With nine U.S. states already allowing recreational use of marijuana, 18 more permitting medical use, and even more pro-pot ballot measures scattered across this year's mid-term elections, available cannabis industry jobs are more prevalent than ever.
Last year, California alone saw 38,233 people working directly with weed, and 18,165 people in jobs tangential to this growing industry (pun intended). Naturally, this might make jobseekers ask how they, too, can join those capitalizing on this booming field. But before you jump in headfirst, you'll need to put together a cannabis industry resume.
Not sure where to start in such uncharted waters? Worry not. We'll walk you through the essential components of writing a resume for a cannabis industry job. But, first, let's start with a broad overview of the job titles in the cannabis industry:
(Before we dive into the industry-specific titles, know that in most ways, the cannabis industry is just another field of business; it needs graphic designers, copywriters, delivery drivers, event planners, and salespeople. There are even journalists that solely cover this industry. While the titles below might seem unusual or pot-specific, keep in mind that you likely won't have to radically re-invent your skillset when getting your foot in the door.)
Cannabis Industry Job Titles
This job entails just what the cheeky title implies: These people serve the product directly to the customer, answering any questions about it they may have. From describing the differences between Indica and Sativa strains to breaking down percentages of THC and CBD content, "budtenders" are commonly compared to pharmacists or wine sommeliers.
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As much as those in these positions are meant to be informative, they must also often lean on previous customer service experience, as they'll likely be the face of the dispensary. Charged with interacting with and learning the preferences of customers, communication skills are critical, as well.
If you live in an area that still has legal restrictions on cannabis products, relocating – or showing the willingness to relocate — to somewhere more pot-friendly may massively increase your chances of landing a job in this industry.
Before the product is ready to make its way to a dispensary, it first needs to be harvested and processed. Trimmers are responsible, of course, for trimming and separating the usable portions of the marijuana plant from any waste, usually at the same site in which they're grown.
Beyond that, trimmers need to be able to identify the different parts that make up a cannabis plant (stems, fan leaves, sugar leaves, "hairs," etc.) so each section can be properly separated and sorted. Many job postings describe this work as mostly physical labor, noting that workers should be able to lift around 50 pounds and be able to perform repetitive motions for long periods of time.
While cannabis consumption is most often associated with smoking, the increase in legally acquirable marijuana has made for a spike in the availability of edible forms of pot. And whether a business is selling gummies, brownies, truffles, or macaroons, they'll always need people to make them!
Extracting the THC, CBD, and other elements from the plant is often a job on its own, as there are myriad ways to approach the process. The rest of the time, the baker claims this responsibility along with the rest of their more traditional baking duties, in which they swap out certain ingredients for cannabis-infused versions (like "THC butter," for example) to produce treats that give the consumer a sometimes delayed, if longer-lasting high.
Grow Site Operator
Surely the most broadly defined of each of these titles, responsibility-wise, this person might alternatively go by "manager," or "owner." Like any other administrator or executive decision-maker, those in this role are usually in control of hiring, ordering supplies like fertilizer or grow lights, and for handling sales and distribution.
In some cases, unless they have hired other people to specifically do so, it's likely that grow site operators interact directly with agents from various dispensaries that would eventually sell their products. In other cases, some dispensaries can double as grow sites, increasing the profits cultivated by those in charge of the operation.
Despite the newfound prevalence of medical and recreational marijuana, there are very few formal avenues for education on the subject.
A quick Google search reveals a number of online and in-person cannabis-focused training programs, which cover topics like the difference between THC and CBD (the active agents in marijuana), and the ways in which CBD-based products can be used in treatment for people with mental disabilities or chronic physical pain/illness.
The positions may be few, but there is certainly a demand for those qualified to educate medical professionals such as doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and others.
5 Basic Sections of a Cannabis Industry Resume
- Resume header. Every resume's header should display both the name of an applicant and their contact information. While email and phone number are absolutely essential, including one's home address is considered unnecessary today. It might also be appropriate to link to any relevant social media profiles, such as your LinkedIn account or your professional portfolio, depending on the position to which you're applying.
