Growing and Cultivation

How to Write the Perfect Cannabis Resume

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So, you’ve made the firm decision to leave your conservative cubicle bubble and transition into the exciting cannabis industry. Fantastic! The good news is that you’ve made a life-changing decision that will place you in a blooming industry that’s more fun than most, where new challenges arise every day. The not so good news: it’s time to fix that resume, shake off the interview rust, and start applying for jobs. There are plenty of cannabis job seekers out there so competition is fierce.

The first thing is first: writing a cannabis resume that will stand tall amongst the crowd of digital files in a cannabis company’s inbox. Your resume is the first piece of information that an employer feasts their eyes on, so it should blow them away. We know it may seem like a daunting task to write a cannabis resume for a position in the legal marijuana space, or a dispensary, so we’ve decided to assist you in the process. Our guide on how to write the perfect resume (which is also applicable in some ways to your cover letter) for the marijuana industry will help you form an overview of the best version of yourself.

writing resume for the cannabis industry

Do Your Research 

Before you even think about tapping away at those backlit keys, slow down. You have to do adequate research to shape your cannabis resume the right way for the dispensary or other type of cannabiz you’re targeting. A deep dive into the marijuana company you want to work for is a necessity. Don’t just peruse their website, scour every social media channel they have from Instagram to LinkedIn. Even if you have dreams of being a marijuana master grower, but are targeting entry-level cannabis cultivation positions, company research is essential. The job application will show you the skills and experience needed for the position, but to get a taste of the company’s culture, you have to do your homework. Find out how the company got started, analyze their mission statement, and observe their presence on social media.

Make it Scannable

Employers have to go through a ton of resumes, and it’s not the most exciting task in the world. And if they’re in the cannabis industry–especially if they’re helping run a dispensary– they have plenty of other things to do, so time is precious. If your cannabis resume looks like a wall of words, even if the content is amazing, chances are the employer won’t get through all of it. Worst case scenario: they won’t bother to look at it! Help them out by making your resume scannable.

Keep each section neat and organized, use headings and subheadings, and keep your bullet notes short and to the point. Make the information lean and easily digestible, and keep it at 1-2 pages–anything beyond that will feel like a novel. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a resume and cover letter for a budtender position or manager role, they both have to be scannable.

Professional Summary

In this section, you’ll write a short 3 to 5-sentence blurb about yourself, explaining why you’re the best candidate for the open cannabis job position at a dispensary or other cannabis organization. Shine a spotlight on the absolute best qualities that make you the perfect fit for the company. Be clear and concise with your words, and treat the section like an elevator pitch–a short speech that sparks interest in your skills, experience, and mindset. Here is an example:

Product Photographer/Videographer

Expert in creating a unique brand aesthetic through photography and video. Over a decade of experience executing photoshoots and video shoots for brands like Nike, Nixon, and Persol. Passionate about capturing the humanity and theme of the brand’s product, making it relatable from a fresh perspective.

cannabis cultivation resume

Work History

When jotting down your work history and duties you performed at each company, be sure to highlight applicable skill-sets for the position you’re pursuing. Potential marijuana industry employers are interested in what you’ve done in the past that has groomed you for the open spot. You may not have prior cannabis experience, and that’s perfectly fine. Relate your skills, expertise, and accomplishments to the cannabis job position you’re targeting. Consider these tips for a more streamlined work history section:

  • Present quantifiable experience (e.g. Increased sales by 20% in the first 3 months as manager)
  • Get straight to the point by stating your exact capabilities
  • Name drop whenever you have the chance
  • Begin each description of your abilities with verbs
  • Write down specific actions taken to solve a problem

Typically, a resume’s work history will start with your most recent or current job and work its way down to your oldest position. However, you might want to consider using a functional resume format if you don’t have any cannabis experience. Using this structure, you place your most significant work experience first, so it doesn’t get buried. With your primary qualifications upfront, there’s a better chance that your cannabis resume will make its way to the coveted interview pile, and you’ll be one step closer to starting one of the many marijuana careers.

Skills & Education 

In this section of your cannabis resume, every skill you showcase should be pertinent to the job you’re seeking to fill. If you have direct experience with cannabis, you’re golden–if you don’t have any marijuana know-how, don’t sweat it. State your abilities and talents that pertain to the position. Organize your transferable skills into two parts: hard and soft.

Hard Skills

Hard skills are teachable abilities that are simple to quantify or measure. They are learned via training sessions, school, or reading materials. In short, they are your hands-on talents that may apply to a variety of industries. Be sure to highlight hard skills that can be applied to the position on deck. Some examples include typing speed, coding, and public speaking.

Soft Skills

Unlike hard skills, soft skills are more difficult to measure, as they are subjective. They’re also referred to as interpersonal skills, as they pertain to how you interact with others. For the cannabis industry, promoting your open-mindedness and ability to play well with others is a major plus. You’ll be interacting with a variety of people, so people skills are a must. Some examples include cognitive flexibility, teamwork, and time management.

