Event Planning Job Description

What Exactly Does an Event Planner Do?

Well, there are entire courses dedicated to answering this question (to learn about my online course on how to plan events, be sure to visit my online Event Planner eCourse).

But, if you are considering a career as an event planner, it's important for you to understand a basic event planning job description.

As I always say, event planning is much more than just pretty decor, fun entertainment, and good food. Then, you might ask, what is it really about?

The short answer? 

An event planner creates, organizes, and supervises every element of an event, meeting, or incentive. 

Sounds simple enough, right?

But that's just the event planning job description. The reality is so much more.

A Day in the Life of an Event Planner

One thing that I want to clear up right away is a big misconception about the life of an event planner. More than anything else, I hear people say "I want to become an event planner because I don't want a desk job."

Well, I have some surprising news for you: 

99% of event planning is a desk job!

(Of course, there are dozens, if not hundreds of other jobs that are involved with events, that don't center around a desk job....more on that in a minute).

Everyone has visions of an event planner at her actual event; walking around, smiling, getting credit for putting on this fantastic party, meeting, or gala. She's simply basking in the glow of a job well done, wine glass in hand, and loving that she's getting to party for a living and not sitting in a cubicle.

I hate to burst your bubble, but this couldn't be any further from the truth! The reality of an event planning job description is so very different.

First of all, when you're at the actual event, you are running around like a headless chicken....putting out fires (figuratively and, sometimes, literally!); answering the questions from all the vendors; wondering where your keynote presenter is or where the entertainment disappeared to; following up with the caterer to see why they have beef when you ordered fish; and trouble-shooting all the millions of last-minute problems.  It's hardly the glamorous life as portrayed by Jennifer Lopez in "The Wedding Planner"! 

Secondly, as the event planner, only a small portion of your job is at the actual event. There's a reason it's called "event planning...because most of the work is in the planning of the actual event.

So overall, event planning is actually a desk job; however, admittedly, it really is different every single day.  Most of your days, you will be at a desk, planning all the elements of your upcoming event.

And how long does an event take to plan?  Depending on the size of the event, an event can take three months, six months, even a year to plan. Yes, it takes that long to plan events!  

Just to give you an idea of what an event planner actually does, here's a bit of a "day in the life of an event planner":

  • Arrive at your office, and sit at your desk in a cubicle (of, if you're luck, an office).
  • Turn on your computer. Roll your eyes as you see you have 247 new email messages (and no, I do not exaggerate).
  • Check your voice mail. Take a deep breath as you hear that you have fifteen new messages (this is just your office voicemail, it doesn't include your cell phone).
  • Begin to answer those 247 emails and fifteen messages.
  • Dig out your "To Do List," which actually requires a notebook and is not just a list.
  • Begin any number of tasks, including negotiate contracts, crunch numbers in an impossibly small budget, call the hotel to talk about the layout of the room, study the menu to pick out the food, call the production company to talk about the size of the stage, or call the keynote speaker to talk about what he'll talk about. Email the printer and ask him to email you a copy of the flier or brochure or banners, email the caterer to tell them how many vegetarian options you think you'll need, follow up with the web designer on the registration site, contract with the travel agent to book the flights, and follow up with each of the tiny requests from the attendees.
  • Eat lunch at your desk because there's no possible way you have time to go out.
  • Pry yourself away at 6:00pm, to go home for a few hours before coming back tomorrow to start all over again!

Is this version of the event planning job description still what you envisioned it to be? I don't want to discourage anyone from pursuing your dream; I just want you to be very, very clear on the reality of it, before you dedicate your life toward this career.


Ummm...I'm Not Sure This is For Me...

If you are starting to think that being an event planner isn't quite for you, don't despair! There are plenty of other opportunities that still allow you to work in the exciting world of events, without having to be the one in charge of the chaos!

There are many, many other ways to be involved with events, in jobs where you're almost always on-site at an event, and not at a desk.

