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It takes the right kind of experience, cannabis education, and a people-loving personality to land a job as a budtender. If joining the hottest industry in New York City is your calling, read this advice from our hiring team before filling out the application.

Gain retail experience

At its core, being a budtender is about providing a great retail experience for customers. So, even if you don’t have the cannabis knowledge to break into the industry right away, you can bolster your resume by gaining experience at other retail establishments. You’ll pick up plenty of skills and knowledge that can transfer to the cannabis industry.

Learn about cannabis and cannabis products

Of course, to be a successful budtender, you need to know a lot about cannabis. It certainly helps if you try the products, but it takes more than that to help customers make the right choices. Understanding the science of the plant helps you make more informed suggestions depending on the experience customers want.

Start by exploring your local cannabis market to see what brands and products are out there, which ones are popular, and why New Yorkers like them. This information will help you better serve customers in a cannabis dispensary when you’re working as a budtender. Plus, dispensaries like The Travel Agency offer additional training so you’re best prepared to guide customers on their journeys.

Not sure where to start to learn about cannabis? Check out The Travel Agency blog to level up your cannabis knowledge.

Study the tech platforms cannabis dispensaries use

Every retail operation uses technology like point-of-sale (POS) systems, credit card processors, loyalty programs, and e-commerce menus. In cannabis, these are sometimes cannabis-specific platforms. Do some research into these platforms before applying for a job as a budtender. Being able to speak to their nuances can help you land the job compared to candidates who aren’t as readily familiar with tech platforms designed specifically for cannabis retailers.

Network with cannabis professionals

Don’t underestimate the power of getting face time with other professionals already working in the cannabis industry. Attend cannabis-related events and network with others who have been working in the space to build the all-important connections that will keep you plugged into who’s hiring. Some of these connections may even pay off as job references down the line.

Check out the list of licensed cannabis dispensaries

To give yourself the best chance of landing a job, you need to know which licensed cannabis dispensaries operate in New York City. New York State’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) maintains a list of licensed cannabis dispensaries statewide. You can use this list to identify which dispensaries are located in New York City. Get in touch and see if any are looking for new budtenders.

Apply for open positions at a licensed cannabis dispensary

Once you’ve completed the following steps, you’re more than ready to apply for open budtender positions. With the groundwork you’ve laid, you’ll elevate your chances of landing an interview and getting the gig.

What skills do you need as a budtender?

These skills can help you stand out from the crowd and give you a leg up in the budtender hiring process.

Customer service skills: The way you relate to customers is incredibly important as a budtender. That not only means making customers feel at home and supported when they walk in the door but also knowing how to handle overwhelmed customers with care and patience.

Sales skills: You’ll go far as a budtender if you know how to make sales. Being able to upsell or cross-sell to customers without coming off as pushy is an important capability. For example, if a customer is buying a certain strain of flower because they’re looking for restful sleep, seeing it as an opportunity to also suggest a deeply relaxing edible could help drive additional sales.

Inventory management skills: When working as a budtender, it’s important to understand what products your store carries and how they’re organized. Even if you’re not in charge of managing inventory, it can make your job easier if you have a clear understanding of every SKU on location, which products are out of stock, and when additional products are arriving. These skills can also help you make a strong case for promotion when management positions open.

In addition to these skills, a growth mindset and willingness to learn will help you go far. The cannabis space is often changing, so being ready to adapt and absorb new information can separate a good budtender from a great one.

What job experience can help you get hired as a budtender?

Knowledge of cannabis and, more specifically, the cannabis products for sale in New York, is invaluable when applying to become a budtender in NYC. Understand the facts about cannabis compounds, like cannabinoids and terpenes, and how they affect consumers. Moreover, stay on top of the major brands and popular product types that are available to consumers in the New York market.

It’s also important to understand the importance of shopping from a licensed dispensary. Only licensed dispensaries in New York City sell lab-tested products that have been properly traced to their source in the Empire State. Shopping a licensed dispensary also supports New Yorkers here at home, boosting the local economy and uplifting brands that are proud to be from New York. Understanding the importance of a licensed dispensary helps you educate customers on the crucial differences.

Stay on top of the rules and regulations governing the local market. While you may not need to know these inside and out as a budtender, it’s helpful to be aware of them so you can better support your team. This knowledge is also helpful as you advance in your career and seek leadership opportunities.

As we covered earlier, retail experience and knowledge of POS systems are two highly-coveted skills that easily transfer to the dispensary. Although many things about working in a cannabis dispensary are different from a conventional retailer, the skills related to customer service, inventory management, product knowledge, and use of point-of-sale systems are essential.

What do budtenders get paid in NYC?

You can expect to get paid anywhere between $31,000 and $41,000 per year as a budtender in New York City, according to Salary.com. The average wage for NYC budtenders is $18.87 per hour, according to Indeed.

Join The Travel Agency team as a budtender

If you’re passionate about cannabis and want to be on the frontlines of the legal industry here in New York City, there’s no better way than to join The Travel Agency team. Our locations in Manhattan near Union Square and Downtown Brooklyn near the Barclays Center serve New Yorkers some of the best cannabis products available in New York every day — and we need great budtenders to do it. Could you be the next member of The Travel Agency’s team of friendly, knowledgeable budtenders? We’d love to meet you and find out.

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