- Professional summary. This section contains a short statement about yourself that makes clear why you're the most qualified candidate for the position. Three or five of its lines should be dedicated to illuminating those specific qualifications in a clear, brief way. Even if this is your first time writing a resume for a job in the cannabis industry, use this space to communicate why your specific background has equipped you so well to tackle these responsibilities.
- Skills. Use this section to emphasize whichever of your hard or soft skills are also listed in the job posting, along with any of your other talents that might pertain to the position. Every skill mentioned here should be relevant to your potential new responsibilities. Aim to add five to 15 skills to this section. If you need help putting together such a list, check out the sample skills in the next section.
- Work History As it is a relatively new industry, it's not surprising for applicants to have little to no cannabis-industry work experience. To combat this, try using a functional format for your resume, which focuses on skills. and experience by relevance instead of on a chronological work history. Additionally, if you need to, don't be afraid to list more non-work experience like volunteering or leadership roles in recreational activities. If you include such work-like experience, go ahead and change this section's subhead to the more accurate "Relevant Experience."
- Education. If you have one, go ahead and include your college degree on your resume for cannabis industry jobs. Depending on which kind of position you're after and the type of degree you've earned, a degree might prove useful. Be sure to include the name of the institution you attended, but don't list your graduation date unless it occurred very recently. If you haven't attended college, list the name of your high school to tell the employer you received your diploma.
14 Skills to Use on a Cannabis Industry Resume
If you still need more skills to fill out the essential section mentioned above, take a look at these 14 examples, which you're free to use as well:
- Customer service
- Strong communication skills
- Experience with point-of-sale systems
- Friendly disposition
- Ability to lift heavy objects
- Ability to perform repetitive movements
- Attention to detail
- Sales experience
- Experience leading, or working with a team
- Time management
- Basic math proficiency
- Conflict resolution
Transferable Skills for Your Cannabis Industry Resume
Since you've likely never worked in the cannabis industry before, you're not alone. But savvy job seekers in the cannabis industry learn how to write a resume that focuses on transferable skills.
Transferable skills are those you've acquired through other jobs, internships, volunteer work, or other experience that are useful in the job at hand. The majority of the skills listed above could apply to nearly any position, regardless of industry.
Were you captain of a basketball team in high school? That would have required leadership abilities, which could apply to many prospective roles. Did you greet customers at your family's restaurant? The customer service skills gained from that type of work come in handy across industries. If you have more directly relevant work experience, that's great too, but don't be afraid to mine your past for these types of skills if they're needed for your resume.
4 Tips Writing a Resume for a Cannabis Industry Job
- Remain professional. Despite how much personal or recreational experience you might have with cannabis, it's best to lean more on your formal experience, even if it initially feels less relevant. Even if your potential boss holds no negative bias toward heavy recreational marijuana users, past use simply isn't very relevant to your body of work experience.
- Target your transferable skills. The cannabis industry is full of recently founded, ever-growing companies, and your skillset should reflect that you can grow with the business. Keep an eye out for which transferable skills may come in handy as you move upward in the company. Customer service, experience using a cash register, and leadership experience are some that could be emphasized on a resume for a cannabis industry job.
- Only use a functional format if it's necessary. While a functional resume format may be the solution to a lack of applicable work experience, only use this method if your previous jobs are truly irrelevant or nonexistent. The cannabis industry is so new that most hiring managers should understand if the bulk of your experience is only loosely related to your desired position.
- Keep relocation in mind. If you live in an area that still has legal restrictions on cannabis products, relocating – or showing the willingness to relocate — to somewhere more pot-friendly may massively increase your chances of landing a job in this industry.So, if you were considering leaving your address on your resume, and you live somewhere with these heavier restrictions, it may be best to remove information regarding your location.
Know that in most ways, the cannabis industry is just another field of business; it needs graphic designers, copywriters, delivery drivers, event planners, and salespeople. There are even journalists that solely cover this industry. While the titles below might seem unusual or pot-specific, keep in mind that you likely won't have to radically re-invent your skillset when getting your foot in the door.
Try a Professional Resume Builder
If you're having a tough time constructing that resume for a cannabis industry job, feel free to take advantage of our professional resume builder. The tools provided by LiveCareer can help a user quickly put together a top-notch resume, regardless of their design or writing abilities.