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:
- Figure out what you want to do (exactly)
- Build a strong network
- 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:
I really want a job in Cannabis because the industry is growing... and I like weed! :)
❌ HARD TO HELP
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?
✅ EASY TO HELP
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. 😉
💬 Check out this discussion about roles in Cannabis – hear what some industry vets are saying and join the conversation.
📊 Download the Vangst 2020 Salary Guide to learn more about pay for different roles in the industry.
📄 Read our Top Cannabis Career Kickstarter FAQs, including 3 main differences between working in Cannabis versus a traditional industry.
🎓 Just keep learning, just keep learning... This industry is new and it can be nuanced. Learn as much as you can about the industry, it’s regulations and its roles with our full list of articles here.
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.
Ready to cross over from another industry? Or maybe just level up to that next career move?
- Connect with Spencer, Vangst recruiter and resident "give-you-the-shirt-off-his-back" kind of guy. He's placing great talent weekly for a wide range of our clients.
- Connect with "KB" (Kelsey Barton), talent matching maven with a passion for legitimizing the industry and leveling up its players.
- Connect with Alex, straight-shooter, no b.s. He'll steer you in the right direction to find the perfect match and level-up to meet your career goals.
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 Andrew - "Fast Freddie". He can spot a match in less than 60 seconds.
- 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, Vangst's Head of Community Partnerships. She is a wealth of knowledge and a great person to know for anyone in the industry.
- Connect with Chevelle, Marketing Manager and Social/Events Maven. Chevelle loves ideas about good conversation starters, cool events, and people in the industry we should invite to the party.
- 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.
💬 Jump into the forum to see some industry insiders' Networking Tips + Tricks.
🔍 Find others in the network to connect with. A great place to start is searching for peeps in your area or with similar roles and skills.
✋ Follow companies you're interested in to get updates on their job postings.
📄 Check out our 15 tips for networking in Cannabis (5 min read).
📆 Sign up for the next Ask Me Anything webinar to ask our recruiters those Cannabis industry questions that keep you up at night.
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.
🎓 Learn the industry requirements in your state – knowing these are a must to show employers you have a passion for the job and industry.
📄 Check out our 6 translatable skills to add to your resume (5 min read).
💬 Learn the industry lingo, with The ABCs of Cannabis Acronyms (2 min read), our quick guide to the most commonly-used acronyms you might come across in job descriptions and job interviews.
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 🧡
Membership has its privileges. When you create your Vangst profile, you get direct access to the largest network of cannabis professionals. Make connections, forge relationships, and chart your course in the cannabis industry - it all starts here.Join The Network
Just getting started? We got you. Crossing over? We got you. Climbing the Cannabis ladder? We got you. Search jobs, follow companies, and set alerts for new postings so when it comes to landing your dream job, you never miss a beat.Search Jobs