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How to Write a Winning Cannabis Resume in 2024

Her cannabis resume got her the budtender job!
Her cannabis resume got her the budtender job!
Her cannabis resume got her the budtender job!

Looking to begin or further your career in the cannabis industry? Crafting a compelling cannabis resume that goes beyond simply listing your skills and experience is key.

In this article, we share helpful tips and insights for creating the perfect cannabis industry resume. We will help you showcase your unique selling points in a way that will give you a competitive edge in landing your dream job.

Key Takeaways

  • Craft a punchy professional profile to catch the employer’s attention and detail your relevant work history, hard skills and achievements to highlight how they’ve prepared you for the specific cannabis industry job titles you’re applying for.
  • Include any education, professional certifications, interests, or learnings that are relevant to the role. For example: If applying for a budtender job, highlight your customer service skills and product knowledge, or your interest in the positive effects of different medical marijuana strains.
  • Differentiate yourself by including job-specific keywords, showing how you align with the company’s mission and values, and delivering it all in a clean, clear, professional format.
  • Leverage the assistance of professional resume writers, the latest AI tools, and the industry experts at Viridian Staffing.

Crafting the Perfect Cannabis Resume

Young man thinking about his cannabis resume.

Landing a job in the cannabis industry is about more than just a passion for the plant. It requires showcasing your unique skills, experience, and understanding of this unique industry in a well-crafted job application and resume.

With the explosion of medical and recreational marijuana industry jobs, HR managers are on the lookout for candidates who can skillfully communicate their hard and soft skills and align with the company’s mission and culture.

How can you channel your passion and unique strengths into a compelling resume? Let’s delve into the details!

Start with a Compelling Profile

Just like a potent cannabis strain, your professional profile should pack a punch! This is the first section hiring managers will read, and it sets the tone for the rest of your resume. Highlight your most relevant skills, work history, and enthusiasm for the industry in a concise and compelling way.

Remember, your profile isn’t just a summary of your resume; it’s your chance to hook the recruiter and make them want to keep reading.

A well-crafted profile can mean the difference between a cursory glance and a second look!

Highlight Your Relevant Experience

Your work experience section is where you detail your past achievements. Whether you’ve been a Grow Tech, a Retail Manager, or acquired other relevant hard skills outside of the regulated cannabis industry, this is the section where you highlight how your past roles have equipped you for the job you’re eyeing.

Emphasize the relevant tasks and responsibilities you’ve handled and how they have made you a qualified candidate for the role you’re applying for.

Include quantifiable metrics whenever you can, such as how much you increased revenue or efficiency, or any other key performance indicators (KPIs). Remember, industry employers aren’t as interested in what you’ve done, as they are in how you can meaningfully contribute to their cannabis business.

Education & Certifications

While a degree might not be a prerequisite for many cannabis jobs, showcasing relevant education and certifications can give you an edge. Your education section can highlight courses or certifications that have honed your knowledge of subjects such as:

  • cannabis science
  • cannabis horticulture
  • cannabis extraction
  • cannabis retail

Whether you have a college degree in a related field or have completed a quality cannabis training program, including this information can bolster your credibility and show you’re serious about your career in cannabis.

CAUTION: Not all cannabis education providers are created equal. Some are headed by genuine cannabis industry experts that have been around for decades (like Oaksterdam University) and have a great reputation and then there are many that your average cannabis employer has never even heard of.

There are also an increasing number of accredited universities that are offering cources and majors in cannabis-related specialties. These are generally a safer bet than unaccredited online education providers that didn’t exist a couple years ago.

If you’re considering a sizable investment in such a program our advice is to contact the employer(s) you are targetting and find out which education providers and certifications are meaningful to them. That way you can rest assured you aren’t wasting your valuable time and money.

Essential Elements of a Cannabis Resume

A cannabis resume sitting on a table, next to a cannabis vape pen.

Crafting a standout cannabis resume is about more than just showcasing your skills and experience – it’s about presenting them in a clear, professional, and compelling way. From your contact information and professional links to your resume layout and design, every element of your resume plays an important role in making a positive impression.

