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The US cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing areas, and with global markets legalizing in Canada and Europe, job opportunities are becoming abundant. But in an industry that is still green (no pun intended) from a legal perspective, the challenge for both job seekers and employers lies in building direct experience and hiring candidates with relevant skill sets.

While some job seekers may have previous experience, the majority of talent looking to capitalize on industry growth are changing careers and relying on transferrable skills from other industries (marketing, legal and compliance, technology, sales, research, etc.).

Looking for a job in cannabis? Breaking into a new industry requires somewhat of an entrepreneurial mindset. Position yourself for success with these 4 steps:

1) Build Cannabis Industry Connections

There is a wealth of local, regional, and national cannabis networks dedicated to advocacy, reform, and building a positive name for the industry. Organizations like WomenGrow and CannaGather hold local monthly and regular networking events catering to emerging businesses and interested professionals in the cannabis space. Follow them on social media for industry news, job opportunities, and key events.

2) Attend Cannabis Industry Events

There are several major annual conferences and trade shows for the cannabis industry, bringing together professionals and experts from all different specialties and markets. Research major events in the field like the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo and the Women Grow Annual Leadership Summit.

3) Know the Key Players

With so many different specialties within the cannabis space – from software and technology, to agriculture and cultivation, sales, marketing, education, finance and legal – new companies are emerging daily. If you’re targeting a particular specialty, research the key players in that space. Follow those companies on social media, build connections through LinkedIn, and view company profiles to see who’s hiring and what jobs are available at those organizations. Follow thought leaders and founders from those businesses, and subscribe to trade newsletters to keep on top of the latest in industry legislation and trends.

4) Create a Resume that Focuses on Transferrable Skills

Finding a job in cannabis – assuming you don’t already have direct industry experience – is largely dependent upon communicating your skills, training, and experience that is transferrable, meaning it’s broad enough that those skills can apply to another industry. This could be a skill set, an attribute, or anything else that’s directly (or indirectly) applicable, depending upon your desired specialty.

Interested in a business development position? Build a strong resume that highlights your sales, customer services, consultative selling, and pipeline development skills. What success have you had in sales and business development in other industries, and what kind of results can you bring to a growing organization? Talk about this and show tangible results.

Targeting a tech firm that develops POS software for cannabis dispensaries? Look at the skills you have that would fit into a startup environment. What do you know about niche retail businesses, software development and sales, and emerging technology?

Do you come from an industry that’s highly regulated, such as food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, or airlines? Ability to navigate complex, often evolving, regulatory guidelines is a big plus for the cannabis industry.

A strong retail or sales background could position you well to work in a dispensary – a role that requires extensive product knowledge and customer services skills.

Individuals who come from brand-centric industries like fashion, retail, and consumer products are also an asset to cannabis companies looking to establish and grow their brand profile in an increasingly competitive consumer market.

Whatever your desired specialty, if you lack direct experience, look at what transferrable skills, training, and attributes you do possess that can potentially bring value, and that can be applied regardless of industry. Craft a narrative or cover letter around why the cannabis space is of interest to you, and how you fit into the role and the culture of the organization.

Canna Career Partners can help you position yourself as a top candidate, and craft a powerful resume that highlights your most relevant and marketable experience. Contact us to learn more.