Take your Event Career to the Next Level
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. Earlier last month, Alyssa hosted a webinar about finding, applying for, and landing jobs in the event industry. If you missed it, don’t worry! We’re going to recap the webinar for you below.
6 Ways to Achieve Success in Your Career in Event Planning
Alyssa began her webinar with a thorough presentation of the six key areas you need to target to take your planning career to the next level. She presented them in sequential order—make sure you address all these concerns!
Alyssa discusses numerous types and strategies with relevant examples to help guide you to success. As they’re far too numerous, we highly suggest watching her video presentation below to get the inside scoop! Or, you can skip further below for a summary of her key points and Q&A answers.
- Write an amazing resume
- Establish an online presence and how to best represent yourself and your event planning business
- Create and maintain strong relationships with industry professionals
- Find and secure opportunities for yourself
- Set yourself up in the best position to apply for jobs
- Do’s and Don’ts for accelerating your business
Where do I start and what’s an “entry level” position?
Most jobs are found online these days. Alyssa suggests getting on LinkedIn and setting up your professional profile. The platform allows you to list your skills and experience and get notified about jobs that match your skillset. Setting yourself up with email notifications allows you to be up-to-date with the newest opportunities.
Other job posting websites include Indeed.com, Monster.com, and Glassdoor.com! Glassdoor.com, in particular, hosts reviews from current and former employees of companies listed. If you’re interviewing for a job, you can use the site to see what the employee experience is like and hear first-hand accounts about the company.
The events industry is incredibly competitive. Ensure you’re ready to apply as quickly as possible. You want to be one of the first ones in—there are probably 400 people applying right behind you!
As for an entry level job, it likely would be for event coordination, catering, event management, event operations, or other administrative roles. Take whatever will get your foot in the door and grow from there.
I’m 20 years old, how do I make [event planning] my career?
Consider taking professional training courses! If you lack experience or a background in event planning, an education gives you a great foundation in key the skills and knowledge you’ll need. This will position you well to enter into the industry.
Alyssa’s educational background wasn’t in event planning. She attended a college where earning a degree in event planning didn’t exist. So, she earned a degree in PR and Communications, and then completed many event planning internships. If you’re coming from another, but similar, background to event planning, making the transition can be simple!
Regarding internships, some have minimal pay, some might have a stipend, and some are voluntary (hospital or non-profit). If you have the time, absolutely get an internship. These experiences are invaluable and it allows you to build your resume, skills, and experiences. Everything you learn in an internship, you’ll need when applying for full-time positions.
Pairing a solid education with internship experience is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for a successful career. Taking an event planning or event management course allows you to have the theoretical background to back your technical skills. You’ll learn how to adapt the event planning process to whatever type of event you’re expected to plan.
I’m concerned that I’m not social savvy. What would you suggest to better my social bug?
Alyssa mentions that she actually isn’t as social in the office as she may come across. In fact, she may even be one of the quietest! This is all difficult to believe when you consider how comfortable she is giving public speeches to large audiences. But when it comes to being social, she admits that she still struggles with it.
Alyssa’s best advice is to practice! Practice putting yourself out there. You can practice introducing yourself to someone you just met. Make sure you know what your strengths are and key details about your experience and ambitions. A great way to start the conversation is to ask questions about the other person. It’s difficult to approach someone to just introduce yourself. But putting yourself out there, even if it’s uncomfortable, is a fantastic way to propel yourself and your career forward.
Do you have any networking tips? Leave us a comment!