Sean Cooley | Oct 08, 2020

What You Need to Know about the Vangst 2020 Cannabis Career Fair

Networking is hard. Networking in a heavily regulated and scrutinized industry like cannabis is even harder. Networking in cannabis during a pandemic: damn near impossible.

For us recruiters at Vangst, 2020 has been an adventure, to say the least -- namely, our signature in-person career fair events have had to be shelved. However, the cannabis industry is nothing if not resilient, and with companies already ending hiring freezes and ramping up hiring plans heading into next quarter, we’re here to meet that increase in workforce demand.

So this year we’re going digital, get your backdrops ready and remember to wear pants, as we’re putting on the first Vangst Virtual Cannabis Career Fair.

If you’re a job seeker, we’re here to help you get connected, charge ahead, and grow your career alongside a growing marketplace. The fair is free to attend and will offer everything from interview prep and resume building advice to expert insights from a variety of renowned speakers. Whether you have extensive prior experience in cannabis or you’re new to the business and want to gather more information on how to get a job in the cannabis industry, the Career Fair will be a valuable opportunity to network like a professional.

If you’re a job seeker, the fair is free to attend and will offer everything from interview prep and resume building advice to expert insights from a variety of renown speakers.

For employers -- companies of any size that are considering adding headcount, both short-term and long-term -- working with Vangst gives you access to the deepest pool of talent in cannabis. No matter what level of seniority you’re hiring at, Vangst has innovative solutions to get you connected with the right person for the right job. Having a booth at this year’s Career Fair lets you screen and follow up with every candidate who comes your way, showcase your brand, create in-booth conversations, and chat in a virtual networking hub.

Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your career fair experience.

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What is the Vangst Virtual Cannabis Career Fair?

The Vangst Virtual Cannabis Career Fair is a curated event for job seekers to digitally connect with the leading businesses hiring in the cannabis industry. By the numbers, expect to see:

  • 3,000 job-seeking candidates in attendance
  • 100+ interactive booths and panels for attendees to network, learn, and connect
  • 50+ industry-leading voices
  • 2 days designed to connect the top talent in cannabis

In addition to providing attendees with an opportunity to engage directly with hiring companies, the Career Fair is packed with speaker sessions featuring industry leaders on the Main Stage as well as career building workshops on the Vangst Stage (see full schedule).

“We organized this virtual career fair in the hopes that it will introduce job seekers to the full range of available roles within cannabis,” said Vangst CEO Karson Humiston. “We want to provide exposure to every type of opportunity - from plant-touching to ancillary, cultivation to tech, and everything in between - and give them the tools they need to join this growing industry, no matter what their path is."

New this year: Social Equity Programming

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Many states have implemented social equity programs to create opportunity for individuals who’ve been negatively impacted by The War on Drugs. But many questions remain: who is eligible, how do these programs work, and what barriers still exist? The Main Stage agenda kicks off with a special session “How Employees, Entrepreneurs, and Advocates Can Participate in Social Equity Programming” led by cannabis reform nonprofit Last Prisoner Project, aiming to help social equity candidates understand how they can make the most of programs in their state and teach advocates everywhere how they can commit to the cause.

Additionally, the Vangst 2020 Virtual Career Fair will prioritize justice-impacted social equity candidates by using Smart Queue features in the event platform to give wait priority to job-seeking attendees who choose to self-identify as a justice-impacted social equity candidate. Recruiters whose state policies allow them to hire felony applicants will indicate their participation in this program in the "About Us" section of their booth.

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Reasons to Attend the Career Fair

For job seekers, this Career Fair is an opportunity to get connected, sharpen your industry knowledge, and, ultimately, get hired. We know that these days, America’s job market is looking a little… well, hazy. Yet, growth in cannabis in 2020 is still slated to outpace last year.

So if you’re looking to break into the business or upgrade your current job, the Vangst Virtual Career Fair will be the hottest cannabis networking event of the year. The event is free to attend and registering will grant you access to:

  • Hiring reps from more than 50 top cannabis companies

  • Previews of networking and job opportunities on Vangst.com leading up to the event

  • Panels on a wide range of topics - from social equity initiatives to branding

  • Advice and insights from hiring experts at Vangst

  • Interview tips, resume prep, Cannabis 101 and more

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Preparing for the Fair

Marijuana job fairs are an excellent way for job seekers to hone in on the right opportunities and submit resumes to dozens of companies looking to hire. Heading into the event, some prep work will go a long way in putting your best foot forward

Finding your Ideal Job Fit

Whether you're hoping to begin your career in a new space or you're an industry veteran seeking new opportunities, there's a place in cannabis for everyone. Need help narrowing down your search? Consider these questions:

What kind of work do you want to do?

Roles in cannabis are diverse: there’s cultivation, lab and extraction, manufacturing, retail, and corporate/administration services. You’ll also want to determine if you’re looking to work part-time or full-time and whether you’re a specialist or a generalist.

