I’m contacted on a daily basis by people wanting to know how best to enter the world of events. What should they do? Is there a specific course I would recommend? Can they have some work experience? What qualities do we look for when we recruit – is it experience or qualifications?
Personally I think you need to be motivated, smiley, organised, determined, flexible, committed, dependable, proactive, creative and able to work as a team player. Being an event manager is not always glamorous, in fact it requires dedication, long hours and a whole lot of problem solving! That’s without taking into account endlessly sat at your PC creating contracts, contacting clients new and old and getting out there to build relationships. If you’re thinking about walking the red carpet think again – you’ll be watching a lot of people walking it meanwhile be prepared to be the person behind the scenes with a cool calm and collected exterior but on the inside with a knotted stomach, frantically searching for solutions to unforeseen circumstances.
As an avid fan of the events industry and someone that has been born with a creative flair and hospitality running through my veins I can whole heartedly say I love what I do, it energises me and if you think you got what it takes then you should give it a go. Its becoming a competitive market though – I’d even go as far as to say it has become one of those ‘trendy’ careers to pursue; a bit like marketing was a few years ago. Sadly there just aren’t always the jobs to go around though. So, if I haven’t managed to put you off yet then here are the options:
Through Education and Training
There never used to be any formal education or training route available to become an event planner. However, there are now a number of universities across the UK that offers a degree in Event Management. These are usually sandwich courses which mean that you get to have a spell within the industry at the same time. Other avenues you could explore might be a degree in with a background in marketing or hospitality management which could well get you a step in the right direction.. Many event planners start out this way. There are always seminars in event planning you could enrol on which are facilitated by industry professionals.
Through Work Experience
I think times have changed and anyone wanting to get into the industry can also think about getting out there and looking for some work experience, after all the best way to get a job as an event planner is to get a job as an event planner!! There is no replacement for experience. As a company we fully support placement students and internships. The recruitment process is the same and at the end of it we give the ‘right’ person the position. My advice would be don’t feel daunted by if you are just starting out, just get stuck in and embrace every challenge that comes your way.
You don’t have to be a college student to get an internship. Your local chamber of commerce or regional business directories should be able to advise you of successful event planners in your area through. You might need to offer your services for free in exchange for valuable experience, mentorship and a possible reference down the road for when you begin job hunting. Alternatively I believe there are now even apprenticeship schemes available information of which yo should be able to source through your local council.