Opportunities in The Cannabis Job Market

2020 was a big year for the legal cannabis industry.  Employment in cannabis-related fields exceeded that of many mainstream industries, including nurse practitioners and web developers.  Cannabis added over 77,000 full time jobs in 2020 alone, even as the pandemic caused other jobs to shutter.  That’s 32% year-over-year job growth.  By 2025, the legal marijuana industry will employ up to 600,000 full-time workers across the US.

Signs point to continued growth for the cannabis industry.  1 in 3 Americans now live in states with legalized marijuana.  Support for legalization continues to grow across the nation.  Montana is the newest state to allow recreational use, beginning in 2022.  As legalization comes to more states, so too does the need to set up shop to meet demand.  Employees who get in on the action early at entry level have the chance to advance rapidly.  Someone who begins as a harvester may become a master grower before the decade’s out, with the salary to match.  

What kinds of jobs are available in the cannabis industry?  All kinds.  Some require specialized education, but others are available to everyone.  Delivering marijuana as a driver isn’t much different from delivering other types of goods.  Trimmers or cultivators for cannabis crops are often recruited from cooks or dishwashers in the restaurant industry.  For someone used to selling alcohol or cigarettes, selling recreational marijuana as a cashier or “budtender” isn’t much different.  For those who transfer to the cannabis industry from restaurants or retail, many find a more supportive and welcoming workplace than the one they left behind. 

Jobs that require more specific knowledge include extraction technicians. Because these techs maintain a laboratory environment, they are expected to have some type of scientific background.  Dispensary managers are often recruited from high end retailers or pharmacology, depending on whether they’re selling recreationally or for medical purposes.  An edibles chef is expected to know how to cook regular baked goods, candies, or beverages before creating marijuana-laced food products.  Quality control experts must understand biology, agronomy, chemistry, or entomology on top of ensuring compliance with health, safety, and potency standards.  Master extractors face similar qualification barriers.

Beyond jobs that deal with marijuana directly, there is a need for support services in the industry.  Marketers, human resource specialists, legal experts, accountants, and so on are present in all businesses once they reach a certain size.  The cannabis industry is highly regulated in the states where it’s allowed to exist.  Said regulations require specialized knowledge for nearly every aspect of operations.  Certain states require marijuana worker licenses.  Professionals who want a job in the cannabis industry need to show they understand the history, social impact, and medical benefits of marijuana.  One should present themselves as professional, not an enthusiast.

Few industries are expanding as rapidly as the cannabis market.  Potential job opportunities get posted to specialized job boards such as 420 Careers and Ganjapreneur.  Get in on the action early; secure a marijuana job and watch salaries grow with the industry.

Expanding Access to Credit with Alternative Data

Access to mainstream financial services requires new insights into individual finance history. Many Americans today have little to no credit due to various reasons, and this can lead to difficulties getting loans and can lead to higher rates on insurance. So what are the reasons so many people in the country have low credit and what is the solution? 

1 in 5 adults in the U.S lack the credit history needed to establish a credit score. 67 million Americans have a thin credit file–meaning they have four or less accounts– and 25 million are considered completely credit invisible. 63 million of these consumers with low credit are also under banked. This lack of banking as well as lack of credit means that consumers have to rely on high-cost alternative financial products and services such as check cashing or pawn shops.

There are many reasons that consumers can have little-to-no credit history. Oftentimes younger people or people who are new to using credit can be intimidated by starting new accounts or not sure where to even start. Other consumers may not use credit accounts or be cash or debit card users. Still others can be recently widowed or divorced and be left to deal with their own finances for the first time in years! 

These various reasons for credit invisibility can be costly to consumers. Subprime credit scores can bring up to $30,000 more in interest on an average thirty year mortgage compared to a prime score. Credit invisibility can also bring higher interest rates on personal loans and higher premiums for auto, home, and rental insurance. These financial consequences aren’t fair considering the reasons that most consumers are credit invisible, so what is the solution?

Leveraging alternative data could move 20 million more U.S. consumers into scorable credit bands. 21% of credit thin or invisible consumers could become scorable and 18% could qualify for prime or near prime offers.  There are many forms of alternative data that can be used, and all data that is used is consumer permissioned meaning that consumers can choose what information is leveraged with their credit score. 

One example of alternative data that can be used is rental payment data. Many landlords perform credit checks as part of the leasing process, but rental data is not included in credit reports. 51% of consumers believe it would be helpful to have rental payment information included in credit reports. On time payments would show that a person is financially responsible in the same way credit information does. 

Another form of alternative data is the work number database. Employment and income verification can assess U.S consumers’ ability to pay. If the work number database was used in credit decisions it could move more than 7M people into prime or super prime categories. In fact the work number service fulfilled 223M verifications for consumers in 2020 alone. 

Credit is important for making big purchases such as cars or homes for many Americans. It is important that the opportunity for prime scores are available for people even with limited credit history. The leverage of alternative data can provide the opportunity to access mainstream financial services for the credit invisible population in the U.S. today.

