No Experience? Volunteer!
Welcome to EVENTful Ventures, the online publication that aspires to help you attain your goal of finding an EVENTful career!
"The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step."
EVENTful Ventures: Content for Issue #1
- Editor's Note
- New to the Website
- Article: Got experience? Summer's Here - Time to Volunteer!
- Tip of the Month
- In Case You Missed...
Welcome to your debut issue of EVENTful Ventures, as well as the debut of summer!
Summer is a time of new life, new beginnings, and new adventures. So why not make it a time to start your new career?
You know who you are. You report to your job, then stare off into space, knowing deep in your gut that there has GOT to be a job that you can actually get excited about every day. Unfortunately, we have to work; but fortunately, you can make the choice to spend your life doing what you love!
Congratulations on finding this website and signing up for this newsletter. As far as I know, there isn't any other website like it. It is the only site that really, truly, shows you, step by step, how to start your career in the event planning industry.
I want you to be able to look back over your career, your life, and not have one single regret; and instead have a lifetime of great memories you made while working a crazy-fun job.
So continue reading to the article below to see how you can, in the next few weeks, start your event planning career!
New to the Website
The Careers in Event Planning website is an ongoing, always changing, work in progress. There is a lot of important information that I feel you must know about, so I am constantly updating or adding pages.
Depending on when you last visited, the following pages might be new to you....be sure to stop by (click on the links - if you reading this in text format and not HTML, copy and paste the entire URL into your browser) and take a look!
Event Planning Employment:
The "business" side of working in the event industry. This is a VIP (very important page) because it covers the logistics you need to know as you chart your career path. On this page I cover, among other topics, the various ways to charge for a project, taxes, and the different legal structures to consider if you ever plan on working as an independent contractor.
Trade shows are where customer interaction and "big business" often takes place. With over 2500 trade shows bringing in billions of dollars each year, maybe this is where you can find your niche!
Got Experience? Summer's Here...Time to Volunteer!
Summer is the perfect time to start your event planning career. Metaphorically, symbolically, and calendar-ically (ok, it's not a word, but run with it).
Think about it. Summer is chock-full of events. Music festivals, food festivals, wine festivals, beer festivals, art fairs, sporting events, marathons, triathlons, theater, fundraisers, and...you get the picture. And every one of them needs people to help run it, people who care about events and making sure people have a great time.
This is where you come in. As I discuss over and over again on my website, starting your career in events is a process; like most careers, it will never happen overnight. In such a competitive industry, it's a shot in a million that you could land a job with no or little experience.
(Side note: When it comes to resume material for large-scale events or corporate meetings and incentives, "planning my friend's wedding" or "my parents 50th anniversary party" do not count as experience....sorry.)
But there's that famous "catch-22" that seems to pop up everywhere in life. I need to work to get experience, but without any experience I can't get any work.
And so, you need to begin where everyone begins; at the ground level. And the best way to do that is to volunteer for some events this summer. Volunteering is a sure-fire way to break in, because let's face it; committees are ALWAYS needing volunteers.
Ok, what's next?
How far "out" the event is (no, not how cool it is, but rather how many days, weeks, or months until the event occurs) will determine whether you can get in on the pre-planning or not. If you call far enough ahead, you are more likely to get to help with the actual planning process; if you call only a week or two out, you most likely will be asked to help with last-minute details or just on-site assistance.
If you can get in on a planning committee on time to do some pre-event work (which would be IDEAL), you might be helping out with the actual planning of the event, or you might be assisting with last-minute details. It is likely that you will be stuffing envelopes for mailing, cross-checking lists, making phone calls, or coordinating volunteers (among about ten million other things). If it seems menial, here's a secret that might come as a big surprise: 99% of event planning IS menial work!
If you find an event you're interested in and it's too late to help with the pre-event work at all, still offer to help on-site at the event. Again, it might be menial work; it might mean standing at the entrance and taking ticket stubs, or manning the booth where volunteers check in. It might mean working a merchandise booth, or working as a parking lot attendant. Don't get cocky and think that any job is "below" you; in event planning, every last detail is important, and necessary to learn. And ANY experience is good experience!
Then again, the head planner might need you to shadow her and be her go-fer. Can you possibly think of a better way than to see, first hand, what an event planner does on-site?
