Cannabis has gone from a burgeoning business opportunity to a full-fledged, multi-million dollar industry. With rapid growth and an ever-expanding market share, there’s never been a better time to hop in on the latest gold rush. If you’re new to adult-use or medical cannabis, getting your foot in the door can seem like a daunting task. But like most other industries, it’s wisest to start at the beginning: deciding what job you’d like to take and building the perfect resume.
“While it’s true that the industry is growing and evolving, you need to do enough research to figure out what the job is that you want to do,” said Bryan Olson, Cannabis Community College Professor of Career Development and Chief People & Administrative Officer at Columbia Care.
“It’s unreasonable to expect the company where you want to work to figure it out for you. Show that you are invested enough to figure out what you bring to the table and how that translates into the job that you want to do.”
If you’re unclear about what makes a resume perfect specifically for cannabis, you’re in the right place; we have a few tips and tricks to help you write a resume that stands apart from other job seekers. Whether hoping to work in marijuana dispensaries, as a cannabis grower, or the multitude of other jobs in this space, we’ve got you covered.
Cannabis Industry Cover Letter
Cover letters: no one wants to do them, which is why you must write a cover letter. The good news is that cannabis cover letters are fairly simple. Take this as an opportunity to be yourself and don’t worry about sounding like a professional writer. You’re applying for cannabis, not a major publication. Show what you can bring to the table outside of your work experience, and what would make you a great part of the team. Research the company’s goals or mission and find areas in your life that align.
The shorter a cover letter is, the better. Consider it a roadmap to your resume. Include all of your pertinent skills in the first short paragraph, then go into more detail about each one in the following one or two. Finally, briefly explain how you would apply those skills in the workplace, but keep it a sentence or two max.
Cannabis Industry Resume Template
Cannabis industry resume templates vary ever so slightly by position. For instance, a budtender resume is going to focus on different skill sets than a cannabis cultivation resume would, but the broad strokes are similar. Regardless of the position you’re aiming for, you can find a great cannabis resume example below; divided into in-depth sections for clarity.
A resume header should be beyond simple — just include your name and contact information. Although it’s incredibly short and simple, it’s very important for every resume writer to include it. If you have a professional portfolio or an up-to-date social media page, like LinkedIn, you can include those in this portion as well. However, if you don’t have a portfolio or your LinkedIn page isn’t pertinent to the position, it’s not necessary to include.
A professional summary is exactly what it sounds like: a literal professional summary. Here, you write a short three to five short sentences about what makes you the most qualified for this position. If you have relevant work experience, you would include that here as well. If you don’t, this section is an opportunity for you to articulate why your background has endowed you with the skills to handle this job. The key thing to remember here is concision, and that goes for the entire resume. The last thing you want is a confusing, bloated resume that’s hard to read. Think of it like a picture — the layout and ease of read should naturally draw the eye from the top of the page to the bottom.
When including your work history and responsibilities, make sure only to highlight skill sets that apply to the specific position you’re seeking. If you don’t have any prior cannabis experience, don’t panic. Most cannabis employers are aware it’s a newer industry with a large pool of inexperienced employees, so they’re more interested in what you’ve done in the past and how that might be applicable to the position.
Don’t forget to include your accomplishments in each position alongside your expertise. If you’ve worked in customer service and increased sales or implemented a better inventory system, that’s perfect to include for budtender jobs. If you really have no work experience at all, consider reframing this section as a “relevant experience” section. And if that’s the case, you can include non-work experience like volunteering, leadership roles, school groups, etc.
“The work history section of your resume should then reinforce these skills by showing specific achievements that demonstrate how you have successfully applied them in your previous roles,” adds Olson.
“These sections will help set your resume apart as someone who desires to enter the cannabis space, has transferrable skills to bring to the table, and has been thinking about how those skills can be useful to the target company.”
While not a necessity, highlighting your specific key skills goes the extra mile and shows dedication to recruiters.
In this section, you should divide your skill set into hard and soft skills. Obviously, if you have experience in the cannabis industry, and have developed specific skill sets through it, you want to include that.
Hard skills are a set of specific abilities that are able to be demonstrated in a measured way. Most hard skills can be learned through courses, classes, or work experience. Oftentimes, hard skills are related to technical skills. For instance, if you’re adept at video editing software like Adobe Premiere, that’s a hard skill. Those are hard skills if you’ve worked in the food industry and are familiar with POS systems like Clover, Toast, or Square. Look at your past and see if there are any hard skills that align with the cannabis job you’re seeking.
