Top 10 Insider Tips to Landing a Cannabis Job

By André van Regenmortel, CMO of düber Technologies Inc.


Ask anyone who’s trying to break into a new field how it’s going, and you’ll likely be met with one word: daunting. When you don’t have previous experience in a certain sector, it can seem next to impossible to get your application seen by the right people. While still difficult, the good news for those trying to enter the legal cannabis industry is that the turning tide of legalization is creating unparalleled job growth. Below are ten tips I hope you’ll find useful when transferring into the cannabis industry.


#1 – Be introspective and do your research

The first question may come as a surprise, but you need to ask yourself, is this really what you want? The industry is booming and growth is off the charts, but make sure you truly align with the mission of a specific company before applying. If you’re reading this article, you might be a cannabis consumer. This can give you insight into some jobs in the industry, but not most. Cannabis companies need top talent in marketing, finance, law, operations and logistics, software development, event planning and many other roles that don’t require interacting directly with the product. To learn about these, do your research.


#2 – Minimize change

Once you’ve decided this is the right move for you, look for jobs that match the skills you already have. It’s tough to break into a new industry. It’s almost impossible to do that while also taking on a new role for which you don’t have relevant experience. For example, if you’re an accountant, you can provide a valuable service to cannabis companies. Once you have a job in the industry with your existing skill set, it’s possible to work towards a different job, but take it one step at a time. Due to the fast pace of growth, it’s possible to get promoted faster here than in other industries. Put in the time, prove yourself and you’re well on your way to a successful career.


#3 – Enjoying cannabis is not a prerequisite

This might come as a surprise to you, but it’s not necessary to be a cannabis user to join the sector. There are some jobs that have closer involvement with the product (growers, budtenders) but there are thousands of other jobs out there. For the majority of these, you don’t have to be a user.


#4 – Know the legal landscape

Cannabis is unlike any other industry due to the discrepancy between state and federal legal status. It’s something that cannabis companies take very seriously: staying legally compliant is complex and mission-critical. Know your state’s laws on the matter, and position yourself accordingly. For example, there are more states where medical cannabis is legal than there are recreational states. If you want access to a wider variety of jobs, consider relocating to a state that enjoys recreational status. However, proceed with caution when going down this route. It can be logistically challenging to secure a job outside of your home base and you might not get a job right away if you do move.   


#5 – Survey jobs boards

Believe it or not there are specific sites out there that focus solely on recruiting for cannabis-related companies. Check out the likes of Vangster and Ganjapreneur to see which companies are hiring and the types of roles available. Success can be had just through jobs boards, but the impersonal nature can make progress difficult.


#6 – Make connections

Like any other job search, making personal connections is a fantastic way to speed the hiring process along. Look up trade shows in your area, or attend one of the many cannabis-themed events out there. LinkedIn is your friend here: search for people with the position you want and reach out to see if they’re willing to chat about their professional path. Don’t just randomly send your resume out on LinkedIn. Build authentic connections and learn from those who have already traveled along your intended path.   


#7 – Carefully vet training programs

There are training programs for the cannabis industry, which offer specialized education. When looking at these, be sure to research how long the program has been around and who designs the curriculum. Ask if they offer certification, and what organizations are behind their certificate. These might be a good fit if you’re just starting out in your career and want to strengthen the relevant education part of your resume. Going down this route can give you a leg up in the hiring process, but it isn’t necessary.


#8 – Understand current events

Events happen fast in Washington D.C. these days, and sometimes it seems that every week brings a new development to the industry. This means different things to different companies, depending on the role they play. Stay on top of trending news, but keep in mind that cannabis will be around longer than any one administration and opinion polls are consistently growing in favor of full legalization.


#9 – Prep for interviews

Again, securing a job in cannabis is more similar to other industries than it is different. Hiring managers will look at your relevant professional background, educational experience, personality plus how you fit with their mission. You want to come across as knowledgeable about the company you’re applying to and the industry in general. Craft what you hope to accomplish in the desired role and industry. Remember that this is just as much of an opportunity for you to interview the company as for them to interview you.


#10 – Keep at it

A recent study from The Ladders shows that recruiters spend an average of six seconds on a resume before making a decision about fit. Job opportunities are steadily increasing as legalization spreads, but hiring is still competitive. You might have to apply to dozens of positions if you lack a personal connection. Don’t get discouraged and don’t take just any job if it’s not the right fit for you. If you’re taking the massive effort that a proper job search requires, it’s worth making sure you really like that new job. The last thing you want to do is take a job only to leave within six months. That has the potential to burn valuable bridges to future employment.