Just Graduated? Here’s How to Land Your First Corporate Event Planning Job – Part 2
Alyssa Perna is the Head of Operations & Productions for the Americas at Smithers and the lead instructor (and tutor!) for QC’s Corporate Event Planning course. If you missed part 1 of her job-hunt series, she discusses how to make yourself competitive in the fierce job market. Today, in part 2 of her series, she’ll go over what to do after getting your foot through the door!
Ask for informational interviews or find a mentor
As your search progresses, you may find it difficult to know exactly what a specific job may entail. Reach out to people currently in a role you desire to ask them for an informational interview.
An informational interview is where a job seeker sits down with the employer to learn about the position and the grand scheme of the industry and career path. The employer also benefits from learning about an eager candidate who they can choose to add to their pool of future, potential hires.
If you’ve found someone who goes above and beyond in providing you with guidance and expertise in the industry, ask them to become your mentor.
Craft compelling cover letters
When you find the perfect job, you must to write a compelling cover letter to supplement your application. A great cover letter will draw the reader in right from the first sentence. In the body, it should progress to confidently showcase your skills and experiences through facts and data. You must perfect your spelling and grammar as this is the employer’s first impression on your communication skills.
Every cover letter should be customized to the job you are applying to. I have a few cover letters I keep on-hand in case a job I like pops up. If I decide to apply, I incorporate key words and terms from the job description to enhance and customize my cover letter for that specific role.
Prepare for your first interview
You applied and were contacted by HR (Human Resources.) Great work! Now it’s time for the initial interview. This typically consists of a phone screening with a representative of the human resources department. The HR rep is jumping on the phone with you to assess a few key elements:
- Can you “talk the talk”? Your resume and cover letter were impressive, but can you communicate effectively and present yourself as a true professional?
- Did you research the company, what they do, and what the role may entail?
- Do you have sincere excitement about the opportunity and interest in the company?
- Do your salary requirements fit within the range that the opportunity is able to compensate?
- Do you seem like a possible fit for the company culture?
- What questions do you have about the opportunity, or the organization?
Be prepared for the initial interview by practicing your answers out loud prior to the screening. You may also wish to write down your responses ahead of time do thorough research on the company and what the role entails. The phone screening and the HR rep act as the gatekeepers towards progressing through the rest of the interview process.
Be flexible and don’t give up!
My first full-time job was not in event planning, and it not by choice. When I was starting my career, I had a few event planning internships under my belt. But most of the entry-level event planning jobs I wanted required a few years of full-time experience. Having flexibility and never giving up eventually got me where I wanted to be.
My first full-time job was providing customer service for a public relations and earned media company. While it wasn’t the most ideal “first” job given my career plans to become an event planner, I kept my foot in the door. I continued to gain additional skills and experiences in event planning.
I volunteered to lead the organization’s Charitable Giving Committee where we planned and organized fundraising events for a nonprofit organization. I also volunteered my skills at various nonprofit organizations to continue adding experiences to my resume. This all eventually leading to my first full-time job as an event manager at a local museum a few years later.
The point is, be flexible and don’t give up. While event planning is a rewarding career, it is competitive. You must be flexible and strategic with how you maneuver opportunities to take your career to the next level!
All tutors at QC Event School had to start somewhere. If you follow the tips and advice given in this post (and the last!), I’m confident that your job hunt will progress. You’ll land that first job opportunity in events in no time.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with our readers? Leave a comment!