Whatever assignment you are handed, accept it with enthusiasm and get honestly excited for it. First and foremost, do this because you should be thrilled to be part of an event, in any form. Get excited at the idea of the people you will meet and connections you will make. And get excited because someday, this could be your event, and you will appreciate the young, inexperienced people who are excited at the opportunity to help you out.
And then, turn yourself into a little sponge. Soak up everything. Watch what the planners do to prepare. Listen to the terminology - the events world has its own language. Ask questions, but don't get in the way. Watch how the vendors work together to get set up. Watch, listen, ask, absorb. This is your internship, and how you treat it will determine how quickly and to what level you succeed.
Great! Now...how do I get started?
Good question. But really, it's only a few basic steps.
- Find an event that you think you'd be interested in. Don't get too picky. The foundation of all event planning is the same.
It doesn't take a lot of effort to find upcoming events in your area.
- Check the Entertainment section of your newspaper for "upcoming events or happenings."
- If you live in or near a large city, pick up an issue of "Where" or an equivalent publication. These are magazines intended for tourists to the city, but list all of the events for the next few months.
- Find the website for your local Visitors and Conventions Bureau, or give them a call. They will list all the major events for the next few years.
- Check out websites such as www.citysearch.com or www.eventguide.com.
- Google, Google, Google! (or whatever internet research method you prefer)
- Find out who is planning the event. Again, a good start is the Visitors and Convention Bureau. Or the internet. Most events will list a number to call if you want to volunteer. Start there, and try to work your way to the planning person or committee.
- Call and see how you can help! Introduce yourself, and let them know that you hope to start learning everything you can about event planning. Don't be shy about this part; they will be impressed at your effort and it might affect where they place you (some people volunteer just for the free tickets or t-shirt; if you express an interest in the process, they are more likely to place you on the planning committee or in a similar position to learn). Then, volunteer!
Be realistic about the time you can offer. Realize that this is a commitment; if you are truly dedicated toward starting your career in events, then look at your time as a small sacrifice now toward a lifetime of doing a job that you love. If you would rather keep your weekends free to lay by the pool or go camping (hey, it IS summer), then know that about yourself and accept that it might take longer for you to break into the industry. Don't promise more than you can deliver. It's that simple.
One last side note: even if you think you might be more interested in corporate events, any event experience is helpful; so use this summer to get started!
But since we are already well into summer, start researching and pick up the phone today. There's no time like the present; just think, in two months you could already have experience helping out with events, and in no time at all you will have your first job!
Take your first steps now for a future of success!
Tip o' the Month
Start planning now if you want to be on the planning committee for large events in the next few months or even next summer.
Oktoberfests are huge in the fall, as are Halloween events and - dare I say it? - Christmas and holiday events as well. It's hard to think of the holidays as we just get into the groove of summer, but event planners are always thinking six months ahead. Fall and holiday events are likely just kicking the planning process into gear now, while large summer events, such as Race for the Cure or annual marathons, will start planning a year in advance.
If you are interested in getting in on the planning committee for an event for next summer, wait one month after this year's event is done (the planners need some time to breathe before thinking of next year) and then stage your attack!
In Case You Missed....
The Careers In Event Planning offers a lot of information....a lot. But, it is all important information...otherwise I wouldn't have taken the time to put it there!
If you haven't already, be sure to read through each and every page, starting with the Home page. And don't forget to click on the links within the pages; these lead to other pages that aren't listed on the side menu!
But they are easy to miss...so here are a few pages that I think are really, really important, and want to make sure you read (again, if the entire URL does not show up as a link, copy and paste it into your browser).
These first two pages are particularly of interest to you, just starting out, because they offer great PAID ways to get into events:
Destination Management Companies
This page is overlooked by many because it just doesn’t SOUND as glamorous as events. However, 95% of my income is due to corporate events; that’s where the money is to be made!
Corporate Event Planning
I welcome your input and ideas!
Do you have a question, an idea, or a suggestion that you would like for me to address on either the website or in the newsletter? Please let me know! Please
(or copy and paste this URL into your browser: www.careers-in-event-planning.com/ezine.html ) and fill in the "I'd like to see...." box.
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My goal is to help you on your path; so let me know what you would like to know.
That's it for now... so start your research now and find yourself a volunteer position!
And please, feel free to pass this newsletter along to a friend.
Now, pick up the phone and begin your event career today!