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How to Craft Your Resume for Your Cannabis Career

August 07, 2019

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How to Craft Your Resume for Your Cannabis Career by Patricia Miller

Rejection sucks. No one wants to labor over crafting the perfect resume only to find out weeks or months later they didn’t make the cut. Creating a resume for cannabis can feel especially daunting. Which skills are valuable? How does my work history translate to a new field? We spoke with an expert in cannabis recruitment to learn the dos and don’ts of building a top-tier resume for any position.

“Make sure to highlight translatable skills and experience on your resume, and, ideally, try to tailor every resume you submit to the position you’re applying for,” advises CannabizTeam President and CEO Liesl Bernard.

Bernard has over two decades of experience in executive recruiting and translated her work history into a thriving business focused on connecting skilled professionals to top-tier cannabis positions. She advises highlighting both technical and soft skills. In other words, time management and creativity may be just as important as your expertise in QuickBooks.

Flexibility is also a crucial skill when applying to an early-stage company. The industry is still in its infancy and many companies are in their startup phase. As such, it’s crucial that one have the ability to take initiative, multitask, and keep up in a rapid growth environment.

In a similar vein, don’t limit yourself. Perhaps your previous position was very structured and you played a niche, specific role within the company. Developing businesses value professionals who can fill multiple roles while the brand expands. Bernard warns, “I wouldn’t be too specific about what aspects of a role you can and cannot do, rather portray yourself as someone who can take initiative and be flexible.”

Whether you worked in the illicit market or you are just entering the space, translating one’s previous experience is always an important aspect of resume building. For those whose cannabis training began pre-legalization, don’t be afraid to highlight those skills.

Bernard understands the reluctance to relay possibly incriminating information, but says it can be done with the right level of finesse. “It really depends on the role and the type of company that one is applying to,” she explains. “Obviously with cultivation, that is an area where companies value prior experience. It is a delicate topic, and it just has to be handled with some discretion and professionalism.”

Some industries translate better than others when it comes to work history. Candidates with sales experience in the wine industry are particularly well-suited to cannabis because they know how to manage a sales territory, navigate a regulated industry, and explain specialty and connoiseur products to clients. A background in science, food manufacturing, marketing, accounting, or retail can also translate seamlessly to the cannabis sector.

Most importantly, don’t be discouraged by a lack of experience. The variety of available positions encompass an array of skill sets, suited to both the novice and the expert. As Bernard succinctly stated, “There are so many roles being sought after that pretty much anyone who has a desire to get into the industry can find a way if they’re creative and persistent enough.”

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