So, you want to be a budtender in the cannabis industry! Welcome. You might want to sit down and roll up… we’ve got some insights to share with you.
We have seen a lot of prospective cannabis employees ask about how to get into the industry, and as ancillary cannabis company owners, as well as current/former budtenders, we have some insights that we want to share. We have collaborated on this blog to create some shortcuts for you as you step into the industry!
Weighing Different Perspectives
From the hiring manager’s perspective, they want to employ people who are there to show up for their store and bring pride and excitement to the business everyday.
Dispensary owners also want to see the following:
- Self motivated workers good at completing tasks with limited supervision
- Problem solving skills
- Cash handling experience
- Someone who has a real interest in cannabis: the plant and the industry
From the consumer’s perspective, they want budtenders to:
- Appear knowledgeable about products (have confidence when talking about options)
- Good customer service persona
- Some legacy market cannabis or previous high volume retail experience
- Ability to orient to the audience and meet the customers where they are (serving different walks of life)
If you want to be successful in this rapidly evolving industry, it’s up to you to meet all these demands and show up with what’s going to delight both your prospective managers and customers.
To really fly, you’re going to need some solid soft skills to set you apart. Your ability to interact with others is going to be key because whether it’s your coworkers or your customers, people are priority in this business. In the adult-use marketplace, the needs of the consumer are #1. Cannabis is the people’s plant, after all.
Selling Your Skills
The first step is making sure your resume and cover letter are up to par, and that they readily highlight the qualifications that are needed to be a budtender. Focus on including the basic retail and “hard skills” that will impress your potential employer.
For more tips on crafting your resume for the cannabis industry, visit Bud & Blossom’s take on this topic here: Resume and Interview Tips for the Cannabis Industry
As you step through this process, you should use any opportunity to showcase how your past job experiences have prepared you for the day-to-day operations of working in a dispensary! This includes any relevant experience working in retail, such as counting money, upselling for increased sales, or even doing the dirty work (i.e. cleaning and dusting). If you’ve done it before, and you are willing to do it again, tell your potential boss about what you’re able to bring to their business.
Your resume should be clean, cut, and clear. After creating your resume, you’ll also want to craft a Cover Letter. Your Cover Letter is about telling the business how you fit their criteria from a culture and passion perspective. The Cover Letter is truly a letter to the business, letting them know why you want to work for them and why – without a doubt – you’re the right person for this job. This is the place for your unique voice to be heard.
Reflect on Your Soft Skills.. and Let Them Shine
As you apply to become a budtender, know that no matter how large the facility, current cannabis businesses are usually small operations. In these environments, small business owners rely on their people to wear many hats and also demonstrate the soft skills and customer service persona that will help them hold on to their positive reputation with their customers.
It’s up to you to show that you’re going to delight this store’s customers. This means that during the application process, you need to put your best foot forward and perfect your personal brand. Demonstrate kindness to everyone because you never know who’s opinion is going to be considered during the hiring process.
Know that other budtenders in the dispensary setting will often share their thoughts about people and customers with their management team. So, when you are dropping off a resume at a store that you want to work for, be your best self in all interactions. You never know how one conversation could help you – or hurt you – in the future.
People apply often! There is a stack of resumes at every pot shop. Just know that. Meaning, shop at the store you want to work for. Look out for reasons you want to work there, and many reasons why you might not. Assess if this is the right shop for you.
When you visit the store you’re applying for, observe the other budtenders. Things to ask yourself: How do they excel? What are the areas of opportunity for you to differentiate yourself? From an integrity-filled mindset, how can you analyze what this store is doing well and where they need to improve? How do you fit into this puzzle?
When you are submitting your resume, think beyond simply dropping it off at store locations. Look for electronic opportunities to apply, such as Indeed or LinkedIn. Many shops use electronic hiring services to find their candidates.
Getting the interview could take months! Plan for this, especially if you have recently moved and need to secure a paying position right away. It can take a lot of time to actually secure a budtending role. We share this so that you can manage your own expectations and maintain your life while you are searching for that next opportunity in our industry.