Would you prefer working with the plant or working on the ancillary side?

“Plant-touching” jobs are found with operators that are cultivating, processing, or dispensing cannabis and cannabis products. Positions at “no-touch” and ancillary companies don’t directly involve the plant itself, instead they involve a product or service to the industry such as packaging, real estate, banking solutions, or legal consultation.

Are you planning to stay in-state and are you licensed as needed?

Even given the current boom in remote hiring, as one of the many consequences of federal cannabis prohibition, your job prospects will increase if you have access to a state that has a medical and/or recreational (also known as “adult use”) marijuana program. Some states require additional licenses, work requirements, and background checks which can be found on this map of state cannabis requirements

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5 Tips for Navigating and Networking

1. Be flexible

Every licensed business in the cannabis space is essentially a startup so keep this in mind when setting your expectations. Many companies are growing fast and might not have a traditional onboarding process, or even an HR department established, yet, so be ready to adapt and absorb those imperfections throughout the interview and hiring process.

2. Embrace change

Change is constant in the cannabis industry, and companies pivot fast. A single update to state cannabis regulations can force a company to change its product line or alter its entire strategy. If you’re someone who thrives in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment, you’re on the right track.

3. Ask questions

It's fair game to ask about the company’s leadership, funding, licensing, and future plans. You’ll also want to learn about where the company operates. Is it based in one state or are they a multi-state operator (MSO)? Does it operate in medical cannabis states only, adult-use only, or both?

4. Showcase your unique skill set

Show how your particular skills and experience are relevant to the company you’re interviewing with. Displaying an interest in the cannabis industry itself is a great jumping off point, but companies need people who bring more to the table than just passion. If you're coming in without prior cannabis business experience, be prepared to translate your skills from your work history.

5. Prepare to wear a lot of hats

Many cannabis companies have fewer than 50 employees, so all team members are expected to roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to build the company from the ground up. If you thrive in an environment of change and opportunity, this is the place to be.

Helpful Job-seeking Guides from the Vangst Blog

Read up on all the latest cannabis industry trends and get career guidance from the subject matter experts themselves (that’s us, btw).

How to Work in the Cannabis Industry – Requirements by State

Crossing Over to a Career in Cannabis: What You Need to Know

The Top 6 Translatable Skills to Add to Your Cannabis Resume

The Cannabis Job Seeker's Guide to Remote Interviewing

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Using Vangst in your Future Job Searches

Stretching beyond this year’s Career Fair, Vangst is a crucial asset to any cannabis-related job hunt as it's the top community to connect with if you're looking to network, any time of the year. Our mission at Vangst is to design - and always improve - solutions to meet the needs of all verticals in the market. These are three easy ways to follow up from the fair:

Whether you're a newcomer planning to begin your career in a different space or you're an industry veteran seeking new opportunities, there's a place in cannabis for everyone, Vangst’s mission is to help you find yours.

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Steve DeAngelo, Founder, Last Prisoner Project

Mary Bailey, Managing Director, Last Prisoner Project

Emily Paxhia, Managing Director, Poseidon Partners

Gia Moron,Tri-State Market Leader Director, Women Grow

Wanda James, CEO, Simply Pure Dispensary

Jill Ellsworth, Founder & CEO, Willow Industries

Janet Hoffman, VP of Human Resources, The Green Solution

Karson Humiston, CEO, Vangst

Yoni Myers, Partner, Casa Verde Capital

Chi-Chien Hou, Managing Director, AFI Partners

Charlie Bachtell, Founder & CEO, Cresco Labs

Ryan Smith, Founder & CEO, LeafLink

Kristi Knoblich Palmer, Co-Founder, Kiva Confections

Lauren Spagnuolo, Director of People Ops, Wurk

Andrew Belanger, Human Resources Manager, Buddy Boy Brands

Catherine Gonzalez, Director or HR, Kiva Confections

Dara Williams, VP of HR, LeafLink

Stephanie Jenkins, SVP of Sales, Flowhub

Nick Cruz, Field Sales Manager, Caliva

Lewis Koski, COO, Metrc

Ryan Bacchus, President, California Cannabis Coalition

Weldon Angelos, Founder, The Weldon Project

Dave Cuesta, Director of Licensing Strategy, Quest Enterprises

Stacy Hopkins, Product Manager, Flowhub

Mark Sost, VP of Engineering, LeafLink

Chris Ostrowski, Chief Technology Officer, Dutchie

Christine Hodgdon, COO, Vangst

Dan Banks, Director of Cultivation Strategy, Lightshade

Julia Jacobson, Co-Founder, Aster Farms

Beth Kotarba, COO, Native Roots

Nick Drury, Director of Cultivation Ops, Lightshade

Coree Schmitz, GM, Stillwater & Ripple Brands

Suzannah Rubinstein, Director of Marketing, LeafLink

Peter Barsoom, CEO, 1906

Joe Hodas, CMO, Wana

Charlie Wilson, CRO, Greenbits

Grant Troeger, VP of Retail, New England Alternatives

Jessica Assaf, Co-Founder & Chief Education Officer, Prima

Hilary McCain, CEO, Sweet Reason

Amanda Wise, Founder, House of Wise

Rosie Mattio, Founder, Mattio Communications

Jeremy Berke, Senior Reporter, Business Insider

Jonathan Small, Editor-in-Chief, Green Entrepreneur

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Find addition panel details listed on the Career Fair Agenda

