How to “Make It” as a Millennial Event Planner
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.
It can be challenging to break into a career in event planning. Most jobs require experience, certifications and specialized skills. But we all had to start somewhere. Know that you will pave your own unique path towards a successful event planning career. All it takes is having the right skills and experience under your belt—easy peasy!
Just kidding—we know how hard it is find your footing when you’re new to industry. Thankfully, you’re not alone! Check out these tips for success for budding millennial event planners!
Millennials have an edge-up
If you’re a millennial, you’re likely at the forefront of the latest trends. You know exactly what’s happening in the technology, social media, and design realms! You are likely technology proficient, meaning that you may know how to use social media to maximize visibility on any interest. This places you ahead of the curve when building a brand or marketing something—whether it be an event, an organization, or yourself.
Better yet, are you in-the-know about the latest event technology trends, from live graffiti art battles to live-tweeting at an event? Whatever it is, don’t forget to tout your skills and know-how as key assets on your event planner resume! Make sure to talk about the things that set you apart generationally. Doing so can benefit your career growth, abilities and progression in the event planner industry.
As you learn more about event planning, you’ll find out what it is you excel at. Is it your creativity or your business smarts? Maybe you excel at handling extremely stressful situations (a.k.a. large-scale productions). Or perhaps you rock at managing a diverse team and complex budgets. As you gain experience, you’ll begin to find your niche—the types of services you love to do!
For example, take a look at the Founder and CEO of Social Tables. He’s a millennial tech entrepreneur who created the leading platform for diagramming event floor plans, designs, and more. He recognized a need in the event industry for software that would help planners do their job more efficiently and put his unique skillset to work.
Knowledge through hands-on experience
Establishing yourself in the industry isn’t easy. How can you become an event planner without any experience under your belt? There’s truly nothing like gaining real-world experience, but it doesn’t necessarily need to come from a full-time job…
Here are three ways you can gain valuable experience as a novice planner.
- If you’re a millennial with more flexibility in your schedule, consider applying for an internship under a seasoned planner. If they can’t commit to a formal internship, you may consider shadowing them instead. Reach out to them on LinkedIn or shoot them an email. It may seem awkward, but many event planners are open to meeting for coffee and an informational interview.
- You can also volunteer with an organization where you can gain real-world experience by showcasing your event planning skills. For example, you can volunteer with a non-profit organization and help them plan event logistics or create the event decor for a gala.
- Opportunities in the hospitality industry are also a great way to get started. You might work private events for a restaurant or work a part-time catering position as a server. By gaining experience, you gain knowledge. But knowledge also comes from education…
Knowledge through professional event planner training
Professional training ensures that you have the proper knowledge and credentials to walk the walk.
When you complete a recognized event planning course, you’ll earn a physical event planning certificate. Not only will you earn the technical skills to work with a variety of clients and event professionals should you start your own event planning business. But you’ll also stand out as a well-rounded, knowledgeable candidate for an event planning job with a company.
It comes down to you
As a millennial planner myself, I’ve experienced the recession that taught me just how much hard work and determination can pay off. And if you’re anything like me, you’re non-complacent, driven, and passionate about doing meaningful work. While getting ahead in your career still requires hard work and patience, your ambition and determination will certainly help you climb the career ladder.
Do you have any tips for young millennials who want to enter the event planning industry? Leave a comment!