Rolling With The Interview
Ok, great job! You have survived the Indeed and resume-writing tornado and have landed yourself an interview.
Here’s a few key points about interviews from Bud & Blossom’s Resume and Interview Tips for the Cannabis Industry to keep in mind when you sit down for your interview.
- Be yourself. There shouldn’t be any surprises after your interview about the type of employee that you will be, because you showed them in the interview. Let your true persona come out in the verbal conversation you share with the hiring managers.
- Effectively tell your career story and then connect the dots between your prior experience and the job you currently seek. Be able to tell your career story and package your prior skills in a way that could benefit your future employer.
- Have examples at the ready. Before your interview, think of at least three stories from your professional past that you are most proud of. Consider…what is it about these particular examples that make you proud? How can they help you showcase the value you bring to the table? Thoughtfully revisit these core milestones and practice articulating how you exceeded expectations. Having these “stories” prepared will help you answer behavioral questions posed by your prospective employer.
- Convey that you have done your research about the company you are applying to. Research the company you are applying for, leveraging online job resources such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn. Review their social media marketing on Instagram and Facebook. If applicable, read customer reviews on Google and Yelp. When given the opportunity, you will want to demonstrate your awareness of the company’s history as well as their future goals.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the plant. Have you read any books about cannabis science? Have you taken any cannabis certifications? Highlight these points in your resume and then reiterate this continued education in your interview.
An interview is about developing a deepended relationship, and just like in all relationships, honesty is key. So, throughout the interview, share your honest perception about your skills, abilities, and passions. In this way, you can also encourage honesty from the people you are talking with.
The first interview is about selling yourself. In the interview, you will be asked to show them your sales persona, and answer the necessary questions to confirm your hard skills and uphold what you wrote in your resume and Cover Letter. When you answer those questions, make sure to address what’s specifically being asked and then always elaborate. Give more than what is required and tell the stories of your prior successes.
Before the interview, spend some time thinking about your 5 year plan and long term vision. You might get asked about this, and this is an opportunity to tell your prospective employer that you have a bigger vision for your career in cannabis. This could provide an opportunity for them to invest in you further.
The Smoke Test
After the interview, you will hopefully be receiving an offer! It’s up to you to review whether this is the right role for you.
As someone seeking a budtending job, you are signing up to trade your time for pay. You will be in a position where you need to negotiate the details of your potential job contract. This includes understanding all the details being offered and then going through the expectations of you that will be asked in return.
Iron out the details. What times do they need you in the store everyday? When do people take breaks? Where do people take breaks? What does the pay and PTO process look like? Is there a structured pay scale and job performance review process?
As you consider all of these details, you’ll be in a better position to determine if this is the right culture and environment for you.
When your offer is delivered, consider the following:
- Pay. Is this enough to cover your living expenses? What level of personal budget prowess and sacrifice is required to make this work?
- Benefits. How does this impact your need for health insurance, retirement planning, and child care? These benefits are not provided by all stores. Look closely at the benefits package and how this works into your personal and family plan.
- Job expectations. What are the demands within each work shift at this store? Does this align with what you’re willing to provide? Understand time constraints (most shifts range from 6-10 hours) and how this fits into your life. What does this store do when there is a shift coverage issue – budtender out sick or “no show”?
- Opportunities for growth. Is this an investment to where you want to go? Is this job in alignment with your future goals? How does it play a role along this path – do you intend on being a budtender forever? If not, is your store a place that will support you in getting to your end goal?
Labor Movement & Cannabis
Right now, we are in a unique moment in time. The labor movement is happening right here and right now. And what better place for it to be upheld than in a newly developing and burgeoning industry like cannabis.
The cannabis industry is still malleable, and so we can reform as we move forward. We all have the opportunity to influence the industry, even you – a prospective employee.
Be your own boss. Build your own career template. The pathways to success in cannabis are still being written. This is your opportunity to write yours.
Roll it all together and go get that job!
Written By Lotta & Heather Dagley of Bud & Blossom