an Event Planner
to Break Into a Fab Job as an Event Planner
A 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 similarity.
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.
If event planning sounds
like it could be your dream career, here are 7 steps to become an event
planner, based on the FabJob
Guide to Become an Event Planner.
Assess Your Skills
Before 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.
Event 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 details.
Learn How to Plan Events
Almost 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.
There 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.
Get Hands-On Experience
The 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.
You 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!
Create a Portfolio
A 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
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!
Some 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.
Start Your Own Event Planning Business
If the 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.
When 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.
Unsure of what type of event you’d prefer to plan? Consider
interning or working for a number of companies whose specialties are quite
Develop Relationships with Vendors
You’ve probably heard the
adage “it’s not what you know but who you know”. 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,
Learn 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
You 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!
article is based
on the FabJob Guide
to Become an Event Planner. 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. Visit www.FabJob.com/eventplanner.asp