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How to Break Into a Fab Job as an Event Planner
village feast to welcome home hunters in the wilds of Borneo and a
glittering fund-raiser soiree at a swanky New York hotel may not
sound like they have much in common, but they do have at least one
Someone, somewhere, got the ball rolling and using a little
resourcefulness, creativity and sheer determination successfully
pulled off a spectacular event. (Well, someone had to figure out
how much food and drink was required at the feast and where the
chief would sit!) That person is an event planner.
event planning sounds like it could be your dream career, here are 7
steps to become an event planner, based on the
to become an Event
by Jan L. Riddell, Carol Palmatier and Peter J. Gallanis.
1. Assess Your Skills
you quit your day job to become an event planner, take the time to
honestly assess your current skills to ensure you have what it takes
to succeed as an event planner.
planners must be creative and well organized, but they must also
have excellent interpersonal skills. Events are about people, so
successful event planners must be able to effectively listen to what
clients want, develop relationships and negotiate with vendors
(companies that supply products and services for events).
If you're creative and have great people
skills, but could use some help getting organized, event
planning software is available to help you keep track of event
2. Learn How to Plan Events
all events have common components such as some type of meal or
refreshment, a form of entertainment or speaker, invitations or
registrations, etc. The event planner is the person who pulls all of
the components together.
are excellent resources available to help you learn how to plan
events and assist with each stage of event planning including how
to: choose a date, decide who to invite, budget, create timeline
schedules, work with vendors, and market events. If you want a
formal education, many colleges offer degrees or certificates in
event planning. If you would rather break into event planning
without a formal education, you can quickly learn how to plan events
with books such as the FabJob Guide to Become
an Event Planner.
3. Get Hands-On Experience
easiest way to learn about the steps involved is through personal
experience (i.e. planning events for family and friends).
Non-profit groups are always looking for help with their fundraisers
and galas, and you'll get the double benefit of helping a worthy
cause while you hone your skills. This is also an excellent way to
make contacts in the community to help you land a paying job when
you are ready.
could also volunteer to organize events at your own
workplace, if you have one. For example, if your
company has a public relations department that is notoriously
short-staffed, offer to help them out. The beauty of this plan is
that you will be learning a new career while still being paid at
your old job!
4. Create a Portfolio
portfolio is a collection of samples of your work, plus any other
documents that can show people why they should hire you. A portfolio
helps you stand out from other applicants, and prove that you have
the skills to do the job. Your portfolio might include pictures,
recommendation letters and anything else that shows prospective
clients and/or employers what you have done or can do.
Material for your portfolio can come from any event you have
organized (such as a family reunion, birthday bash, etc.) or from
ideas and themes you have for future events. Show your best work
and don't worry about giving away your great ideas. People will
believe you have many more brilliant ideas that you haven't yet
5. Get Hired as an Event Planner
Getting hired as an event planner (even if you plan on opening your
own event planning business) will give you invaluable contacts and
referrals for the future. Meeting and convention planners are
projected to have faster than average job growth in the coming
years. This is good news for the industry and for you.
Companies that hire event planners include hotels or resorts,
non-profit organizations, convention centers, country clubs, and
even fun destinations like theme parks!
people work their way into a position as their company's event
planner just by volunteering to organize internal events such as
company picnics and meetings.
6. Start Your Own Event Planning Business
idea of being your own boss and earning up to $100,000 or more per
year as an event planner sound appealing, it may be time to take the
plunge and set up an event planning business. Many event planners
have home-based businesses, which makes this type of business
inexpensive to start. With the wealth of information available on
starting a business you should be able to get your own event
planning business off the ground quite easily.
starting your own business, you should consider what types of events
you want to plan. If you have a flair for the spectacular you may
want to tackle proms, charity events and galas. If you prefer
planning corporate events, you may choose to plan meetings,
conventions, and the like.
TIP: Unsure of
what type of event you
7. Develop Relationships with Vendors
d prefer to plan? Consider interning or
working for a number of companies whose specialties are quite
probably heard the adage
it's not what you know but who you
. The most important relationships you will build as an event
planner are with the vendors for your events. These are companies
that supply products and services for events, such as caterers,
florists, equipment rental companies, hotels, photographers, etc.
about each one's business by conducting informational interviews and
ask about discounts they can offer you. Be polite and courteous
with the owners and their staff and always follow up afterwards with
some sort of acknowledgement or thank you. You can also arrange to
have vendors refer clients to your event planning business.
Further Your Career
can continue to learn and grow after you have become an event
planner. One of the best ways to succeed as an event planner is to
look upon every social occasion or event you attend as an
opportunity to learn. Make a mental note of what worked well and
what bombed. Attend tradeshows, read everything you can related to
event planning, and watch for what's hot. Seek out the advice of
trendsetters and don't be afraid to try something a little
different. You may start a trend yourself!
This article is based on the
to become an Event
The complete guide gives detailed advice on how you can break into a
career in event planning, get hired as an event planner, or start
your own event planning business.