Event management is an exciting and fulfilling career. Given the variety of opportunities available in this field along with the varied skill set required, you can feel a little overwhelmed thinking that being an event planner means having an inhuman amount of experience and abilities, and hence it must be difficult to land a job with a prestigious company. If you want to make a mark, event planning requires you to have experience and skills, but it is certainly possible to be successful in this industry if you work on developing the following six skills.
Even though experience can’t be counted as a skill, most event planning companies are looking for candidates with 3 to 5 years of experience. Now, one may wonder, how can I get experience if no one offers me a job?
One way to go about it is working as an intern at a professional event management company. The internship may not pay you well, if anything at all, and will involve a huge time commitment, but you will get hands-on experience. It will help you learn what to do and not to do. You will get to attend networking events, client meetings and be involved at every stage of the event planning process.
You can also volunteer to get the required experience. Volunteering at a non-profit organisation to help raise funds can be a valuable experience. Nonprofits require help, and you need the experience. It’s a win-win situation!
An event planner needs to research venues and vendors, draft RFPs, and negotiate contracts as per industry-best practices, among other things, to ensure the event’s success. Hence, an event professional needs to have negotiation skills. Every event will involve a lot of people from different companies, be it the event professionals, vendors, or the client. However, your boss will want the terms in your company’s favour, irrespective of the circumstances. Negotiating a contract can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time. Employers know that to negotiate a contract successfully in the favour of the company requires confidence and a strong constitution, and not everyone has it. Build on your communication skills and show that you can persevere, if you do not have negotiation experience.
Employers are looking for candidates who can manage multiple events successfully - anywhere from 30 to 500 a year. To be a successful event planner, you need to be an expert at multi-tasking. Employers often search for candidates who have the required planning experience along with having held higher administrative positions at, say, a hotel, as such candidates are often good at multi-tasking.
As an event planner, you will be required to not only maintain a budget, but also identify areas where you can save money without compromising on quality or efficiency. At the same time, you will need to identify ways to increase revenue streams. Whether it is your industry connections or your cost-cutting methods, you will need to make your potential employer understand that revenue remains at the top of your planning process.
If you are in event planning, you are likely to be a people person, or know how to bring that side of yourself to the forefront when needed. Like budgeting, customer service keeps companies profitable. Excellent customer service translates to long-lasting partnerships which in turn lead to excellent and consistent revenue. When you prove that you can build lasting client relationships, you have proven that you can build lasting revenue sources.
Employers are looking for people with a creative eye who exhibit an attention to detail. Right from concept to execution, every part of the event planning process requires creativity. Your concepts and solutions need to be fun, but make sure you establish yourself as someone who brings uniqueness to the table so that you stand out.
Finally, though being an event planner is not just about having a set of skills, but knowing what prospective employers are looking for will help you pitch better, secure stable and well-paying jobs, and build a successful career.