Denver is at the epicenter of the legal cannabis revolution. In 2015 alone, the marijuana industry brought over 18,000 new full-time jobs to the state of Colorado. To put things into perspective, the city of Denver has more than twice as many dispensaries as Starbucks coffee shops.
As the gold rush of the legal cannabis boom continues, thousands of new jobs will be created in the Denver area. With the industry undergoing rapid expansion, now is a great time to seek employment with cannabis companies. From extraction scientists to marketing experts to growers and budtenders, there are opportunities within the industry for people with a number of different educational and work backgrounds.
Plus, did we mention that Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in the country? With its stunning mountain ranges, great skiing and snowboarding, there is no shortage of fun recreational activities in Colorado. The city of Denver itself was rated number two overall on the U.S. News “Best Places to Live” list of best metropolitan areas in the United States. All things considered, it’s the right time and right place to get involved in Denver’s green revolution.
Here are some tips to finding a job in Denver’s thriving cannabis industry
Career fairs are like the speed dating of the professional world. They are a great way to connect with dozens of potential employers, and you know they wouldn’t be there if they weren’t looking to make some new hires!
The Colorado Cannabis Career Summit is a biannual event hosted by Vangst Talent Network, a staffing agency that caters specifically to the cannabis industry. In 2016 the event featured recruiters from more than 45 companies, and over 400 positions were filled by job-seeking attendees. Software company LeafLink, dispensary chain Native Roots, light producer Pro MAX Grow and edible producer Incredibles were among the companies looking to find new employees at the 2016 Colorado Cannabis Career Summit. The dispensary chain LivWell filled more than 70 new positions between the two events in 2016 alone.
The Hemp & Cannabis Career Fair is another option. It takes place at Cultivated Synergy, a communal workspace in Denver, and it’s hosted by Ms. Mary Staffing. It’s a recurring event (check for information online) that features representatives from companies like Kush Pump, GenCanna Global and Transcend Lighting. There are a variety of opportunities, making it a worthwhile event for anyone looking to penetrate the cannabis industry.
When attending a career fair, it’s always important to bring several printed copies of your resume. Also remember to dress appropriately, wear a smile and get ready to do some networking. You should have an “elevator pitch” prepared so that you can explain who you are, what you want to do in the cannabis industry and why to any potential employers. Career fairs can seem intimidating (who wants to have 20 job interviews in the same day?) but they can actually be quite fun if you approach it with the right mindset.
Meetup.com is an incredible resource for anyone looking to make new friends and/or go on new adventures. From hikes to poetry readings to summer barbecues, Meetup.com can provide a much-needed spark to your social life. It’s also a great place to do some networking.
A quick search on the Meetup website revealed several different cannabis-related groups. The Cannabis Society of Colorado has over 2,000 members including cannabis advocates, entrepreneurs, and industry professionals. The group holds various events such as Toasty Tuesday, a cocktail hour that is perfect for meeting like-minded people working in the industry and gathering some business cards. The Colorado Cannabis Entrepreneurs group is another option; it has nearly 1,500 members and holds workshops and educational events.
There’s a CannaTech meetup, specifically for anyone that is part of the technology side of the industry or interested in learning more about what goes on behind the scenes. The Cannabis Marketing Association hosts monthly seminars such as “The Software to Level Up Your Startup” and “Social Media and Cannabis: Best Practices Panel,” and the group leaves time for networking at the end of each event.
You can also start your own Meetup group. The cannabis community tends to be pretty open-minded, so creative ideas such as organizing an excursion to tour a grow facility or even hold a toke-and-joke get-together could be a great way to meet new people and network your way into a career in cannabis. With Meetup.com, the possibilities stretch as far as your imagination.
Online Job Boards
We all know it: those online job boards can be exhausting. Searching through all the different sites like Monster, Indeed and CareerBuilder can be tedious. It can sometimes feel like you’re sending resumes into thin air, carefully writing cover letters that will never be read.
But, you never know where that foot in the door to the cannabis industry is going to come from. The online job boards are often frustrating, but there are tons of worthwhile opportunities for work — no matter what part of the cannabis industry you’d like to enter. A quick Indeed search for “cannabis” in Denver reveals different positions like sales executive for a tech company, laboratory director for an extraction lab, grower, educator, field marketing, graphic design and budtender.
Do any of these jobs strike your fancy?
In addition to the big job sites like Indeed and Monster, there are several cannabis-specific job boards. The aforementioned Vangst Talent Network has an expansive list of marijuana industry jobs on its website. There’s also 420careers.com and Cannajobs.com, among others. Schedule an hour or two to search through all these sites once a week, and you’ll be in a good routine that could result in the job you’ve been hoping for.
The online job boards are also helpful for crafting your resume. Search through the positions you are interested in, and read the job descriptions carefully. They’ll include several “buzz words” that you should have in your resume so that it is searchable for employers that have to deal with a mountain of applicants. For example, if you’re looking for a job at an extraction lab, you will see that terms like “protocol,” “instrumentation” and “compliance” are often included in job descriptions, so they should also be in your resume. It’s really a matter of adjusting your resume to make yourself look like the ideal candidate for the job you want. And companies love it when you already know the “buzz words” of the industry, because that shows you are experienced.
Be Your Personal Hype Man
When you’re looking for a new job in any industry, it’s important to get the word out there. Chatting with a friend over coffee? Talk about your job search and how you want to be involved in cannabis. Stopping by the dispensary to grab a gram of Purple Haze for the weekend? Make friends with the budtender and ask if he knows of anyone that is hiring. Don’t be afraid to be your personal hype man during this transitional period. Employers are looking for the person that’s unabashedly passionate about finding a new career, because it can be a good predictor of job success. So make yourself stand out from the crowd, get your friendly face on and keep putting out the message of your intentions to join the cannabis industry. It will pay off big time!