Become an Event Planner: 7 Steps to a Rewarding New Career
Interested in joining the event planning industry?
Find out how you can make it happen by following these seven simple steps.
Are you a problem-solver, an organisation expert and a quick decision-maker? Event planning could be the perfect industry for you. Plus, you’re looking to switch careers and find an enjoyable job full of real passion, event planning can offer you that too. While 2020 has had an enormous influence on the outlook of event planning, there’s no need to worry about what the future of the industry holds — while there’s a lot of change, it’s looking good.
COVID-19 initially cancelled everything we had lined up on the calendar, but it hasn’t wiped out future events: they’re going digital instead. Over 90% of event marketers are planning to incorporate virtual events in their strategy, with the potential for massive growth in the market as we continue to learn more about digital event planning.
Once we’ve overcome the difficulties of COVID-19, we’re likely to continue embracing online events, with 68% of event planners planning to find hybrid solutions for in-person and online events in the future. That means potential for you to jump in and establish a foothold in a new niche.
If you’ve always wondered what a career in event planning might look like, you’ve come to the right place. This article covers everything you need to know — from salaries, career growth, day-to-day responsibilities and more.
Discover whether this is the right industry for you, then get started on your new career journey in event planning by following these seven simple steps.
1. Find out if event planning is the right industry for you
Event planning can be demanding work. It’s high pressure, fast-paced and a lot of responsibility to take on. If you’re thinking of joining the event planning industry, you should consider whether this is the right kind of job for you before you take it on.
Event planners are responsible for coordinating and managing all aspects of event management — they book venues, hire caterers, negotiate fundraising: the whole lot.
With all of that responsibility, you have the opportunity to truly embrace your creativity. This is the kind of job that appreciates creative expression; you can express yourself and help your client’s express themselves, too.
Depending on how you want to work, you can take on all of this responsibility yourself, or alternatively, work as part of a team with an event manager or event coordinator.
Beyond the job expectations, there are two other significant factors that you have to consider when entering any new industry: the pay and the potential. Will you make the same salary you do now, at your current job? Is there a possibility that you can make more money in this new career?
The average event planner salary in Australia is $58,683, with potential for growth. The more experienced you are, the higher your pay rate is.
Event planning has grown significantly over the last five years in Australia (from 25,800 event planners working 2014, to 40,300 in 2019).
If you have what it takes to be an event planner, you’re in luck. It’s an industry that’s going to keep on growing. Once you’ve established that you’re right for the job, it’s time to make yourself as employable as possible.
2. Match your skillset to the job description
There’s a good chance that you already have a lot of the skills you need for an event planning career. A lot of the skills you need in this industry are the soft skills you need in most office jobs, like:
On top of these skills, there are other areas of expertise that will set you apart from the crowd in your event planning job hunt. If you can prove that you’re tech-savvy, work well in a team and that you’re capable of thriving in a fast-paced environment, your CV will shine.
Highly regarded skills in event planning
In event management, these skills are a huge drawcard. Suppose you have some experience in these areas already. In that case, you can reapply this experience into your new event planning career and increase your chances of higher pay and ongoing future employment.
3. Upskill and offer more by getting qualified
You want to make yourself as employable as possible, right? If you’re worried about getting hired, getting qualified is worth your time. In Australia, most event planners are expected to have completed a Diploma or equivalent to gain recognition in the industry.
Even though an Undergraduate Certificate or a Diploma isn’t essential to get you into the industry, these qualifications can act as a great pathway to get your foot in the door.
If you’re new to planning major events, getting qualified will increase your chances of future employment. On top of that, the coursework will allow you to get a feel for what an event management job will be like. Find out if you thrive in the industry before you fully invest.
4. Prepare for the daily responsibilities
Once you’re qualified, you can get ready to work. The daily work schedule of an event planner is fast-paced and full of responsibilities. Prepare for day-to-day tasks like:
It takes a lot of work to pull off a successful event. Prepare to go above and beyond when it comes to meeting these expectations. Whether it’s a Christmas party or a wedding, you have to make sure you properly take care of each and every client, regardless of the job.
5. Establish your experience
Employers really value experience in the events industry, but if you’re new to this kind of career, you might be lacking in years of experience. If that’s the case, there’s no need to worry — there’s a whole range of experience you can get your hands on quickly if you’re prepared to invest your time.
Hands-on experience will give your CV that extra edge you’re looking for. Get started by:
Gaining this kind of work experience will do more than just fix up your CV — it will help out your salary, too.
6. Choose your speciality
Once you have some work experience under your belt, you’ll have a better sense of what you enjoy most in your new career. From there, you can specialise in niche areas of styling and planning services, in areas like:
By selecting your speciality, you’ll get to do what you love every day. Unlike an office job, you get to choose what you offer to your clients depending on which major events you enjoy planning the most. On top of that, specialising will allow you to tailor your services to your target market — and increase your chances of getting hired.
7. Network with the best of the best
Event planning careers are much more public-facing than your average job. To do well, you need to have excellent communication skills. Be prepared to go above and beyond for every customer; it’s your responsibility to make each and every client’s vision come to life, especially if you’re working on extra-special events, as a wedding planner or a high-end corporate events planner.
Networking is going to be your main employment route — you need your business to be buzzing with recommendations from happy clients. Not all networking is face-to-face either; remember, using social media to your advantage is your ultimate networking tool.
No matter what job you’re working on, the event planning industry will always value you and your organisation skills — and it’s time to put those skills to good use.
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