TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MANY TYPES EMPLOYERS
Events are used in many different industries. In event planning and managing you can find yourself working in tourism and travel, hospitality, sport, cultural or community sectors.
In addition, you can also find yourself working for very different types of employers. Employment options can include working for event or exhibition management companies, event venues, or large organisations that organise their own events.
A “day in the life” of an event planner could see you:
- Promoting a conference to clients
- responding to questions about hiring rooms, equipment, catering etc
- meeting with clients to discuss their event project
- coordinating conference facilities
- organising event registration for participants
With so many different options and combinations you have many potential ways to become an event planner.
NOTE THE MANY DIFFERENT JOB TITLES THAT CAN BE USED
Because our sector is so broad and diverse, it does means there are many different job titles used other than “Event Planner” that often mean the same thing and cover the same roles you want to do in your career.
It’s a good idea to become familiar with these different job terms and use them in your job searching. The difference job titles to look out for include:
- conference coordinator
- event or exhibition coordinator
- event or exhibition planner
- event sales coordinator
- function coordinator
- in-house meetings coordinator
- meetings coordinator
- staging coordinator
- venue coordinator
CHOOSE TO WORK AGENCY SIDE OR CLIENT SIDE
In the event industry you have a chance to work for an organisation that runs their own events internally (client side) or you can work for an organisation that does event planning and management on behalf of companies (agency side). Working client side or agency side will of course provide very different opportunities.
Client side offers the chance to work really closely on a more focussed role or objective. Agency side usually has multiple clients on offer with the opportunity to work across many different event campaigns. This can expose you to different types of events.
In either case, you can become an event planner directly for a company or you can work with an agency.
START GETTING EXPERIENCE ASAP
If you are just starting out it is highly recommended you try to gain experience through either smaller casual event jobs or volunteering at events.
Note most events require a lot of staff an will often rely on both casual workers and volunteers to make them happen.
So taking even minor roles such as wait staff or registration will help you get a start in sector and building up both experience and potential contacts for future jobs. Keep looking for these opportunities and add to your resume experience. Look on job boards or visit the event websites directly that often provide available jobs or volunteering opportunities.
Not only will these experiences give you experience – it will give you confidence when you apply for larger roles.
FOLLOW PEOPLE AND COMPANIES ON LINKEDIN
Event professionals along with many event companies and agencies have LinkedIn profiles that showcase their event and work. It’s a good idea to follow these organisations. Not only does this provide a good source of inspiration and industry trends – but often event organisations post job opportunities directly via their LinkedIn business pages.
ATTEND EVENTS AND OBSERVE WHAT GOES ON (PLUS NETWORK IF YOU ARE UP FOR IT)
There are so many public events and exhibitions that allow free entry. It is great idea to attend these events and observe how things are done. If you are confident talk to the event participants or vendors or find out who was in charge of the event and potentially use this as a way to start networking.
EVENT STAFFING AGENCIES
Many events rely on casual and temp staff to operate. These are often serviced by specialised recruitment agencies that specialise in event staff.
Note agencies often specialise in “types” of events i.e. dining, sports, exhibitions etc. So find agencies that work in the sector or event type you like and register for casual work as a way to start gaining experience and making contacts.
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO I NEED?
You can work as an event planner or manager without formal qualifications or training. However you may find a course in event management useful and help with expanding your career options.
Vocational courses and university course are both common study pathways this sector which include programs such as a Diploma or degree in event management. Often people will choose a program to get started in sector and up skill to more advanced level courses when they want to further develop their career.
Select a course that gives you the flexibility you need to complete your studies and matches your budget.