Main Stage Day 1

Social Equity and Us - 9:00am - 9:45am PT

Vc in the Green Rush Era - 10:00am - 10:45am PT

Women in Cannabis -11:00am - 11:45am PT

High-Powered Growth - 12:00pm - 12:45pm PT

The Best Teams are Born Here - 1:00pm - 1:45pm PT

Growth Strategy, Cash Flow, Expansion... Oh My! - 2:00pm - 2:45pm PT

The United States of Cannabis - 3:00pm - 3:45pm PT

Main Stage Day 2

Cannabis Tech 101 - 9:00am - 9:45am PT

Cultivation 101 - 10:00am - 10:45am PT

Lab & Extraction 101 - 11:00am - 11:45am PT

Brand Building 101 -12:00pm - 12:45pm PT

Retail 101 - 1:00pm - 1:45pm PT

Hemp & CBD 101 - 2:00pm - 2:45pm PT

Cannabis Journalism & Communications 101 - 3:00pm - 3:45pm PT

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When is the Vangst Virtual Cannabis Career Fair?

October 21-22nd, 2020.

What time is the Vangst Virtual Cannabis Career Fair?

The event will run from 9am-5pm Pacific Time both days.

Where is the Vangst Virtual Cannabis Career Fair?

The internet. More specifically, the event page can be found at:

vangst.com/events/cannabis-careerfair.

How do I sign up?

Starting 10/12, the event will live on Brazen.com, our event platform. Registrants can begin creating their profiles, previewing booths, and browsing and pre-applying to showcased jobs on Vangst.com. Until then, you can still pre-register on the Career Fair landing page.

How much does it cost to attend?

The event is FREE for job seekers and industry networkers. Booth packages start at $500 for recruiting sponsors.

What platform will the fair be streaming on?

Brazen.com. You can access these helpful videos to understand how to engage with our event platform as both a candidate and as a recruiting representative:

Recruiting Rep 101

Job Seeker & Attendee 101

How can I best present myself over video?

Prep well, and make sure you’ve done a tech check. Take a look at Vangst’s Guide to Remote Interviewing to learn how to put your best foot forward, and make sure to do a quick tech check pre-event to make sure you (and all of your equipment) are in perfect working order for any video chats that arise over the course of the event. Pro Tip: make sure that you run your tech check on the same browser and the same device as you plan on using for the actual event!

Will the Career Fair be recorded?

All public sessions will be recorded for future viewing. However 1:1 video sessions will only be available to you and your interviewing representative and will not be recorded (be sure to take notes). You will be able to access your full chat transcripts after the event ends via your Brazen platform profile.

What states will be represented?

We’re anticipated recruiting sponsors who operate and have open positions in one or more of the following states:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington

We also have volunteer and mentorship programs run through Last Prisoner Project, The Weldon Project, and National Expungement Week that provide mentorship, volunteer, and advocacy opportunities for community members in all 50 states.

Review all state employment requirements to ensure that you have the necessary credentials to legally work in cannabis in your desired state. Keep in mind that ancillary, non-plant-touching companies may operate in states where cannabis is not yet recreationally legal. Be sure to do your research and understand the opportunities legally available to you in your desired state of employment!

Where can I find job postings?

Vangst.com/jobs

How do I apply for jobs?

Pre-apply on Vangst.com and on the days of the Career Fair, click to chat directly with the booths and job listings that interest you most. If you’ve pre-applied and/or if you are a justice-impacted social equity candidate, you’ll receive waiting list priority in the booths of participating companies. You can find information on participating companies by viewing the “Opportunities” tab in company booths of interest to you.

How do I create a profile?

As soon as the Brazen event platform opens on 10/12, you’ll be prompted to create a profile upon registration.

To pre-apply to jobs prior to the event and to stay connected with the industry’s top companies after the event, you’ll also want to create your candidate profile on Vangst. To get started, simply visit Vangst.com/sign-up and complete some basic information about you, your employment interests, your top skills, and your work history.

Who is the point of contact for questions or help?

Brazen Support will be fully on-call during the event; you can access support by navigating to the “Help” tab in your event profile once logged in.

For questions and concerns prior to the event, reach out to support@vangst.com.

Take the next step in your career, register for the Vangst Virtual Cannabis Career Fair today

Sean Cooley is Head of Content and SEO at Vangst, he wishes that cannabis career fairs had come into existence a lot sooner.

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