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Leslie Gilmour

How to Get a Job in the Event Planning Industry

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Event planning is one of those industries that many young people want to get into, but might not be quite sure how to set about it. Staging your own events is a great learning curve, but it may be hard work to begin with as you build your name and reputation. Interning with an established company is often the best way to enter the industry, as you’ll gain exposure to a huge variety of things in a short space of time. Here’s how you can make this pathway to your new career work for you:

Do What You Love

Ask anyone who works in events and they’ll tell you that you really have to live and breathe what you do. There’s no use going into it halfheartedly, because you just won’t have the motivation to give it your all when the deadlines are looming.

Choosing event planning as your new career only works if you love what you do. You’ll find that the passion you have for getting everything just right allows you to push on late into the night when you need to. Ideal if you want to get that all-important second wind that ensures no stone is left unturned in the days leading up to the big occasion.

Show Enthusiasm

Being enthusiastic is one of the best ways to get noticed and take your career to the next level. You never want to cross the line and come across as over-familiar, but you do need to show willingness to go the extra mile whenever possible. There is always something to be done, and often there’ll be fairly straightforward and unglamorous tasks that more experienced hands will try and avoid. If you get a reputation as someone who’s willing to get the job done no matter what, you’ll get more and more responsibility and before you know it, you’ll be a sought-after member of the team.

Be Proactive

Being proactive is the perfect way to get yourself noticed. This goes for applying for jobs, and during your internships and work placements. If you notice that there’s a small job that can easily be taken care of, then jump right in and get it done. Run it past someone more senior so that they know what you’re doing and then let the results speak for themselves.

Make it a regular habit and you’ll be able to gain a reputation as someone who gets the job done with the minimum of fuss. And they’re just the sort of people that every team needs when planning a major event at a short notice!

Learn in Real World Settings

The classroom and the lecture theatre are great because they expose you to all manner of new concepts, but there’s nothing like putting things into practice to really master your craft.

Seek out ways to gain hands-on experience and you’ll be a much more attractive prospect as a future hire. With so many employers looking for people that really stand out, there’s no better way to put yourself front and centre than by showing that you have already gotten stuff done in the real world. Nobody’s expecting you to have hosted your own music festival, but by getting some practical experience, you’ll have already shown how much you want a career in the industry. It’ll also mean you can provide references which is something every employer will really like.

You can also always check out the work of established event planners like Kevin Rowe, and use them as an inspiration for your own future work – just make sure you don’t turn into a copycat.

Have Confidence in Yourself

Getting the opportunities that your hard work deserves is as much about believing in yourself as it is about getting that all-important lucky break.


If you have confidence in what you do, you’re far more likely to be seen as the safe pair of hands that every event planning company needs onboard. Sit back and write a quick list of your achievements and remind yourself of them on a regular basis so that your confidence grows and you can continue to move forward.

Remember That Criticism is Invaluable Feedback

One thing is for sure: there will be things you can improve on when you start working in events. In fact, even the most seasoned professional will get things wrong from time to time or have to ask for assistance from a colleague. There’s nothing wrong with it, there’s no shame in it, and the only stupid questions are the ones that never get asked.

The secret is to never take criticism or suggestions on how you could have done something better personally. People want the event to go off without a hitch which means that when something needs changing, it has to be highlighted, discussed, and corrected.

Take onboard everything you’re told and hear and you’ll soon find that your skills grow beyond all recognition.

Enjoy the End Product

Too many people get so caught up with making sure that everything is perfect that they forget to enjoy the event itself. You’re going to have to be a lot more proactive than if you were a guest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stand back at some point and take pride in what you’ve achieved.

By putting yourself in the position of one of your guests, you’ll also be able to see what little tweaks and adjustments you could make next time around. These are the little things that can really set you apart as you build your career.

Build a Portfolio

A portfolio is something that everyone in events has and it’s basically your business card. Make sure you detail the projects you’ve contributed to during your placements so that you can give future prospective employers a taste of what you can do. Take pride in it and over the years you’ll be able to look back on some of the great things you’ve done in your career.

Now that you know what you need to do to get your dream job, all that remains is to go out there and do it. Stay motivated, be proactive, and show everyone what you can do and you’ll go far.

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Leslie Gilmour

How to Set Yourself Up For a Successful Interview

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Edited by Leslie Gilmour, Monday, 25 Jun 2018, 09:34

Every student knows that sudden feeling of dread that comes after they leave their protective university bubble.  For many graduating students, this is where the real world begins.  One of your first tasks as a recent graduate is to hit the job market with a string of sent resumes, endless phone calls and just a little touch of groveling.  

