Despite record lows in unemployment rates, the job search can be deceptively difficult. For every job listing, there can be dozens, or even hundreds, of applicants. For people who need flexibility in their schedules—working moms, college students, and parents of special needs children among them—job hunting can be even more difficult.
Bartending jobs offer some flexibility, but the hours can be long and arduous, and bartending school is sometimes required for those positions. If you’ve ever looked up “how much does bartending school cost?” then you know that the price can be high.
Working in the gig economy is flexible, but has some drawbacks. Since “contractors” for companies like Uber and Doordash are not classified as employees, they do not receive benefits, sometimes make less than the hourly minimum wage, and risk the safety of themselves or their personal vehicles. Savvy newsreaders who remember the Uber and Lyft strike are already familiar with the drawbacks of working for a ridesharing service, and the recent Doordash scandal where contractors’ tips were taken is another salient warning.
Retail jobs usually offer the best intersection of flexibility and risk, but can be difficult jobs for those who are out of their high school or college years—but there is one industry that offers the benefits of retail without some of the drawbacks:
To work in the cannabis industry, you don’t have to be a longtime marijuana fan, or know the names and purposes of every single terpene in the cannabis plant. All you have to do is be at least 21 years old and be willing to learn the basics—like what the difference is between CBD and THC, or how to make customers happy.
Luckily, cannabis shoppers tend to be (unsurprisingly) on the calmer, friendlier side. You won’t hear about many retail horror stories in a cannabis store. Because of this, cannabis retail positions can also be great jobs for veterans or people with anxiety. Because cannabis is now very legal and very cool, as far as shopping trends go, these are also generally jobs that pay well.
The cannabis market is growing faster than a hemp plant in peak season, so jobs are constantly sprouting up. However, marijuana’s legalization hasn’t yet made it as easy to apply for jobs as it is to purchase cannabis products. There are specialty sites that are specific to the marijuana industry, but the jobs they post are usually few and far between — and limited to only a few major cities.
If you’re really trying to figure out how to find a job you love, you’ll want to follow rule number one:
Do your research.
Figure out what you want.
Doing your research starts with a simple question: what are you looking for in a job?
Make a list of everything you’ve liked about the environments you’ve worked in, whether that’s high school, college, previous workplaces, or nonprofits that you’ve volunteered at.
Make another list with everything you’ve disliked, hated, or struggled with.
Once you have two long lists, try and identify common themes. Have you disliked or struggled with jobs that require high organizational skills? Have you enjoyed parts of work or school that involve interacting with people directly?
This is all valuable information and will help you identify the type of workplace that you will thrive in.
Ask your network!
Now that applications are mainly submitted online, employment seekers have a dizzying amount of options. How can you figure out how to find a better job?
In order to get a good sense of a cannabis company’s work environment, the best thing to do is to talk to your friends in the industry. The most honest appraisals you’ll get are from current employees of the businesses you want to apply to.
As a bonus, you may be able to find out which shops are hiring, and even get a referral from a current employee. If you don’t know anyone currently working in the cannabis industry, consider building your network by attending industry events or reaching out to prominent cannabis activists online.
What are the best ways to find a job? Take a look online.
If you’ve checked with your network and come up dry, there are still other options.
If you’re applying to jobs locally, you can show up to the retail fronts of stores that you like, and see if they’re hiring. Just make sure to check their website first!
You can also check mainstream job sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, or Craigslist. Be cautious, though — job site scams can happen, particularly on un-vetted websites like Craigslist. Make sure not you don’t give out secure personal information until you’ve confirmed that you’re speaking with a legitimate representative of a company.
If you’re wondering how to find a job in a new city, most of these tactics should work. It may also be a good idea to travel to a town you’re interested in moving to and checking out your favorite companies in person.
Send out an application.
Once you have identified the cannabis companies that you’re interested in working for, it’s time to apply for jobs.
Do you want to submit a great job application? Do it like this.
In order to make the best first impression for your job application, you’ll want to make sure that your resume is up to par.
