How to Translate Your Personal Cannabis Growing Experience into a Resume Format
In decades past, the prospect of including your home growing experience on a resume was a fantasy, afterthought, or simple impossibility. However, times are a-changing. Here’s a guide on how to interpret your personal cannabis cultivations and previous work experience into language you can use to land a job.
The era of the modern professional grower has arrived. Instead of remaining a secretive enterprise, cannabis cultivation is rapidly transforming into a legitimate and respected profession. Knowledgeable, disciplined, and versatile cannabis growers are highly pursued assets in the contemporary business world. Of course, cultivators ready to make the transition into the hydroponic and cannabis industries require a solid resume to gain these employment opportunities.
Competency-based Hiring and Recruiting in the Cannabis Industry
When crafting a resume for a legitimate cannabis business, applicants can use the competency-based model of hiring and recruiting to generate an informative and up-to-date document. Instead of focusing on previous employment, this model highlights skills and knowledge obtained through practical experience—even if that experience was underground cannabis growing. For example, a familiarity with regulating climactic fluctuations in a greenhouse environment would be considered an occupational competency. This model also allows applicants to highlight behaviors that would contribute to success in the workplace.
Home-based Growing in Resume Format
Constructing an informative resume for the hydroponic and cannabis industry is different process than building a traditional resume. After all, this is a novel job market and most candidates do not have formal, commercial cannabis growing work experience. As a result, hiring companies are most attracted to candidates who explain their cultivation talents effectively.
Cannabis growers should be as specific as possible in their resumes to highlight applicable skill sets for any given position. This is because, according to the competency-based model, potential employers are most interested in specific previous actions that are applicable to future occupations and endeavors.
For example, an experienced greenhouse cultivator interested in acquiring a head grower position in a commercial greenhouse setting should show that he or she has competent, in-depth knowledge concerning pest control. To elaborate, that he or she knows pest control in a cannabis garden involves both the foresight to avoid potential problems in the operation with sanitation, as well as the ability to effectively solve issues as they arise with effective spraying.
To effectively express how specific actions are used to solve problems in the workplace, descriptions of abilities on a resume should always begin with verbs. Phrases like “Advanced a deep appreciation for sterilization in a greenhouse environment” and “Eradicated or avoided harmful pests, mildews, and molds with organic sprays” market a grower’s pest management competency well.
“A resume is the beginning of a relationship with an employer and maintaining honesty and integrity with this document will lay the cornerstone of a successful career.”
Important Sections to Include in Your Resume
There are three sections that should be included on all cannabis cultivators’ resumes.
Skills and Capabilities
The competency-based model markets a candidate’s cannabis cultivation knowledge as his or her primary asset. That’s why the ‘Skills and Capabilities’ section should be at the top of an artisanal, home-based cannabis grower’s resume instead of a traditional inverse employment history. Individual skill sets should then be described under subheadings like the following:
- Artisanal Greenhouse Management, which would present the various gardening competencies involved with atmospheric and operational control in a greenhouse. These skills should be further explained with descriptions such as “Developed expertise with industrial fans, inline fans, atmospheric controllers, cooling walls, heating devices, and dehumidifiers”.
- Cannabis Cultivation, which would exhibit a cannabis grower’s specific familiarities with the actual cultivation process. The phrase “Gained intimate understanding of a variety of cannabis genetics and phenotypes, including NY Diesel, Gorilla Glue #4, Tahoe Kush, Blue Dream, Chem Dog, and Cherry Pie” depicts this competency nicely.
- Time Management and Planning, which would illuminate the organizational competencies and foresight necessary for a bountiful cannabis harvest. For example, use descriptions like “Mastered the time schedule for the successful greenhouse flowering of cannabis year-round using blackout tarps and supplemental lighting”.
The job market in the cannabis industry is competitive, so college degrees of any form will help candidates stand out in a prospect pool. Again, growers should look to their skill sets to decide what elements of their education are applicable in obtaining a specific position. For example, the phrase “Practiced using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and MS Office” shows that a candidate is fluent in modern computer technology, an asset necessary in almost any professional capacity today.
If a person’s professional history has nothing to do with the cannabis industry, he or she can still utilize the competency-based model to isolate transferable skills. This process often requires some creativity, but it can be rewarding. For example, if an applicant worked as a line cook in a restaurant, they could exhibit his or her transferable aptitudes with phrases like “Perfected multi-tasking abilities” or “Expanded a sense of urgency in the workplace through high-pressure work scenarios”.
Candidates should also include any artisanal/home-based cannabis growing work on a resume. For example, a proper description of this professional experience would be “Medicinal Cannabis Cultivator: Entrepreneurial/Non-Profit (2011-Current)” and a tasteful description of this experience would be “Produced exceptional organic cannabis for medical dispensaries in California”.
One final tip: don’t exaggerate. A resume is the beginning of a relationship with an employer and maintaining honesty and integrity with this document will lay the cornerstone of a successful career.
Written by Kent Gruetzmacher | Writer, Owner of KCG Content
Kent Gruetzmacher MFA is a Colorado-based writer and owner of the writing and marketing firm KCG Content. Kent has been working in the cannabis and hydroponics space for over a decade. Beginning in California in 2009, he has held positions in cultivation, operations, marketing, and business development. Looking specifically to writing, Kent has worked with many of the leading publications and marketing agencies in the cannabis space. His writing has been recognized by such icons as Steve D’Angelo and Rick Simpson.