Have you ever considered a career in event planning? The one question I am asked more than any other industry question is how do I get event planning experience? For some just the thought of planning events for a living is a dream come true.
An event planner is responsible for organizing the operations and logistical components for meetings and events. They are in charge of planning and executing events from public to private, corporate to weddings, meetings to receptions and everything else in between. Undertakings include; budget and contract negotiations, sourcing locations and venues, securing service providers and entertainment, choosing decor and food. In general taking care of each and every detail required for small and large meetings and events.
What is an Event Planning Career About?
Event planning can be an exciting and fast paced career. But it takes more than just a passion for planning or parties to be successful. You’ve got to have an arsenal of expertise and know-how including people skills, attention to detail, the ability to work under pressure and yes experience. And whether the undertaking is a reception, gala, convention or wedding the common thread is events (and meetings) bring people together for a shared reason.
The responsibility of the event planner is to make sure that the shared reason is accomplished flawlessly coordinating every single element from start to finish.
How Do I Get Event Planning Experience?
Event planning is definitely a career in progress. And while some planners come to the table with a boatload of knowledge, resources and experience others need to be educated and require some guidance, training and experience. Two of my favorite ways to help get a foot in the door are volunteering and networking. Both great ways to inch closer to the career you want.
Contact non-profits, event venues and reputable event planners and volunteer your time. Propose to family and friends that you will plan their events and parties gratis in order to acquire skills and experience. Long term event planning success is built on the experience and knowledge an event professional brings to their clients. Volunteering provides the opportunity; to learn, apply and improve skills with hands-on work along with the opportunity to develop a portfolio.
Networking is a perfect way to get your name out there and meet potential suppliers as well as future clients. Networking and staying connected is a very important part of doing business. It provides the opportunity to establish and build industry relationships, stay on top of trends and grow professionally. It also offers the chance and setting to meet new people, stay in touch with others and in general have a better understanding of the industry. One of the coolest things about networking is you just never know who you will end up meeting.
An event planner wears many hats and must oversee every part of the experience. If you feel you have the qualifications and what it takes for an event planning career but not sure where to start. First and foremost, get advice from industry professionals, volunteer whenever possible and get out there and start networking.
** Updated September 3, 2014 **