Breaking Into The Cannabis Industry - Leverage Your Experience pt.1
January 8th 2109, Photo/istock/gustavofrazao
By Roger Malespin
For a lot of people thinking about getting into the cannabis industry, the many paths to get there can seem confusing and overwhelming. Before they even think about where to start, they wonder how to start. The good news is that unlike most other businesses where a lack of experience in that realm will quickly land your resume in the rejection bin, cannabis businesses are generally open to newcomers with the right skills. Therefore, the most important part of starting a career in cannabis is leveraging your experience to your advantage and catering it to an industry position. Here, we’ll be taking a look at some of the more common fields that people leave to find new careers and how they can apply their skills in cannabis.
The cannabis industry is a diverse and growing market, so there’s a good chance you have at least a little of what you need to get started. Moreover, the industry is growing fast and need to hire for most of the positions you see in other businesses. Your first step should be to go over your resume and not necessarily focus on the jobs you’ve had, but the skills you’ve used and acquired at those jobs.
One example is marketing. Marketing, generally speaking, shows a business or product in a positive light. Were you part of a team that helped grow a product or brand? If so, highlight that and what you did and how you can do the same for a cannabis business you’re applying with. Did you work with a social media team? You can highlight that as a successful endeavor in company outreach and defining a brand. Experience in marketing analysis is also highly beneficial because the cannabis market is in a constant state of flux between the changing laws and licensing. Those who have worked in marketing analysis can be among the most sought after candidates; if you know the fundamentals of market research you can apply that to the cannabis market and quickly make yourself an asset to a business.
Another area with high turnover is security. This can mean anything from a minimum wage unarmed guard to licensed armored car security. Marijuana is still a schedule 1 drug in the U.S. so they are essentially cash-only businesses. As a result, companies must use security guards to ensure safe transactions and transportation of money and product. On-site security is common in dispensaries and doesn’t take a state license to work. If you have any kind of night watchman, door guard, or retail security experience, you are already qualified for one of these entry level positions. For the higher paying jobs, experienced armed guards are also in demand. Transporting the cash is usually outsourced to a private security company with armored cars, but sometimes the company has their own. Either way, security experience is valuable because of the wide range of pay levels one can find work in, and the skills are easily transferable to the cannabis industry regardless of where they come from.
Administration jobs are another versatile group whose skills are needed. Do you have any experience as a retail sales associate? Then you are in the field of potential employees already. These products are often new to the customers buying them and need people who can communicate their value the right way. How about manager or assistant manager retail experience? Those are even more valuable. The ability to lead a team, be responsive to member problems and questions, and all of the duties that the job entails are essential to most dispensaries. Management experience is near the top of the list of sought after cannabis industry jobs, so if you have it, use it. Additionally, office management skills are just as valuable. The products are not often grown on-site, so there is plenty of shipping work, paperwork from purchases and grow site maintenance, and much more that requires an experienced office manager. These positions have a diverse range of skills, more than we can fit here, and realistically there are several skills each one utilizes that can be leveraged into a cannabis industry job.
There are more common job fields that people leave or want to leave that can lead you to a cannabis industry career, and we’ll look at them in the next article. The important thing to remember is that you do not need previous experience with cannabis to qualify. You don’t even have to be a smoker. Reassessing your job experience is your first step - there’s a high chance something is in it that you can use in your new career.