Structuring for Success: Resume Layout and Design

The layout and design of your resume can significantly impact its readability. A well-structured resume is easy to scan, making it effortless for hiring managers to identify your skills and experience. Avoid long paragraphs like the plague! Use clear headings, bullet points, and consistent formatting to ensure your resume is easy to read and your key selling points leap off the page.

And while it might be tempting to use fancy fonts or design elements, remember that simplicity and professionalism will almost always serve you better. Stick to clean, professional fonts like Arial or Times New Roman, and avoid cluttering your cannabis industry resume with too much non-essential information.

Choosing the Best Format

A resume is more than just a document – it’s a marketing tool! And just like any good marketing tool, it needs to be tailored to your audience and the needs of the situation.

One of the most important decisions you will need to make is which resume format to use. The two most popular options are the reverse chronological format and the functional resume. While most people will choose the chronological structure, there are times when using the functional resume format can be a powerful way to highlight your key selling points.

Let’s discuss the reasons why you might select the functional format to emphasize your transferable skills.

When to Choose the Functional Format

A functional resume format can be particularly useful if you’re changing careers, have gaps in your employment history, or are new to the cannabis industry.

Instead of detailing your chronological work history, as most resumes do, a functional layout allows you to showcase your most relevant skills and experience first. This makes it easier for the person scanning it to see what is most relevant before they assume you’re not the right fit and move on to the next application.

This can also help to draw the hiring manager’s attention to your soft skills and what you can do, rather than where you have worked and when.

However, if you are well into your career, or the role you’re applying for is very similar to your last one, whether it was in the cannabis industry or not, a traditional, reverse chronological format is likely your best bet. You can still draw attention to your most relevant selling points in your profile and resume objective at the top.

Emphasizing Your Transferable Skills

Whether you’re a seasoned professional making a career change or a recent graduate, you likely have skills or relevant certifications that are transferable to the cannabis industry. These skills can be either hard or soft and might include things like a knack for marketing, expertise in horticulture, or strong interpersonal leadership skills.

Hard Skills include specific expertise like:

Cultivation, Botanical Extraction, Regulatory Compliance, Quality Control, Retail Sales

Soft Skills include personal qualities like:

Adaptability, Communication Skills, Problem-Solving Ability, Attention to Detail, Leadership

Highlighting these transferable skills in your resume can show potential employers that you have what it takes to succeed, even if you don’t have any previous industry experience. So be sure to draw attention to them regardless of the resume format you choose.

Contact Information and Professional Links

Last, but not least, make sure the hiring manager can find your contact information.  Be sure to include the following at the top of your resume:

  • Your Full name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Location

As a job seeker, you want to make it as easy as possible for potential employers to contact you for an interview.

EXAMPLE: The Anatomy of a Budtender Resume

Young man dropping off his cannabis resume at his local medical marijuana dispensary.

If you’re looking to land a budtender position, it’s helpful to understand what makes for a standout budtender resume and application. This role requires a blend of people skills, customer service experience, deep knowledge of cannabis products, and a knack for consultative sales.

To get a better idea of what to include in your own application, consider finding and reviewing a few budtender resume examples. If you’re still not sure where to begin you might try utilizing a budtender resume template. Such tools can be helpful as guidelines, but always be truthful about your actual experience.

If you have never actually done a particular thing before, like operating a specific point of sale (POS) system, communicate how what you have accomplished in the past suggests that you have what it takes to be good at it.

How exactly do you convey your specific abilities and experience in your resume? Let’s dig in!

The Heart of the Application: Your Resume Objective

Your resume objective is the heart of your application. It’s where you get to highlight your qualifications and goals in your budtender resume.

But remember, it’s not just about what you want – you should focus on what this particular employer is looking for. Show how your hard skills, personal qualities, and experience align with the needs of this particular cannabis business, and how you’re eager to help the company reach its goals.

This is your chance to show the recruiter that you’re not just looking for any job – you’re responding to this specific job posting, like you actually took the time to read it!  (You did read it, right?)

Highlighting Your Strengths: Skills Section

Now, let’s get to the meat of your resume: your skills section. This is where you demonstrate your strengths and show why you’re the most qualified candidate for the role. Don’t just list your skills – provide examples of how you’ve applied these skills in previous roles.

