The well-worn adage (and that 1990s tagline from Head and Shoulders shampoo) reminds us of the importance of starting off on the right foot: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. In the business world, this first impression comes in paper form – your resume. It can determine whether or not an employer will “resume” pursuing you. If you’re trying to break into the cannabis industry, your cannabis resume requires special attention.
The reason for this is that everyone is trying to break into this industry; even your hamster has inquired about any available positions. With so much competition, you must make sure your first impression isn’t only a good one but a great one.
Basics of a Great Cannabis Resume: Do’s and Don’ts
Do tell an employer what you can do for them: Employers are interested in your skills, your talents, and your past accomplishments as they relate to their business. They want to know how you can help them, not vice versa.
Do talk in terms of results: Employers think in terms of numbers. Thus, if you’ve led past companies to the promise land of profit, say that. If you increased membership at the local gym by 78 percent, find a way to fit that in. Stick to statistics anytime you can.
Do back up your action words: Resumes should ideally be filled with action words, words that tell an employer that you mean business. But don’t merely toss in these words; back them up as well. Use examples to show you’re a doer and not merely a talker.
Do keep things fairly brief: No one’s resume should ever rival “War and Peace” in terms of length.
Employers are busy and any resume that takes up too much of their time is easy to disregard
This isn’t to say you should limit things to a Post-It note, but don’t make things longer than necessary, either.
Do check and double check: There’s no quicker way to assure your resume ends up in the shredder than submitting something full of spelling or grammatical errors. Show your potential boss that you know the difference between its and it’s. But don’t rely on spellcheck – it’s notoriously bad at gauging grammar. Rather, ask a friend or family member to read your resume over for you. It’s very difficult to edit your own work and another set of eyes may catch things you don’t.
Do involve some creativity: There is a fine line between being creative and being professional, so walk this line carefully. But a cannabis resume that sticks out a little – with different font or scented paper – may help your case.
Don’t go overboard
there’s no reason your resume should rhyme throughout.….unless you’re applying for a job at one of the many corporate poetry firms.
Don’t list every job you’ve ever had: Try to limit things to the last three or four jobs, unless you have a job way back in your past that’s relevant.
Don’t list references: No one’s going to waste time with your references before they meet you. Instead, mention that references are available upon request…and hope that they’re requested eventually.
Don’t include any non-relevant accomplishments: Yes, it’s cool that you were Mr. Basketball in 1989 Indiana, but that probably doesn’t mean much to your present-day job aspirations. Mention relevant accomplishments, but leave out the extraneous stuff.
Special Considerations for a Cannabis Resume
No matter what type of industry you’re trying to break into, the above resume tips apply. However, the cannabis industry requires a little more tact inside your text. Some things to keep in mind when hoping to work with weed include:
Don’t mention past illegal activity: Never put anything shady on your cannabis resume. If you were Drug Dealin’ Dan’s best salesman in the years before Colorado legalized or you’ve been growing marijuana since you could grow facial hair, keep those tidbits to yourself. Cannabis is now a legitimate business and they want legitimate people.
Don’t mention how often you use: Using cannabis is an advantage when trying to break into the industry, but you don’t need to showcase this use with tales of joints smoked or the time you “bowled” a perfect game. Your potential employer already knows that you’re open-minded about weed; otherwise, you wouldn’t be applying for this type of job in the first place.
Do highlight your cannabis knowledge: Cannabis is a complex plant with a very rich history; loving the leaf isn’t enough – you must know about it too. Lots about it. Make an employer aware of this by mentioning any relevant educational experience; if you have a BA in chemistry or botany, that’s something you want to sing from the mountain tops.
Do mention certifications obtained or seminars attended: Some people procure certifications prior to applying for jobs. This can work against you in terms of cost – you risk paying to be certified without any guarantee of employment – but it also shows proactivity and zeal.
If you’re a certified budtender or you’ve attended seminars related to concentrates, flowers, or anything ganja, include these on your resume
They’ll show an employer you’re serious – if they don’t hire you, you’ll keep looking until someone else does.
Do express your passion: Cannabis is about fun, health, and a whole lot of other things. But behind all of this is passion. Whether you’re rabidly against prohibition or believe whole-heartedly in the value of marijuana as medicine, express your passion as astutely as possible (either on your cannabis resume or in your cover letter). People not passionate about cannabis won’t last long in the industry. Prove that you are and give an employer a reason to give you a chance.
Getting a job is hard. Getting a job in the marijuana industry is even harder. The above tips don’t assure an interview, but they help you stand out from the crowd. And that’s the thing about employment; before you get hired, you must get noticed.