism. Even if you have personal experience with recreational or medical marijuana, it’s a better idea to emphasize your formal work experience above all else, even if it’s appears less relevant to the cannabis industry. Despite the likelihood that those reading your application would have little negative bias toward heavy cannabis use, personal experience in that realm isn’t exceedingly relevant to your professional career.
7. Use a professional cover letter builder. Still need help putting together a cover letter for the cannabis industry? In case you feel you’re in need of guidance, you can always check out LiveCareer’s top-notch cover letter builder.
Or, if you’d like a hand with your accompanying resume for a cannabis industry job, we have plenty of advice to offer there, as well.