Easily the most common question I am asked is, "What kind of event planning courses do I need to become an event planner?" And a few years ago, my answer was different than it is today.
Up until recently, event planning wasn't really considered to be an actual career path. Special events were planned by volunteers and committees with only a few paid positions, and corporate events, meetings, and incentives were passed off to the marketing department or an administrative assistant.
As a result, there also weren't many options for formal training or event planning courses. Most of us "old timers" had to learn by the "school of hard knocks"; sink or swim, trial-and-error, learn as you go. It was painful and it wasn't pretty; but thankfully, times have changed.
As more companies learn the value of professionally organized events, there is an increasing need for formal training in event planning. And, as the industry continues to grow more competitive, training and education will give you an edge over others who have no training at all.
You see, there is one very important thing to understand as someone who wants to break into event planning: companies no longer have the time or the resources to train you, even for entry-level positions. They want someone who knows enough to hit the ground running; and in such competitive times, they can afford to require this. It makes it quite easy, actually, for them to weed you out and to give that entry-level position to someone who understands the lingo and the basics of planning.
That point is so important that I'm going to say it again:
***You simply can not get a job (even an entry-level one) in event planning unless you are already armed with the basics; because nobody has the time or resources to train you.***
So if you've been sending out dozens (or hundreds) of emails and resumes saying things like "I just know that I am meant to be an event planner, and I would appreciate you giving me a chance"....then don't expect a call back. It's quite possible that you were truly born to be a planner; but until you learn the basics, no one is going to give you a shot.
Not to mention, it's just common sense that you need to understand the basics of the job before you get a job!
In the past, education wasn't required to begin a career in event planning. However, times have changed; as event planning is taken more seriously, and as the industry becomes more and more competitive, education, training, and event planning courses are the only way to start your career in event planning!
As I mentioned, the event planning industry is still evolving; and therefore, there aren't any steadfast rules when it comes to event planning education and training. It's not like becoming a doctor, or a teacher; where there are established, set guidelines for what education you need.
Therefore, determining which type of event planning education to pursue is going to depend on where you are in life, and what you want out of your career.
The following are the different paths you can take to begin your event planning training. Click on the links to see which one is right for you.
The single most important thing to potential employers is your experience. Event planning courses, college education, or training will give you the foundation you need to understand how to do the job; but hands-on experience will show that you can!
As a side note: I don't want this to sound harsh, but please do not count the fact that you helped plan three friends' weddings as experience.
In some ways, it is experience; but when you have to count this as "experience," it actually magnifies the fact you have none. If a potential employer receives your resume and your only experience listed is, "Helped plan my best friend's wedding" and "Organized my parents' 50th wedding anniversary," then your resume is going in the trash.
Volunteering for a bona fide event shows you truly want to work in this industry, and that you have had enough hands-on experience to know what you're doing.
Volunteer and get some true hands-on, real life event planning experience; and leave the weddings and Christmas parties off your resume!
If you like what you're reading here and are ready to invest in your future, then I strongly recommend my online Event Planner eCourse. Even if you plan on going to university, my online course will teach you the basics of planning and the lingo necessary to begin your career.
The industry has become so competitive that even many volunteer positions require that you have a basic understanding of event planning in order to get accepted.
The course consists of approximately twelve hours of video time, and includes downloadable documents to supplement your learning (such as sample event planning contracts, RFPs, site inspection checklists, sample budget grids, and so on). You can take the course on your own time, at your own pace; and upon passing the test you will receive a Certificate of Completion.
For more information, click here to read more about the eCourse and to get your career started today!
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