How to Start a Career in Event Management
So, you’ve come to the realisation that you can make a career out of planning and organising. That’s great. Our industry is in great shape and there are more event roles than ever before. But how do you make the transition from event hobbyist to event professional? There are no hard and fast rules but we’ve been around long enough to know a successful formula that works time and time again.
This step by step guide will give you what we think is the best way to go about turning your passion into a satisfying career in event management. Sure, there’s a bit of work to be done and a bit of commitment too, but like anything worthwhile, an incredible career doesn’t come easy.
Step 1: Find out that event management is really for you
It’s important to get this one right. You don’t want to get too far down the track and realise you’re barking up the wrong career tree. A good way to test that event management is for you is to go onto a recruitment website and search some different event roles, preferably in areas that you’re interested in. For example, if you see yourself in the music scene, don’t look at a corporate role. Once you’ve selected the role, look at the job description and see whether it sounds exciting or at least something you could see yourself doing. Look at the attributes required. Do some of those attributes–being organised, being a natural team player etc align with yours? One more thing. Make a list of pros and cons. What are the pros of being an event manager as opposed to what you’re doing now? The results of the list will cement your resolve.
JobOutlook, the Australian Government career website has this nice little career quiz. Have a go and see where you end up. Start the quiz HERE.
Step 2: Get yourself a qualification
No, it doesn’t have to be a qualification from College of Event Management, although we are the event experts (just saying), but it’s important to have a good amount of knowledge behind you. Why? Well, for a number of reasons. Firstly, any event is highly regulated, particularly in areas such as safety and security. Event managers need to know the relevant regulations that apply to a particular event. Secondly, events are complicated. There are many moving pieces and it requires quite a bit of training to know how these pieces all fit and work together. Lastly, having knowledge and good practical skills will give you the confidence you need to apply for that great job. And when you sit down at your computer on the first day of work, won’t it be great to think to yourself, ‘I really know what I’m doing here!’ Another bonus of having some sort of certification/qualification is that you are demonstrating to potential employers that you are serious about event management and willing to put in the effort.
Step 3: Gain heaps of practical experience
If you’re looking into Step Two (arming yourself with a qualification) make sure your course includes a lot of practical experience such as volunteering and interning in ‘real life’ work situations. These kind of experiences will further develop skills learned in the classroom and will definitely enhance the value of your personal offering to future employers. A list of volunteering hours and at least one internship with a glowing reference is an appealing addition to anyone’s resume and is highly looked upon by employers.
Step 4: Build your network
As we’ve mentioned many times before, the event industry is a ‘who you know’ kind of place. And while there are jobs to be found in the usual places, a lot of event related positions aren’t advertised. That’s not necessarily ‘on purpose’, it’s just that due to the fact that as most jobs are of a practical nature, employers need to know that they’re hiring someone who can ‘do’ rather than someone who can show a ream of qualifications, so they’re always keeping their ears and eyes open for recommendations.
And by ‘networking’ we don’t mean schmoozing with a group of name tagged, percolated coffee drinking people who are keen to push their own agendas. We’re talking about getting out there, showing potential employers what type of a worker you are, what a great work ethic you possess and that you’re a proactive team player – no matter what role you’re in.
Step 5: Make sure you’re job ready
If you’ve actually completed all the above steps, you’re well on the way to being job-ready for the events industry. But there are also a few more considerations that apply to job hunting in any industry.
Here’s a quick checklist of items that will enhance your personal brand.
- Before going to the usual employment sites, make a note of all your possible connections. These people are your best connections as they already know you and have seen what you’re capable of.
- Once you’ve got that interview, show consistency across your online presence in imagery and content
- Make sure your resume is customised for each job role you’re applying for
- Thoroughly research each company that you’re applying to
- Make sure you have a detailed list of every event that you have worked on
- Make sure you’ve notified your referees that they may be called
Good luck!! And if you ever need a hand with any of the above steps you’re welcome to make contact. We’d be only too happy to direct you in the right direction…whichever that direction might be.
*Event Jobs Online is our exclusive in-house event recruitment agency. It is available to current and former students only. An EJO subscription provides you will the latest market intelligence and job opportunities. Remember, most event roles are not advertised. Through EJO you will get a head start in the event jobs market.