Whether it’s your exceptional customer service skills, your knowledge of various cannabis strains and products, or your experience with particular point-of-sale systems, make sure each skill you highlight is relevant to the position. Whenever possible, use the same keywords the employer used in their job posting, so they stand out.

Creating a Connection: Cover Letter Essentials

Don’t underestimate the power of a compelling cover letter. While not all employers require one, including a tailored cover letter can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role and offer insights into your personality that a resume alone simply can’t. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to highlight your good character and positive attitude as these are qualities that every smart employer values highly.

Your cover letter should complement your resume and provide a narrative that connects your skills and experience to the specific requirements of the budtender role. It’s your chance to tell your professional story, explain why you’re passionate about the cannabis industry, and create a personal connection with the hiring manager.

Distinguishing Your Cannabis Resume

A young woman writing her cannabis resume.

In a sea of applications, standing out is essential. Distinguishing your cannabis resume is about more than just having the right skills and experience – it’s about presenting them in a way that captures the attention of hiring managers. Let’s look at ways to enhance the appeal of your cannabis resume.

Showcasing Your Cannabis Knowledge

If you have it, your knowledge of the cannabis industry can be a significant asset in your job hunt. Whether it’s your understanding of different cannabis strains, your awareness of industry regulations, or your insights into evolving market trends, showcasing your industry expertise can help set you apart from other candidates. It can show potential employers that you’re more than just a candidate – you’re an industry enthusiast.

But be careful not to take this too far! While it’s good to be confident, you don’t want to come off as grandiose or arrogant. Nobody likes a “grow it all” and cannabis industry employers are particularly allergic to job seekers who come off as uncoachable.

By the same token, don’t pretend to have specific industry knowledge or expertise if you don’t. If they don’t realize you’re fronting when reviewing your application, they will find out during the interview process. If you lack industry know-how, your second best option is to lean into your genuine curiosity and enthusiasm for the sector. Either way, humility and authenticity are essential!

Social Savvy: Including Relevant Social Media Profiles

In today’s digital age, being social media savvy can be a plus in the job market. Including links to your relevant social media profiles, especially LinkedIn can give potential employers a glimpse into your network, your industry involvement, your personality, and even your character. They can also help demonstrate that you’re up-to-date with the latest industry trends and are actively engaged in the cannabis community if that’s the case.

But remember, always ensure your social media profiles are professional and align with the image you want to present to potential employers. Otherwise don’t include them and consider making them private.

You will also want to make sure that any resume you send to an employer is not contradicted by what is shown on your LinkedIn profile. While tailoring your resume to a specific job can give you an edge, falsifying or confusing your background or experience will likely get you eliminated.

With that said, one of the best ways to make your resume stand out from the rest is customizing it to the job you’re applying for.

Tailoring Your Resume to Different Roles

A tailor measuring a man for a suit.

The cannabis industry is large and diverse, with a wide range of roles and responsibilities. From budtenders to growers, each role requires a unique set of skills and experiences. That’s why it’s helpful to tailor your resume for each specific job (or job type) you apply for.

We’ll discuss how to utilize job-specific keywords, highlight your relevant accomplishments, or leverage some extra assistance to craft a custom resume that hits the target.

Position-Specific Keywords and Phrases

Using position-specific keywords in your resume can help to catch the eye of hiring managers. These keywords, often found in the job description, will help highlight your relevant skills and experience.

Doing so can also prevent your resume from getting filtered out by applicant tracking systems (ATS) that scan for relevance. Using the right terms will also increase the likelihood that your resume will get flagged by the company’s ATS as a strong potential match.

Spotlight Role-Relevant Achievements

While listing your previous responsibilities is important, highlighting your achievements can really make your resume stand out. Achievements demonstrate your capabilities and show potential employers what they can expect if they hire you.

Whether it’s increasing sales at a previous job, implementing a new inventory system, or receiving an award for exceptional customer service, don’t be shy about showcasing your relevant achievements.

Leverage the Power of AI Assistants

An AI (artificial intelligence) helping a woman optimize her cannabis resume for the cannabis job she wants.

If the idea of preparing a different version of your resume for every job you apply for sounds tedious to you, you are not alone!   Thankfully, our Big Tech overlords have graced us with new solutions!

