From the Experts, Your Event Career
Fix These 7 Event Planning Resume Mistakes Right Now!
Alyssa Perna has over a decade of event operations experience for leading multinational business-to-business conferences, festivals and trade shows, press conferences, large-scale fundraisers, complex social events, and more. She is the founder of Experience Events, the Managing Director of Ingenuity Cleveland, and the lead instructor (and tutor!) for QC’s Corporate Event Planning Course.
Imagine that you work for a corporate event planning agency, and an Event Manager position just became available. Your supervisor asks you to look through the 150+ applications and select the top 30 applicants. What would you look for to identify the best applications to present to your boss? What keywords in a resume best address the needs of the job? A well-written, creative, and aesthetically appealing resume will stand out among the rest.
Use this exercise to tailor your own event planner resume. What would the hiring manager or event planning client want to see in your resume? Applying for an event planning job is not as simple as filling out an application. You need to spend quality time customizing your resume to present yourself in the perfect light. Start by carefully vetting your resume with critical eyes, and delete the following things off your resume!
1. DON’T write a lengthy objective statement
Objective statements have become outdated. For many planners, the space could be better used with other information. There is an exception, though. If you’re new to the industry or are trying to showcase how your skills and experience align with a particular opportunity, consider including a short (1-2 sentences long) statement of intent.
2. DON’T use generic words or cliché phrases
Generic words like helped, worked, responsible for, duties include, and responded appear often in resumes. So do cliché phrases like “think outside the box” or “team player”. But just because they appear frequently doesn’t mean they add anything to your corporate event planning resume. In fact, using these bland words can bury your resume among your competitors.
Instead, swap out generic words with “power words”. Approved, achieved, exceeded, accomplished, and resolved are great examples.
Pro Tip: Use thesaurus.com to find stronger synonyms of generic resume words.
3. DON’T state “references available upon request”
Don’t state the obvious! A potential employer will contact you separately for references if necessary.
4. DON’T list hobbies or any bad work experiences
Remember that this is your first introduction to your potential new employer, so keep it professional. If you had a job opportunity that didn’t work out, you don’t have to list it on your resume! It’s also not necessary to list work experience that isn’t relevant to the job you’re applying for.
5. DON’T overstate your education
Keep it simple. List the event planner school you’ve attended, and indicate the event planning certificate or designation earned. If you are still in the middle of your studies, you can put down your anticipated path to obtain your degree or certificate. You don’t need to list all course work undertaken in your professional education.
6. DON’T lie about your experience
This should be obvious, but don’t lie. If the hiring manager discovers a single lie, it could be enough to raise doubts in their mind about everything you’ve said.
7. DON’T make your resume more than 1 page long
If a professional with 30+ years of experience can condense their resume to 1 page, so can you. Save the extended version of your resume for the job interview, or expand in your cover letter!
What should I add to my event planner resume?
We not going to just focus on the negatives. Now that you’ve cleared away all the unnecessary filler in your resume, it’s time to edit what you have left. You may need to add additional details to round out your accomplishments. Here’s what you should focus on with your remaining space.
1. Tailor your resume for each job you apply for
Don’t just read the job title and submit your resume blindly. Customize your resume so that it addresses all the criteria in that specific event planning job description. Focus on the key skills and attributes that will help you stand out among other applicants. You want the hiring manager to see you as the missing puzzle piece who will complete their organization!
2. Get specific with facts and measurable results
Instead of stating “Educated potential sponsors about the benefits of being involved with this event” state “Sold $35,000 in sponsorship packages, exceeding goals by 20%”. These measurable outcomes prove that you’re good at what you do and are an excellent candidate for the new position. The more specific you can be, the better!
3. List relevant volunteer experience
Potential employers may not be interested in your hobbies. But they are interested in knowing about your volunteer efforts. Volunteering is great for the community and can reinforce your acquired event planning skills. You may even learn a thing or two in a volunteer role—therefore, this is a welcomed enhancement to your resume!
4. Format your resume so it’s easy on the eye
Your resume should be in a simple and organized yet eye-catching layout. The font size should be 10-12 point and in reverse-chronological order. That means you should start with the most recent experience first and go backward from there.
5. Check your resume for spelling errors, grammar, and typos
It is so easy to miss duplicated words, mangled phrases, and formatting errors that could tank your chances at landing an interview. Double-check your resume for these errors. Once you’re done your check, go back and do it again! Better yet, have someone else proofread your work and provide feedback!
6. List your honors, awards, and achievements
A resume should be a summary of your most relevant professional experiences, skills, and qualifications. If you have been recognized by other organizations, these honors are well-deserving of a place in your resume. Include anything that will making you stand out from competing planners.
These are some of the biggest resume mistakes I’ve seen as a hiring manager myself. Lastly, and while they may seem obvious, don’t forget to check for the following!
- Include your contact information—email address and phone number is plenty!
- Don’t make your resume too busy with lots of colors, graphics, and images. The simpler, the better, but some color is welcome to show your creativity!
- No headshots on your resume—that’s what LinkedIn is for!
And last but not least, don’t forget to create a well-crafted cover letter to make you stand out even more!
Did we miss anything? Let us know in a comment!