Steph Long is the Brand Manager and Editor at Ticketpass, a socially conscious tech-for-good events company that has become the leading ethical alternative within the events industry. Steph has more than five years of experience as a B2B and B2C content writer within the travel industry, ecommerce and events.
5 Steps to Kickstart and Build Your Career as an Event Professional
There is no one route to success when it comes to starting and building your career in event planning. It may feel like you’re always faced with the same question: “What event planner experience do you have?” Aside from gaining a certification, there are numerous other factors to consider before hitting “apply” on that application.
We have put together some smart steps to get you on the road to your dream career as a successful event organizer.
Keep Up to Date With Industry Trends
This is key. Always do your research. In interviews, you’ll often be asked about current trends, and, at events, you’ll have no chance unless you know who the movers and shakers are at the present time. Knowing your stuff proves that you are serious about a career in event management.
Tip: Follow industry-related hashtags trending on social media. It’s a sure-fire way to access daily news and information. Also, check out blogs and online publications specifically for event professionals, and read anything you find interesting. It’s important to have an opinion, too, as it shows your knowledge and expertise. Plus, it gives you an interesting topic to talk about when you’re networking.
Showcase Your Transferable Skills
You’d think you’d need event industry experience to have a portfolio, right? Well, that isn’t strictly true. Did you used to work in retail, where social skills and relationship building were crucial? Or maybe you worked in hospitality or within the food and drink industry, where you picked up knowledge on nutrition and catering? More often than not, the skills you picked up in past roles are transferable to working in events.
Tip: Do you want to display your skills in a creative way? Why not set up a blog that showcases your knowledge through blog posts? In addition, what about utilizing social media to share videos and photos to highlight your eye for event design. Or just simply engage in online forums and groups. This is your time to shine and stand out from the crowd.
Relationship building and networking skills are key in the world of events. It’s important to start and continue connecting and interacting with event industry professionals as much as possible, both online and in person.
LinkedIn is a great way to engage with other professionals in your sector. Also, try following and joining groups, so you can get involved in relevant conversations. And keep up to date with or follow established planners. You may also want to reach out to specific event organizers via email. If you do, be sure to check that they’re open to outreach. You can do this by simply checking if their LinkedIn biography contains contact information.
Tip: Always personalize your outreach email. Add a bit of personality and reference a key piece of information on them. This will increase your chances of a response. Generic template emails are recognizable to people who’ve been at it for a long time.
Connecting with people in person at industry events or otherwise can be more effective, as putting a face to a name can make you more memorable. Thinking long term, connections like these could lead to future jobs down the road. It’s all about who you know. Set some targets for yourself, such as getting the contact details of a certain number of people.
Tip: Approach it curiously and with an open mind. People will respond well if you ask genuine questions and take an interest in what they do. And be real. Share fun stories about yourself. Creating rapport is key.
Like any job, volunteering is a great way to get a foot in the door and get a real feel for what it is like to work in the industry, as well as continue building your career as an event professional. It will give you additional knowledge and an edge when it comes to applying for jobs and advancing your career down the road.
Tip: Find a company you want to work for or a board you want to serve on. Choose a role you’d like to have, and see who is in it now. Track back and see where they started out. You may find inspiration right there.
Lastly, trust your own abilities. Ask yourself, “If I was the interviewer, would I trust this person to manage my event?” From time management and organization to creativity and logistics, being an event organizer requires a lot of skills. But being confident in social situations and in yourself, as much as is possible, is key.
Tip: We know being confident doesn’t come naturally to everyone but remember this: We’ve all got strengths, and we all have weaknesses. Just try to focus on the things you know you’re good at and celebrate them.