Everyone wants to join the cannabis industry, and the high unemployment rate makes this specific job market even more competitive. Here’s some helpful advice on how to set yourself apart from other candidates.
By Alexandra Gomes — December 1, 2020
Many workers are finding themselves jobless due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As the unemployment rate continues to rise, so does the amount recently furloughed individuals out on the job market right now looking for a steady position.
Fortunately, there is one industry that has been thriving and creating jobs throughout 2020 — cannabis.
Here at the lab, we’ve hired 47 employees since this year began and we’re still hiring for many positions. The same can be said for many dispensaries and ancillary businesses throughout the Massachusetts cannabis industry. And because it’s such an exciting industry to be a party of, during a time of extreme economic downturn, these positions have been growing increasingly more competitive.
So we’ve compiled some helpful advice for those looking to join the cannabis industry, whether here in Massachusetts or other cannabis friendly states across the United States.
- Learn as much as you can about the local cannabis industry
Because this industry is so new and ever-evolving, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest market trends, news, and legislative changes. This is a highly regulated industry, so knowing the ins and outs of your state’s specific and often unique cannabis laws will be important in any position.
- Read up on the basics of cannabis
Cannabis is still a new and mysterious product to many. Whether you want to be a budtender or cultivator, an accountant or IT technician, having basic knowledge of the plant and products made from it will always put you a step above other candidates. I recommend reading some books like Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana by Michael Backes and Smoke Signals: A Societal History of Marijuana by Martin A. Lee. These will cover general knowledge of how the plant can be used medicinally and the history behind it.
There are also plenty of resources available on our website. The Cannabis Review is a collection of various studies on cannabinoids and terpenes, while many of our blogs can provide basic information about a variety of cannabis-related topics. If you’re truly new to cannabis, I recommend checking out Cannabis Science for Beginners and The Breakdown On State Regulations.
- Put yourself out there
One of the best aspects of the cannabis industry is the community. People are generally friendly, knowledgeable, and united behind a love for the plant. There are tons of different events happening at any given time, from big trade shows like The Harvest Cup to smaller, educational events put on by folks like The Cannabis Center of Excellence.
Attend these events and be sure to make an effort to gain some contacts. Connect with them on LinkedIn, and keep up with what’s happening at their organization. This is one of the best ways to seek out job opportunities that may not be advertised in traditional ways.
Here at the lab, we host two job fairs a year to solicit candidates for ourselves and other cannabis companies. This year its virtual, however, attendees will still have an opportunity to chat with hiring managers one-on-one during our networking portion. If you’re reading this before 4PM, you can still register to attend here.
- Take stock of what transferable skills you possess
The most common positions to come across in the industry are budtender (sometimes called sales associate) and cultivator. However, many forget that there are a variety of administrative positions needed to run these companies as well. From procurement specialists, to security managers, to business development representatives to more traditional business roles like bookkeepers, human resources associates, or marketing specialists, there are many often overlooked ways to transition to the industry that do not require a background in agriculture or cannabis.
Think about positions you’ve held in the past, and try to find similar ones within the industry instead of trying to mold yourself to fit a certain role.
At the end of the day, employers want to know that you’re consistent, reliable, and capable of the tasks specified in the job description. Those three key features will put you in the running, but all the tips we talked about earlier will set you apart from other candidates. So study up and make those connections. We wish you the best of luck.