For instance, you can work for the caterer, a decor company, transportation, production, or in a hotel. In each of these jobs, you can still be a part of large, exciting events, without having to be the one to coordinate every last detail.  Some people prefer to be a piece of the pie instead of the chef, and that's perfectly ok.

For a more thorough explanation of the many opportunities to find jobs and careers related to event planning, check out my eBook, How to Become an Event Planner.  

If, on the other hand, you read all about the traits that make a successful event planner and you are excited because it sounds just like you, then keep reading! 

That Doesn't Scare Me, Tell Me More!

Let's look more in depth at an event planning job description; the items of responsibility in an event planning job. 

Here's a basic outline for a typical, average event or meeting:

  • Six months to one year before the event is to take place, the event planner receives her assignment.  A meeting or event concept and a general set of dates will usually be decided upon.
  • Then she will need to find a location that can accommodate the event.  She will need to pick a host city, and then a host hotel (or numerous hotels).
  • Registration must be set up, and the attendees need to be invited to register.  Travel must be arranged, and hotel rooms booked.
  • The content, if it's a meeting, must be finalized.  Keynote speakers need to be selected and booked, and all material needs to be written, proofed, and printed.
  • For either a meeting or an event, the technical requirements need to be figured out and solidified.  Is there staging?  Lighting?  Sound?  Screens?  Multi-media presentations?
  • Also for either a meeting or an event, food and beverage needs to be selected and arranged.  What kind of food?  Did you provide for vegetarians?
  • Does transportation need to be provided for? If it's an event, where will people park?
  • Who will staff your event?
  • Great!  The people are here.  Now what?  Time to relax, right?  I mean, you ARE an event planner, don't you just party for a living?
  • WRONG!!!  Who cues the keynote speakers to begin, or the entertainment to start?  What about the food?  Is it on time?
  • Ok, now the night is almost over.  Are the doors ready?  Parking attendants or buses in place?  Where are the buses?  Who do you call to find out?
  • Ok, the people are gone, and now it's time to "strike," or take everything down.  Are your suppliers aware of the schedule?

PHEW!  Finally, it's over.  It's about 3:00am, and you can finally think about going to bed and resting your feet.  That is, until breakfast starts tomorrow at 6:00am....

and after everything is done, there is still the final billing.

All of this is pretty standard for any event planner...whether it's listed in the event planner job description or not!  

This is Perfect for Me!  
How Do I Get Started as an Event Planner?

Of course, for many of you, this sounds exciting and fun; and if this is you, then you've found your perfect career!  It can be very rewarding, and it's always unique and exciting.  

However, it's not easy to break in.  The industry is getting more and more competitive and difficult to break into.  You can't just send out a bunch of resumes, especially if you don't have any experience, and expect to land a job.  That's because companies don't have the time or the resources to train beginners like they used to.

Therefore, you simply must take it upon yourself to learn the basics of the industry before even trying to apply for jobs.  Otherwise, it's just a waste of your time, as well as that of the potential employer as well.  

So how do you do this?  After three years of my readers asking me to recommend a good course, I realized a sad fact...there aren't any good courses out there.  Not any courses that will teach you the truth about the industry and how to truly make a living, anyway.  Sure, there are plenty of courses that teach you about party planning or wedding planning.... but in my Become an Event Planner eBook, I explain why I recommend against considering wedding planning or party planning as a career choice.  

And so, I decided to create my own course.  I grew tired and angry of the crap that's out there, people just trying to make a few bucks off unsuspecting and hopeful people like you.  They sell you lies about "becoming certified" and "starting your own business" even though you've never planned an event before....and that just blew my mind.

And so, I created my own video online Event Planner Course  to teach you everything you really need to know to truly start a career in event planning.  I teach you the lingo and language you simply must know in order to even get your resume looked at, as well as how (and where) to find work, what types of events you can work in, and how to charge for your time.  I teach about contracts, budgeting, and managing vendors...and of course, I teach the basics of planning any large event or meeting.

If you're ready to truly begin your career, this is the fastest way to learn the most applicable, necessary information you need to begin.  So click here to read more about the Event Planner eCourse and begin your career today!  

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