5 ways to ace any virtual interview

Interviews are one of the most challenging stages in one’s career. The thought that a stranger can ask you any questions for 45 minutes to 1 hour is nerve-wracking.

COVID has made this even harder, as most interviews are conducted online via remote collaboration tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, etc. During virtual interviews, the factors you have to keep in mind are different from in-person interviews.

Being mindful of these differences can help anyone ace their online interviews and stand out from the crowd. Here are five tips to increase your chances of getting your dream job.

1. Have a Good Background

Picture this: You are watching a movie and engrossed in it. Suddenly, someone keeps walking in between your line of sight. Would you be distracted? The answer is a resounding Yes. The same applies to virtual interviews as well.

When attending these interviews, you need to make sure your background is free of distractions that could steer the interviewer’s attention from you. You do not want your pets, kids, or objects moving in the background, and your goal is to have their fullest attention, starting with keeping your surroundings clean.

If you find tidying up difficult, use a virtual background or a backdrop (preferably plain in color) that can mask all the objects within the viewing area of the tool you are using. Before your call, test your video screen with a friend to ensure everything is set up correctly, and that your audio and camera are working correctly as well.

2. Dress Professionally

One of the common misconceptions about virtual interviews is that you do not need to dress up, which is far from the truth. Like onsite interviews, the interviewers judge you by the way you look, which is a human tendency.

Make yourself appear professional and treat these interviews like in-person interviews. Organizations respect people who take their interviews seriously, and dressing up professionally is one way of showing your interest in working for that particular company.

3. Pay Attention to Your Body Language

Body language and tone of voice are essential parts of our daily communication. In 1971, Albert Mehrabian, a researcher on non-verbal communication, came up with the “7%-38%-55%” rule, which became popular worldwide and remains relevant. He found that words account for 7%, tone of voice accounts for 38%, and body language accounts for 55% of daily communication. This means an astounding 93% of our daily communication is non-verbal.

So, it is important to pay attention to non-verbal cues when communicating in online interviews. Maintaining eye contact when talking to the person on the screen makes the conversation more effective – one tip is to move the interviewer’s picture/window to near your computer’s camera, for this (and your own picture too, so you know if you have spinach in your teeth). If you have multiple screens, do not keep turning your head as it is distracting. If you have to turn to refer to something during an interview, jot down those points in sticky notes and stick them on the sides of your main screen used for the discussion. In this way, your focus would look more natural.

Also, be aware of whether you are rocking in your chair, shaking your leg, your facial expressions, and your tone of voice. All these important factors for onsite interviews hold for virtual interviews as well.

4. Prepare Ice Breakers

When you meet someone for the first time, it helps if you do some research on them. Think of it like meeting your in-laws for the first time. Before you meet the person, you may look at their social media profile, take notes on their interest areas, and find some commonalities between you both to strike up an interesting conversation. This applies to virtual interviews as well.

Before you get on the interview call, use LinkedIn to look at your interviewer’s profile. Take notes on their interest areas and find some commonalities between you and them to use as an ice breaker conversation. For example, if you find out the interviewer volunteers at the same place as you, then open up the conversation saying, “Hey, by the way, I noticed that you volunteer at the Red Cross, I do the same as well.” This will immediately grab the interviewer’s attention.

According to research, It takes a tenth of a second to make a first impression of a stranger from their face, and that longer exposures don’t significantly alter those impressions (although they might boost your confidence in your judgments). So these ice breaker conversations help create that positive first impression you need to crack the interview.

5. Record Yourself Answering Commonly Asked Questions

One of the main reasons people fail interviews is that they do not give succinct replies to some commonly asked questions; that you know will be asked. Some of them include:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Tell me about a time where you solved a complex problem?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

 

Instead of thinking about answering these questions and blurting out whatever comes to your mind, prepare for it in advance.

Record yourself answering those questions using video recording tools and analyze how you are doing. At first, it may feel intimidating, but the more you practice the answers, the more comfortable you get in answering them during the interview. Do your homework.

Acing virtual interviews is not difficult if you prepare for them well in advance and follow these strategies. Best of luck, and remember to mute yourself when sneezing!!

 

Bio

Raj Subrameyer is a tech career strategist

focusing on helping people to land their dream job and become successful

leaders. He has given multiple TEDx talks and is a sought-after speaker at

various conferences and has been featured in numerous TV news segments,

podcasts, and publications. His areas of expertise include career advancement,

leadership, motivation, productivity, and entrepreneurship. In his spare time,

he loves traveling and enjoying craft beer. You can find more info about how he

serves people through his website, www.rajsubra.com.

 

Twitter handle  https://twitter.com/epsilon11

Full name: Raj Subrameyer

Title – Tech Career Strategist, Author & Keynote Speaker

Company – ChaiLatte Consulting