Eventually, the time will come when an employer will be impressed by your tenacity and will set up an interview.  This is where the real work begins.  To ensure that you are putting your best foot forward, follow these simple tips to help you come one step closer to a career.

Be Prepared

Before you step foot into whatever work environment you are hoping to join, prepare yourself.  While it is a good motivator to always aim high, be realistic about the job you are applying for and make sure it matches your skills.  It is also important that you have some university training in the job you want, this is especially important if you majored in general studies.  For example; if you are looking for a job in the cosmetology field, one great way to prepare yourself is to take a short makeup course or workshop so that your potential employer will note that are willing to further your education, (be aware that some tattoos are not workplace friendly and you might need to cover them up)..

Another great way to be prepared for an upcoming job interview is to do your research.  Study up on the company you are hoping will hire you so that you know what you are in for.  This is also a great way to impress potential employers.  The more knowledgeable you are in an interview will show them that you have great instincts and that you are truly interested in their business.

The Day Before

The day prior to your job interview is the day when you should lay all of your plans out.  It is better to have everything ready to go the day before so you are not rushing before your interview.  This also gives you time to relax and get your head in the game.  Carefully choose and lay out the clothes that you are going to wear.  Always dress better than you think you should, even if you are applying to a more casual work environment.  This will show your interviewer that you are professional and that you are taking the job seriously.  Don’t over dress as this may come off as too eager which is something you should avoid.  Finding the perfect balance between motivated and humble is critical.

Have your resume printed on cardstock or high-quality paper.  Even if you have already sent your resume in prior to the interview, it is a good rule of thumb to bring an extra with you.  You never know if they will ask you for your resume again.  To go the extra mile, you can even have some personal business cards on hand that list your contact information.  These little touches will help to ensure that potential employers will remember you.  The job market is a competitive field, so if there is an opportunity for you to set yourself apart from the pack, seize it. 

Interview Day

Wake up early.  Even if your interview is later in the day, start your day off right.  Mornings are the perfect time to set a precedent for the rest of your day.  It is important to take the time relax so that your head is in the right place.  Interviews are stressful and you will naturally get nervous, so find a way to expel that nervous energy and try to channel it into something positive.  This way you can walk into your interview confident and strong.  When you are confident in what you are saying, your interviewer will get pick up on it and it will set your interview off on the right foot.

Always get to the job interview early.  Try to plan on being there 10-15 minutes earlier than scheduled.  This shows that you are punctual and are taking the interview seriously.  Many times a great interview will be clouded by a tardy appearance.  If you know that your interview is during a time where traffic is high, prepare for this and adjust accordingly.  Try to avoid get there too early.  There is such a thing as being overeager and this can often read as desperate which is never a good look.

Be clear in the things that you say.  To make sure that your point is coming across, truly listen to the questions you are being asked.  Take a mental second to gather your thoughts before speaking.  This will show that you have great communication and listening skills which are two major components to being successful in your overall career.  The best way to show interest through words is to ask questions.  Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer specific questions about the company as well as the job itself.  This will show them that you have a great interest in the job at hand.  Make eye contact.  Indirect eye contact is one way to show people that you are not confident or do not believe the words you are saying and this is the last thing you would want a potential employee to think of you. 

Don’t be afraid to be yourself.  While humor is often a defense mechanism; it is also a great way to showcase some personality.  Make sure that the humor stays on the appropriate side of the scale; the last thing you would want is for them to think that you will be an HR nightmare.  When leaving your job interview you should have just as strong of an exit as an initiation.  Shake their hand firmly and thank them for their time.  This is their last impression of you, so make it a good one.

Follow Up

Some people are wary about whether or not to follow up after a job interview.  As long as you are not hounding your interviewer, it is perfectly okay to follow up.  The best way to do this is to wait a day or two and send them an email thanking them for their time and stating how you look forward to hearing from them in the future.  Even if you don’t end up getting the job, they will remember you for reaching out politely to them.  This will help to keep you in their good graces in case another job opens up in that company.  The last thing you would want to do is burn any professional bridges before you ever even officially enter the job world.

Don’t Give Up

It isn’t always the case that you will land your first job right out of the gate.  While if it does happen, take the time to celebrate, but you should also never let a rejection slow you down.  Take each job interview as a lesson to be learned and apply that education to the next interview.  Over time you will find that each time you step foot in an interview room you are more confident and prepared than the last time.  As long as you stay motivated and vigilant, the only thing that is stopping you from landing the perfect job is you.  Good luck. 

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