Have you ever attended a party, meeting or community event that really blew your socks off? If so, you can thank one very specific person (or team of people) for putting it all together: the event planner. If planning everything, down to the flower arrangements in the bathroom and the font used on the thank you cards, is something you may be interested in, you should consider looking at event planning jobs.
What Is an Event Planner?
There are a number of event planning jobs out there, and what they are looking for in their ideal candidate often varies. In order to figure out what job is right for you, it is important to understand what event planning really is. Event planning is the process of managing a project such as a meeting, convention or party. Depending on the event, you will be responsible for some or all of the following:
Basically, event planners create an event and manage it from start to finish.
For a more specific definition of the job, the US Department of Labor states that “Event Planning consists of coordinating every detail of meetings and conventions, from the speakers and meeting location to arranging for printed materials and audio-visual equipment. Event planning begins with determining the objective that the sponsoring organization wants to achieve. Planners choose speakers, entertainment, and content, and arrange the program to present the organization's information in the most effective way. Meeting planners are responsible for selecting meeting sites, prospective attendees and how to get them to the meeting.”
Those currently in the industry have very different opinions of their chosen profession. While the optimists view event planning as being the choreographers of people and activities to create memories to last a lifetime, those on the more negative side can see it as a stressful and demanding career choice.
Job Duties & Responsibilities
As we discussed before, there are a number of different types of event planning jobs, so the list of duties and responsibilities can vary significantly. For the most part, there is a standard list of duties that every event planner will have to do.
Travel is a large part of event planning, especially if you are not working in a major US city. Many event planning jobs require you to travel to luxurious hotels and interesting new places. This also means that you will be away from your friends and families, often working over the weekend.
How many events have you been to that took place during normal business hours? Not many. Because of this, event planning jobs often require you to be available nights and weekends. In addition, events take a good amount of time to plan and set up. Many event planners work more than 40 hours a week. This is often balanced out when they have periods of time that are less busy.
Being able to multi-task is a key to the success of an event planner. At any time, there are a number of things going on at a single event. In order to ensure the event runs smoothly, you will often have to be in two places at once.
Events have set dates and times. Your company meeting does not start at 9ish, someday next week. It starts exactly at 8:30 am on Tuesday. Because of that, event planners are constantly working toward a deadline.
Event planners are not just telling people what to do, they are in the middle of it all. This means, if you are looking into event planning jobs, be prepared that you will be in for long hours of standing and carrying boxes of heavy materials around event spaces.
This one is pretty obvious but deserves to be stated. Working as an event planner requires you to work and communicate with a lot of people. Not only do you have your clients to answer to, but you must deal with the owners and operators of the venue and the services you have hired. Being able to problem solve and communicate well with a diverse group of people is key.
Ensure Legal Compliance
In addition to creating a party to remember, event planners must also make sure they are complying with the law. Having a party in a park? You’ll need a permit. Planning a soiree? You’ll have to make sure the number of guests you invite meets the fire code. Your client wants a fire dancer to show up at their birthday party? You’ll have to make sure the venue has insurance for that. These are just a few examples of the legal obstacles you will need to manage and comply with.
Coordinate with Other Departments
While some event planning jobs will have you working for a single person, most clients are actually businesses. If you are planning a launch party for a sneaker company’s newest release, you will have to deal with your PR team, designers, and more. Understanding how to work with department heads and understanding when you pick your battles will help you go far.
10 High Paid Event Planning Jobs
Event planning jobs can range in salary from minimum wage to close to six figures.
The reported average annual wage for a meeting, convention, or event planners was $47,350 in 2016. The lowest 10 percent of jobs on the marker made just $25,670 while the best-paid 10 percent made $83,030.
The highest paid event planning jobs are in San Francisco ($70,390), Bridgeport ($70,070), Connecticut ($68,740), and Newark, New Jersey ($68,740). New York City ($68,000) and Dallas ($67,640) also made the list.
If you are looking at states as a whole instead of specific cities, the highest average salaries for event planning jobs were found in the District of Columbia ($69,910), New York ($64,370), Connecticut ($62,270), New Jersey ($61,830), and Massachusetts ($60,340).
Event planning jobs have different titles depending on what industry they are in.
Corporate Event Planning Jobs
Large companies and corporations often have more than one event planning job on the payroll. They need planners for product launches, employee training, conventions, trade shows, and the run-of-the-mill marketing event.
Event planners can go by a lot of different titles in the cooperate world. Some of the most common include:
Nonprofit Event Planning Jobs
Unless the nonprofit is large, there is typically only room in the budget for a few event planners. They handle fundraising activities, sponsorship recruitment, volunteer coordination, and general event management.
Common event planning job titles in the nonprofit sector include:
Hotel and Restaurant Event Planning Jobs
Hotels and restaurants typically have only one event planner on staff. They wear a number of hats as they have to cater to both large events, such as weddings, and smaller cooperate meetings.
Common event planning jobs in the hotel and restaurant industry include:
Tourism and Resort Event Planning Jobs
Event planners in this space can work in a wide range of offices ranging from exclusive resorts to cruise ships and exotic tours. Because entertainment is at the heart of these businesses, they often employ a few event planners so that multiple events can be managed at any given time.
Common event planning jobs in the tourist industry include:
Sports Team Event Planning Jobs
Every major sports team requires an event planner. They are responsible for game day operations, facilities management and the parties that are thrown after a win.
Common event planning jobs in the sports industry include:
Highest Paying Jobs
Of the jobs listed above, the highest paying jobs are:
Event planning jobs can be in a variety of industries and go by a multitude of names. Understanding what leads to a successful planner can help ensure you can land a high-paying job in the industry of your choice.