3 Tips for Getting Started in Cannabis

The Vangst Team / May 07, 2021
hero-graphic-3 Tips for Getting Started in Cannabis

How do I get a job in Cannabis?

Seriously, what's the magic trick?

Landing your dream job is hard. When that dream job is in an emerging, highly-regulated industry, it can feel even harder. Whether you’re looking to break in, or just level up, here’s our guide to get you closer to where you want to be – one easy step at a time.

Ok, for starters, that headline up there is probably the wrong question. “How do I get a job in Cannabis?” is a big, gnarly question, and big gnarly questions can leave any of us feeling stuck. So we’re going to start by breaking that down into smaller, more actionable bits. Here’s a better question:

What are the things that lead to a job in Cannabis?

Of course, there are a ton of factors. But here are the 3 basics we always come back to:

  1. Figure out what you want to do (exactly)
  2. Build a strong network
  3. Tell your story and show your passion

In this guide, we will dive into each one in more detail, talk through the common mistakes we see people make (yes, even smart people), and give you some easy, practical next steps to make progress today.

How do I get a job in Cannabis?

1. Figure out what you want to do (exactly) 🤷

Sure, that might sound obvious. But there’s an important detail here that many people miss: the less specific you are about what you want, the harder it is for others to help you. Take two hypothetical examples of the types of people we hear from often:

Candidate A I really want a job in Cannabis because the industry is growing... and I like weed! :)


Candidate B I really want a job in Cannabis, but don't have a ton of experience in any field. I'm totally willing to work my way up and get my hands dirty. Where's the best place to start to get a ground-level view, specifically on the cultivation side of the business?


Not only is Candidate B a better-sounding candidate, but because she’s more specific about what she’s looking for, she’s also more likely to get additional tips, direction and connections from other people in the community – which will in turn continue making her a better, more informed candidate (and the loop continues!).

**So what does that mean for you? ** Whether you’re looking to become an hourly budtender or a COO – narrow in on the role(s) you’re seeking, go deep, and get specific. The more you know about what you want (or think you want), the more specific your questions can become, which will better enable the community to help you along your journey.

Next step to dial in your job search:

Join the next live AMA (Ask Me Anything) with a seasoned Vangst recruiter. Ask questions about the roles, companies and categories you’re interested in, and how your current skills might crossover. Or, even just ask us, “what questions should I be asking?” That’s a perfectly great place to start too. 😉

And also...

How do I get a job in Cannabis?

2. Build a strong network 💪

The old saying is, “who you know matters.” That’s true... but also not the full story. The strength of your network isn’t just about who you know, or how many total people you know, it’s also about how strong each of those connections are. Strong connections come from genuine interactions.

Common pitfall to avoid: overthinking it! One question we often hear is "where do I begin?" It can feel hard to start, especially if you approach "networking" as some highly tactical strategy to getting a job. Sure, connecting with someone on Vangst is "networking." But also replying to someone's post on the forum, joining a virtual event, following a company you like -- those are ALL "networking" too.   So step 1 to build your network: become an active member of the community. Jump in, join the convo, follow your interests, be curious, ask questions, reach out, say hi. The rest will follow.

Next step to making great connections in Cannabis:

Connect with key players on the Vangst crew.

Just want to break in? Start somewhere? Start with a GIG. This crew is always looking for ready-to-work folks.

  • Connect with Cassidy - "Boss". Gunslinger and client-whisperer. Always looking to fill upcoming slots before we've even posted the job.
  • Connect with Taylor - "BFF". Chill demeanor, but motivated AF to help you land that GIG.
  • Connect with Tenisha - "Machine". Next level experience in temp and temp-to-hire recruiting.

Just feeling social and want to rub-elbows with fellow community enthusiasts?

  • Connect with Kelsea, our Head of Community Partnerships. She is a wealth of knowledge and a great person to know for anyone in the industry.
  • Connect with Analyse, Customer Success at its best. Have a random question? Trouble with your account? Need a shoulder to cry on? Analyse can sort you out and point you in the right direction. You should probably just connect with her no matter what.

And also...

How do I get a job in Cannabis?

3. Tell your story & show your passion 📣

Landing a job isn’t only about your work experience. It’s about how you present that experience, and how you augment that experience with critical intangibles, like your passion for the job and passion for the industry. Because Cannabis is a fast-growing industry, it’s more important than ever to make yourself stand out.

On telling your story: "On your resume, there’s two things you want to convey: actionable items, and the scale at which those were achieved. There’s nothing worse than saying, 'Responsible for...' Responsibilities don’t convey that you’ve succeeded. Whenever you can, you want to lead with a verb. 'Completed,' 'Achieved,' 'Managed.' And then convey the scale of it. 'Managed a team of 20 full time employees, and trained 60 seasonal employees every holiday season.' Those are the things [employers] will get excited about."

– Spencer, Lead Talent Manager at Vangst

On showing your passion: “A resume will get you an interview, but who you are will get you the job. The best way to stand out is by being genuine about why you want to join the cannabis industry and begin educating yourself on what that transition will look like. Learn about the industry, understand the regulations, and start networking with advocates in your area. The barrier to entry into cannabis may be high, but by setting yourself apart from the average applicant, you’ll be able to join a great team.”

– Kelsea, Head of Community Partnerships at Vangst

Next step to level up your personal brand:

Learn the ins and outs of Cannabis vertical integration (5 min read) – Ok, ok... we know that might sound like an odd next step – but we’ve found this is a really great specific topic to dig in to. Familiarizing yourself with the stages of vertical integration in Cannabis will help you understand the jobs and companies better, and being able to speak to the laws by state will help you stand out from other candidates.

And also...

**Welcome to the community! ** That’s it for our guide – but, of course, this is just the start. Cannabis is an amazing industry and community, full of some of the sharpest, most ambitious entrepreneurs out there. It’s a blast, and now’s the time. Jump in, have fun, and – of course – please reach out with any questions you have. We’re here to help, any way we can.

– The Vangst Team 🧡

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