Don’t overthink this— it’s as simple as using a resume template from Microsoft Word (or similar programs) and editing it to reflect your work history.
Make sure you check your document for grammar and spelling errors before submitting it anywhere. Have a friend or mentor go over it with you, if possible.
For most job applications, a resume and optional cover letter will be the only items requested. Some cannabis companies may request photographs or links to social media.
Again, it’s important to confirm that anyone requesting a photo or social media link from you is a real representative of the company you are applying to. Never send personal information to anyone who cannot prove that they work for the company.
If a photo is requested, make sure that you show a professional image. Selfies are not ideal — make sure that any photos you sent were taken with a camera, not a phone. For your photo, wear clothing that you would wear to work, or even dress more formally than you would for your first day.
It’s also important that applicants only send the items requested. If a company does not specifically request that you send photographs of yourself, do not send them.
Although dispensaries used to request photographs of applicants as standard practice, the industry is growing up — and that means that “standard practice” is falling out of favor. A professional cannabis company will not generally want to see any photos with your application.
After submitting an application, sometimes it may be necessary to follow up. If you haven’t heard anything back from a hiring manager, it is appropriate to email the company.
In a follow-up email, it’s best to attach a copy of your resume and re-iterate why you would like to work for that company. Explain why your background and experience would be a good fit for this job. The best emails are short, but get all points across.
Avoid including information that it isn’t relevant — high school GPAs, selfies, or videos of personal cannabis consumption should not be in your email.
Once you’ve gotten a call or email back from the hiring manager, make sure you contact them back promptly to work out a time slot for interviewing. Once you’ve scheduled an interview with them, it’s time to prepare.
Make a Good Impression at Your Job Interview
It’s important to give the best impression at a job interview. You’ll want to practice answering classic interview questions. Don’t forget to prepare for the bit at the end of the interview where the interviewer asks if you have any questions! It’s a good idea to research questions to ask a hiring manager beforehand.
Make sure you consider the impact of your answers. If asked why you’re leaving your current job, it’s best to give an answer that is truthful, but puts a positive spin on things.
Something like “I hate my job so much and I just have to leave,” is not an appropriate response, obviously, even if it were a true one. Substitute it for something a little less blunt.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at my current job, but I have goals and interests that I’m not able to explore at my current company,” is an example of a much better response. You can come up with your own phrasing — just remember that you’re trying to show off your best self.
It’s also a good idea to research the relevant areas of knowledge that will be needed in the position you want. A dispensary product specialist should know about cannabis’s effects, the difference between major cannabinoids, and the major terpenes found in the plant. It’s also helpful to be aware of industry trends, relevant local laws, and current developments in cannabis science and regulation.
If you don’t know the answers to some of the questions being asked, it’s best to be honest and say that you don’t know, but explain how you would find the answer.
Show up on time — or better yet, show up early.
What’s the main thing that managers want?
They want employees to show up for their shifts.
You can demonstrate that you’ll always be at work when you’re supposed to be by showing up a little early for your interview. This will also give you time to drink water, take deep breaths, and review your notes.
Remember that a job interview goes both ways.
Confused? Let’s explain.
The cannabis industry is growing quickly, and there are many opportunities for skilled applicants. If you interview at a company you were previously interested in, but you’re turned off after seeing signs of a toxic workplace, trust your gut.
You’re interviewing the hiring manager just as much as they’re interviewing you. Be confident in your abilities, and look for ways to show that you and the company are both a good fit for each other.
Are you ready? Get Excited.
The legal cannabis industry is still green, but it’s growing quickly. If you’re dealing with a toxic work culture and you want to find a better job opportunity, give it a shot.
People’s OC is southern California’s most-trusted cannabis retail store, and we just can’t stop growing! Our friendly, knowledgeable product specialists know that teamwork makes the dream work, and they love adding new folks to the fold.
You can check out our postings on the People’s OC careers page. If you’ve already been applying and need a stress reliever, take a look at our current stock of cannabis products. We carry premium-lab-tested products from reputable brands – everything from vape cartridges to high-CBD marijuana flower.