Artificial Intelligence platforms based on large language models (LLM’s), like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Microsoft’s Bing Chat, and Google’s Bard (among others) can be incredibly helpful in creating different versions of your resume that are targetted to the job you’re applying for while also being true to your experience. They can most definitely help you optimize your resume for job-specific keywords.

This approach works best when you have already written a long-form version of your resume that includes more detail than you would ever provide when applying to any particular job. You can then have the AI Chatbot read that resume, followed by the job posting or job description you’re applying for to help you decide not only what to include, but how to best frame your talents and experience in a way that is most relevant and impactful.

Given the conversational nature of these chatbots, you can either have a conversation with them, asking for recommendations on how to tailor your resume to that particular opportunity or have it attempt to re-write your resume with that particular cannabis job in mind. Seeing as these LLMs are connected to the Internet, they can leverage thousands, if not millions, of existing cannabis resume examples when crafting yours!

If you choose the second option, make sure to have it limit the length to one page (two at most). Make sure to read over the new version carefully to make sure that everything remains accurate. Unless you find writing really challenging, chances are very good that you will be able to make considerable improvements by editing the first draft that the AI produced and you should certainly try!

Get Help From a Pro

A young woman receiving professional advice about how to improve her cannabis resume.

Let’s face it, for most of us, it’s tedious enough to write one good resume that skillfully summarizes our career and achievements, much less having to write a different one for every job we apply for.  Thankfully, there are people who do this for a living!

Find a Certified Professional Resume Writer

For those who can afford them, engaging the services of a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) can pay huge dividends! Websites like the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC) or the National Resume Writers’ Association (NRWA) include directories of certified members.

You can also search for CPRW’s on Freelance Platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer. These platforms feature profiles, reviews, and work samples to help you choose the right writer for you.

However, if you currently lack the time or resources, or just prefer to do things yourself, you might also consider enlisting the assistance of any number of the previously mentioned AI Chatbots.

Have Viridian Staffing Refine Your Resume For You

Whenever our recruiters decide that you’re a great match for a job that our cannabis industry clients have engaged us to fill, they will reach out to you to see if it’s an opportunity you are interested in. If you are, and everything checks out, we will ask your permission to submit you for serious consideration.

At that point, our recruiters will often customize your existing resume to bring extra attention to aspects of your skills and experience that make you an ideal match for the role. In other words, we will help you put your best foot forward!

If you’re interested in having our recruiters contact you if/when they believe you are a strong potential match for a role we are working to fill, you will want to take the long-form version of your resume and Apply/Register with us today (if you haven’t already). This information is only viewable to our recruiting team and you can update (or remove) it whenever you like via our Candidate Portal.

Navigating the Cannabis Job Market

Adults chatting at a cannabis industry networking event.

Landing your first job in the cannabis industry can be challenging, but it can also be fun! The industry is growing fast, but so is the number of people who want to be part of it.

Whether you’re just starting your job search or have been on the hunt for a while, investing some time to research and understand the cannabis industry job market is key to discovering your ideal career path.

If you are still trying to get a sense of the various jobs and career paths that are currently available in the industry, we recommend checking out our Cannabis Industry Jobs & Careers page.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss how you can expand your network, identify companies that share your values, and position yourself for success in this exciting industry.

Company Cultures & Aligning Values

When it comes to landing a job in the cannabis industry, fitting in with the company’s culture is as important as having the right skills. Every cannabis company has its own unique vibe and values.

By researching a company’s mission statement and stated values, you can determine whether it resonates with you and then tailor your resume to show how you align with them in a way that’s truly authentic. This not only shows that you’ve done your homework but also that you’re invested in the company’s mission and are likely to be a good culture fit.

Unfortunately, not all cannabis companies practice their stated values, so if you really want to know what it’s like to work for a particular company, go check out their profile on Glassdoor, or talk to people who currently work there. How do you meet these people? Networking!

Networking in the Cannabis Industry

In the cannabis industry, who you know can sometimes be as important as what you know. Networking can help you meet other professionals in the field, learn about job openings before they’re posted, and get valuable insights about particular companies and important trends.