Education 

The education portion of your cannabis resume should be no different from what you have on a standard one. List the degrees and certificates you earned, as they might be useful or give you an edge in the decision-making process. For a cleaner look overall, name the institutions you attended, but leave out the graduation dates unless you just graduated. And, if you haven’t attended college, include your high school to inform the employer that you have a diploma.

If you’re seeking high-quality cannabis education–which will definitely give you an edge over the competition–Green Flower Media is the best option. All of their cannabis programs are 100% online, so you can elevate your marijuana knowledge from anywhere and at any time. They utilize a network of over 700 leading experts in cannabis medicine, business, cultivation, retail, compliance, and more, to produce best-in-class content. Having cannabis education on your resume–even if you’re in the process of completing a program–can make a difference. For example, if you’re on the path to becoming a cannabis grower, a cannabis cultivation certificate can help you land an entry-level cultivation tech job. Finding candidates with cannabis education is rare, so you’ll likely stick out in the best way possible with a certificate.

10 Skills to Put on Your Cannabis Resume

If you’re stuck on what skills to put on your resume, check out these examples:

  • Strong communication skills
  • Time management
  • Customer service
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Leadership experience
  • Creative problem solver
  • Conflict resolution
  • Team player
  • Experience with sales pitches

The skills section of your resumes provides hiring managers a quick snapshot of what you bring to the table. Look at what skills the cannabis job requires and include ones that match or come close to what they’re looking for. Consider these three key aspects of writing an effective skills section on your resume:

  • List skills that will impress employers
  • Choose the right skills section format
  • List your skills in order of importance

A few of your skills will only loosely match ones on the cannabis job description. Therefore, you should explain how those skills come in handy when performing the job duties in your work history section.

5 Parts of a Cannabis Industry Resume

  1.  Resume Header – In this section, you’ll display your full name and your contact information. Additionally, it may be appropriate to link to your relevant social media profiles, such as LinkedIn. 
  2. Brief Summary/Overview – After your header comes your professional summary. In this section, present your brand narrative and clearly state why you are the most qualified candidate for the cannabis job. It may be your first time writing a resume for a cannabis industry job. However, you can still communicate why your experience, background, and values make you the best fit to execute the responsibilities of the marijuana job.
  3. Skills – When listing your hard and soft skills, align them with the skills presented in the job posting. Additionally, you want to state any relevant talents that make you stand out for the position. Try to include 10 or more skills in this section. 
  4. Work History – Start with any cannabis work experience you have any. However, you may not have any cannabis industry experience yet, as the space is relatively new. If this is the case, use a functional format for your cannabis resume, focusing on your relevant skills and experience. Include major responsibilities, accomplishments, and awards/promotions. You can even add a section for volunteer experience if it helps you make a better case to land the job. 
  5. Education – Add your college degree(s) and name of the institution(s) you attended. However, avoid including your graduation date unless it happened recently. If you do not have a college degree, include your high school to inform the employer you have a diploma. You can also add your relevant certifications. 

Make Your Cannabis Resume ATS-Compliant

A common misconception is that making your resume unconventional will make it stand out in a good way. Although this may be the case for some scenarios (e.g. creative director jobs), more often than not, it’s better to keep your resume simple. Most cannabis companies will use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). And if your cannabis resume is too complex or unconventional, it may not play well with the ATS.

Stick to one of the three ATS-compliant resume formats, and you’ll have a better chance at getting your resume in front of an employer or recruiter:

  • Reverse-Chronological Resume: Your most recent job is first, and you go backwards from there with work history.
  • Combination Resume: With this format, you start with skills at the top, work experience, and then education. This format is effective for those looking for a career change and seasoned professionals with plenty of work experience.
  • Functional Resume: The main focus of this resume format are your work skills. You follow that up with work experience, education, and additional skills if you have any. It is perfect for people targeting a cannabis job where their work history doesn’t align well.

Also, you can format your resume in a way that makes it easier for an ATS to digest. Here are some ATS-friendly formatting elements:

  • Bold and italic text when it makes sense
  • Bullet points
  • Using text alignments to organize information
  • Using a simple color palette to make it easier to read
  • Columns that run straight across for readability 
  • Underlining for hyperlinks 

On the flip side, there are formatting and design elements that an ATS can’t read. Avoid these formatting and design elements:

  • Graphics, visuals, images, photos
  • Logos and icons
  • Tables or text boxes
  • Unique or fancy fonts
  • Columns that have to be read from top to bottom

If you are applying for a graphic design or marketing position, you may make some exceptions to this list. However, it would be best to showcase your creativity via a portfolio.

writing resume for cannabis industry

Wrapping Up Your Cannabis Resume

Don’t overthink writing your cannabis resume or cover letter. Follow our guide, and you’ll be on your way to producing a clean, organized sheet that highlights your best talents. The cannabis industry continues to grow steadily, and if you’re looking to make a transition, we can help you find your dream job in cannabis–from dispensary budtender positions to executive roles. Contact us at contact@cannabizteam.com for more information on marijuana jobs.

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