Soft skills are a little more abstract and difficult to define than hard skills. Think of soft skills as interpersonal skills as they’re not unique to any specific jobs. A soft skill that most people have probably heard of is “self-starter.” Soft skills can be more generalized than specific as well: communication, problem solving, etc. Picking soft skills does require a bit of research because you don’t want to list dozens of irrelevant skills simply because it looks good. You should look into the position and the company you’re applying for, anticipate their needs, and pick genuine soft skills that are applicable. Since it’s cannabis, an understanding of cannabis strains, cultivation practices, marijuana products regulation, medical marijuana, pest control, terpenes, or overall cannabis knowledge is worth considering for inclusion.
Most jobs in the cannabis industry value years of experience over education, but that’s not a blanket statement. If you have a college degree, be sure to include it in this section. Unless you graduated recently, your graduation date isn’t too important. If you don’t have a college education, it’s not an automatic denial, however. Don’t immediately disqualify yourself from the position just because you don’t have a degree. Feel free to include your high school or any schooling you do have. The key here is not to lie. You’re much better off being honest and earnest than lying.
Cannabis Resume Example
In addition to the recommended cannabis resume information we’ve provided above, it’s always important to show the results of your work to the best of your ability. Detailing the ways in which you’ve been able to provide value to previous employers is always recommended. While this may be more difficult with entry-level roles, recruiters and HR departments like results.
Check out this brief resume sample for a high-level cannabis position, which features work history and education, courtesy of Cannabiz Team:
Candidate: John Doe
Company 1 – City, ST
VICE PRESIDENT/GM – OPERATIONS (2020 – 2022)
SNAPSHOT: Vertically integrated site. Significant presence in the recreational marketplace, growing to top 3 in many categories, #1 in pre-rolls. Primary focus is to drive the facility top line revenue and margins. Annual wholesale facility revenue increased $100MM in 2 years.
- Led all aspects of cultivation (greenhouse and indoor), operations and logistics, including extraction, distillation, and packaging.
- Integrated LEAN/visual management concepts to drive profitability and efficiency.
- Significantly improved product quality and reduced complaints.
- Optimized delivery to over 100 retail locations.
- Streamlined hiring/on-boarding, oversaw development of new employee training program and movement to visual job instructions.
- De-bottlenecked/automated production processes
- Increased canopy 60%, increased headcount from 165 to 450+
Company 2 – City, ST
VICE PRESIDENT – OPERATIONS (2019 – 2020)
SNAPSHOT: Start up cannabis company. Significant presence in the recreational marketplace, growing presence in the OTC CBD marketplace. Primary focus is to drive the facility to profitable EBITA, streamline manufacturing to allow sales goals to be met, and moving facility toward cGMP status and support clinical trial activity for two cannabis based pharmaceutical compounds.
- Led all aspects of operations and logistics, including extraction, distillation, and packaging.
- In a growth/capital constrained environment, set strategic direction, prioritized resource allocation, developed hiring plan, and drove results orientated improvement initiatives.
- De-bottlenecked procurement/production processes
- Streamlined manufacturing/sales interfaces and workflow•Drove the resolution of several construction related deficiencies
- Institution and development of a cGMP work environment to support FDA filing strategy for a cannabis-based pharma compound.
Company 3 – City, ST
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS (2018 – 2019)
SNAPSHOT: Led high volume sterile manufacturing operations for key manufacturing sites. Budgeted span of control of ~450 FTE/Contractors. Exposure to biosimilars manufacturing, combination device, single dose syringe, high-speed packaging, controlled substance manufacturing. Site produces over 150MM sterile dosage units per year.
- Led various aspects of Drug Product and Biologics manufacturing, including sterile filling, visual inspection, and packaging.
- Set strategic direction, prioritized resource allocation, project selection, and drove results orientated improvement initiatives
- Upgrade and modernize visual inspection procedures and equipment.
- Led the streamlining of manufacturing/business processes with integration of the production system–over 30% improvement in RTE over the project to date.
- Drove the resolution of several long-term manufacturing issues that had a significant impact on yield, line speed, and compliance. \
EDUCATION & CERTIFICATIONS
University of X
B.S. CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
CPR/First Aid Certified | Level A Hazardous Materials / Incident Commander
With that, you have the foundations for an excellent cannabis resume. To summarize, see that your resume includes a new tailored cover letter for each application. Then, ensure it’s easy to read, scannable, and laid out nicely as this will show you’re an effective communicator and value tidiness over sloppiness; very hireable qualities. Only include hard skills, soft skills, and any work history that pertains to your desired position. And, above all, truly evaluate all of your past experiences — be it education, leadership roles, or work history — and think about how you can apply it to the cannabis industry.
Best of luck!