event planner her first year

5 Mistakes ALL Rookie Event Planners Make Their First Year

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

Landing your first job in the events industry is something to be proud of. There are a limited amount of event planner jobs in any given location, and the competition is fierce. Now it’s time to truly begin your career in event planning, so how can you ensure success in the role?

Avoid these rookie mistakes by learning from the mistakes I’ve seen made or have made myself!

Mistake 1: Overstepping your boundaries

employee talking to suspicious boss - going over your bosses head

You may be a new employee to an organization or this could be your first full-time job. While it’s important to put your head down and get to work, it’s also important to foster good relationships and build trust with the team. Introduce yourself to colleagues, offer a helping hand when needed and be professional, polite and courteous.

Understand the reporting structure of your division. If you experience the inevitable challenge, use the organizational chart as a guideline on how to escalate issues. That means you should not reach out to your boss’ boss, or someone higher up the chain without letting your supervisor know why you’re doing it. Unless you are experiencing a serious issue, which would require the help and advice of your HR department, avoid overstepping your boundaries.

Mistake 2: Not taking responsibility for your mistakes

While it can be difficult and embarrassing to make a mistake, we’re all human. I make mistakes all the time. I’ve found that I am the most successful when I own up to my mistake, apologize, reflect, and recognize the actions I need to take to correct the mistake and move forward. Accountability and humility go a long way. It shows your maturity toward handling bigger and better things in the future. Be curious and open to taking on new tasks and learning something new at the organization. This may take you out of your comfort zone, but it shows initiative.

Mistake 3:  Not asking questions even when you’re confused

confused event planner

It’s natural for anyone new to an organization or in a new role to have questions about how to get the job done right. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. It’s better to clarify the assigned task versus completing the task and having to redo it because the instructions were not clear in the first place.

A good manager will enjoy coaching you towards success in your role. They would prefer you to ask questions to get the job done right! Once you’re more comfortable in the position, you’re likely to have fewer questions. Instead, don’t hesitate to speak up if you have suggestions on how the organization can make operational improvements toward a more efficient and effective workplace!


Mistake 4: Writing angry emails and not proofreading your work

To this day, I re-read nearly every email I write before I press “send.” You must be cautious of your tone, spelling, grammar, and message. Remember, you are a reflection of the work you produce, so showcase the best “you” in the workplace.

I never send an email if I’m upset or angry about something. While I may create a draft email, I’ll wait 24 hours to settle down, proofread it, and rewrite it until I get my message just right. One nasty email could cause leadership to pass you up for a potential promotion or new opportunity in the future.

Mistake 5: Bad behavior

Your behavior is just as important as your performance. You may do your event planner duties amazingly at work. But I’ve seen one too many top performers with horrendous, unprofessional behavior in the workplace. Their behavior has tanked any opportunity to move up in the organization and take on leadership roles, all due to behavior.

casual workplace start up with good employee and employer relationship

If you meet a colleague who makes inappropriate or offensive jokes, or gossips behind fellow colleagues backs – stay away. Even if your new role is in a casual atmosphere – maybe you’re working at a laid-back, startup tech company – abide by professional behavior at all times. Use your manners, listen, think before you talk, “dress for the job you want”, and speak with tact and class. Mind your behavior at all times and make sure to maintain control of your emotions. One of my favorite quotes is, “Don’t get upset with people or situations. Both are powerless without your reaction.”

Last but not least, always be open to learning new things and learning from your mistakes. I hope these tips help you when beginning a new opportunity in the workplace!

What mistakes did we miss? Let us know in a comment!

Looking for jobs in other industries? Check out these 6 industries your event planning certification will thrive in!

One response to “5 Mistakes ALL Rookie Event Planners Make Their First Year”

    Market men says:

    Hi, Celina,
    I read your Blog. Your write correct thing. I agree with you. We want to avoid that things to do this kind of mistakes in event planning.

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