Whether it’s by attending industry events or joining any number of industry organizations, expanding your network can give you a BIG leg up in your job search! We highly recommend identifying cannabis industry organizations and events that are active in your area. They are often formed around specific state markets, industry sectors (like Growers or Retailers), or identity groups (such as gender or ethnicity).

Summary

People jumping for joy because their cannabis resume helped them land a cannabis job.

Crafting a standout cannabis resume is a subtle art. It requires understanding the unique needs of the cannabis industry, showcasing your soft skills and relevant experience, and presenting them in a clear, concise, and compelling way.

By tailoring your resume to the specific role, highlighting your industry expertise and achievements, leveraging the assistance of CRPWs or AI tools, as well as networking effectively, you can stand out from the competition and land your dream job in the cannabis industry.

The future of cannabis is here, and with a winning resume, you can be part of it!

Frequently Asked Questions

When you register/apply with Viridian Staffing, you will want to provide your long-form resume.  In other words, the version of your resume that contains the most comprehensive information about your background, education, skills and experience as this will maximize the number of opportunities our recruiters might flag you as a potential match for.

This resume should be in reverse chronological order, with your most recent experience listed first.  We DO NOT recommend sending us a functional resume.  If we believe that is what should be provided to the employer we’re submitting you for, we will let you know or restructure it ourselves.

And unless you are only interested in being considered for a particular job type (like Budtender, Master Grower, etc) this is not the best time to provide us with a resume targetted to that specific job.

It depends on the specific job your applying for. If applying for a Budtender position, a good cannabis resume objective could be: “Seeking to leverage my customer service experience and ongoing pre-med education to provide helpful service and insights to customers and patients.” This showcases your skills and enthusiasm for the industry in a concise and impactful way.

While this might have been the case in the past, as cannabis becomes more professionalized and mainstream, the stigma is rapidly falling away. Having experience in the cannabis industry, such as working at a dispensary, can actually be seen as a positive. It can demonstrate your emotional intelligence as well as your ability to work in a highly regulated industry.

But this will, of course, vary from place to place, business to business, and the attitudes of specific HR managers. The more conservative the industry and the more likely they are to require drug testing (for cannabis) the more likely it is that your cannabis industry experience is going to be an issue.

It depends on the specifics of the particular cannabis job. Duties can include everything from managing the growing and harvesting of cannabis plants, as a cultivator, to managing retail staff and product inventory, as a retail manager. To get a better feel for the depth and breadth of jobs and their particular duties, we recommend checking out our Cannabis Industry Jobs & Careers page.

It depends on the specifics of the particular role. In the cannabis industry, skills in executive leadership, horticulture, botanical extraction, consumer goods manufacturing, lab testing, retail management, distribution, sales, and accounting are in high demand. To get a better feel for different roles and the various skills that each requires, we recommend checking out our Cannabis Industry Jobs & Careers page.

Focus on showcasing your relevant skills, experience, and achievements in your cannabis resume. Leverage the assistance of AI Chatbots to tailor it to the specific role and use position-specific keywords to stand out.  Consider including professional social media profiles like LinkedIn to highlight your industry involvement.

When applying for a job as a cannabis cultivator, your resume should highlight your relevant experience in horticulture, agriculture, or botany. Include any specific knowledge or experience with cannabis cultivation, such as your understanding of different strains, growth cycles, and nutrient requirements. Mention any certifications or training you have in related fields, like a pesticide applicator’s license or a degree in a related scientific field. Highlight your skills in areas such as climate control, hydroponics, or organic cultivation, if applicable. You will also want to emphasize any soft skills you possess such as attention to detail, ability to work in a team, and problem-solving abilities, which are crucial in such a role.

‘Glad you asked!  That’s why we wrote: How to Write a Winning Cannabis Resume!  Check it out!

‘Glad you asked!  We address this topic in How to Write a Winning Cannabis Resume!  Check it out!

When discussing your previous experience in the cannabis industry, especially if it was in a context where cannabis was not yet legalized, it’s important to approach the subject with care and professionalism.

Focus on Transferable Skills: Emphasize the skills and knowledge you acquired that are relevant to the legal cannabis industry.

Use Discreet Language: Avoid explicit mentions of illegal activity. Instead, use language that implies experience without stating it directly.

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