How to Become an Event Planner in 5 Easy Steps
Event planning is traditionally one of the most harrowing, but well-paid jobs out there. It’s a lot of planning, organization, and management required in the lead up to an event, and a whole lot of payoff for you, your clients, and your attendees. It’s a job that’s stressful if you’re not careful, and for those of you reading already in the event planning biz, you’re probably stressed out as it is. But you still want to be an event planner.
Good on you.
Traditional Event Planner Jobs
Traditionally, event planning jobs have always been a manual, back-and-forth kind of situation for a lot of professionals. Constant communication and keeping updated with clients is the main chunk of your time in the production phase of an event, all the way up to even after the event. And for the most part, this hasn’t changed even to this day. Unfortunately, you’ll be hard pressed to find a way to make this portion of the event organizing job description any easier. It’s just how the industry works, and tools that hinder communication only end up harming it.
However, we can show you how to make the managing and promotion of the event easy, even….automated. 😉
In this guide, we’ll show you not only how to get an event planning job, but one that’s cozy and stress-free. We’ll start with the basics, answer a few common questions, but stick with us and you’ll find out the big secret at the end that shows you how to find a stress-free event planning job.
Already interested? Book a demo and get started today!
Do I need a certain degree?
Ok, well, a degree in hospitality certainly helps, but it’s never unheard of to meet event planners with degrees in other fields. Typically you can find a lot of event planners with a background in any one of these areas:
- Administrative Assistant
- Catering/Guest Coordinator
- A bunch more
Heck, you might not even need a degree.
It really just comes down to how organized you are as a professional. As long as you can exemplify this in your past work, resume, and so on, then use it to your advantage when seeking this type of position. If you’ve been involved events in the past at any capacity, try to create a “portfolio” of sorts for employers to look at. Even nonprofit and volunteer events all help your case.
Get Certified and Take Courses
Already too far into your career? No funds to go back to school for a new degree? No experience to work with?
Just go take a certification course and exam. Certificates are just as valuable as degrees these days, and getting them is cheap and takes less time than a 4-year diploma. Here are some great places to get started:
- Certified Meeting Professional
- Certified Special Events Professional
- Certified Professional in Catering and Events
- A bunch more
If you’d like to learn more about these and a wide range of other certifications, check out Bizzabo’s post on the topic. They go into much greater detail and show you exactly how to get started.
Attend Events, Conferences, & Expos
It’s a simple networking strategy. If you want to meet an event recruiter or decision maker. Go to events!
A lot of these events can be free, open to the public, and even paid ones can be affordable. Check out what events are in your area, and just start showing up. Network with the people in charge and make yourself known. We also suggest printing out business cards with your name and contact info. Clearly keep a message somewhat like “Event Planning Professional Seeking Opportunities” on the back of the card in place of a company logo, and you’re golden.
These people don’t have time to listen to your elevator pitch about yourself, so just drop them your card and make their lives easier, trust us, they’ll remember and appreciate that you simply gave them a card with all they’ll need to know on it.
Don’t show up without an ounce of understanding of the event topic. If you’re going to attend an event about a topic you’re not familiar with, then study study study until you sound like you know what you’re talking about. This is going to avoid awkward situations where you end up saying “I don’t really know much about this, I’m here just to meet new people and network”. While you’re honest, and honesty is a golden trait, it’s not a good reflection of your organizational abilities. So Google the topic of the event until you can’t Google no more.
Follow Events Influencers on Social Media
The best way to stay up to date on the latest and greatest trends in the event management space is to follow the ones making these trends popular. Head over to Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and read updates and insights that they’re publishing often and regularly, it’ll keep you ahead in the game and make sure you’re not out of the loop.
Julius Solaris is the biggest name is event management, as the founder of Event Manager Blog, you’ll find him posting articles, blogs, and social media posts with his insights, success, and even his failures, so you can learn from his experience in dealing with all levels of event and event marketing.
If you’re looking to hire event speakers and influences, try using some agencies and aggregate collaborators to bring speakers to your events. BigSpeak specializes in providing industry-specific influencers and public speakers to events worldwide and it’s a great place to start.
Be Organized and Plan Your Time Well
Well, this is a great tenant for any sort of job role. But in event management, a schedule must be kept to the minute, and all square footage of the event must be planned ahead of time from the promotional stage to even AFTER the event is over. And depending on the business model of the agency or even freelance work that you do, you could be working on multiple events in a month, where all the pre and post preparation coincide with one another.
Jump onto some free tools that help you keep track of your tasks and objectives. Trello is the biggest out there and we’ve found a lot of success with ClickUp so long as you can set it up in a way that matches your business and progress steps. These programs are incredibly good at helping you understand your tasks each day, week and month ahead of time. Like a CRM’s deals module, you can drag and drop tasks into a progress bar that help you understand how far along in the process you’ve got left before a task gets completed.
It’s not a tool that makes your job automated. It’s basically the best form of tracking that takes some time to get used to, but once it becomes second nature, nothing will end up surprising you. They also notify you when tasks are late, upcoming, or canceled, so if you’re collaborating with other team members, then you’ll always be in the loop if something major goes wrong in the process.
The Big Secret?
Leverage Event Management Software
It’s niche, we know. And it’s a little daunting at first when you search this stuff on google. But trust us this is the trick that’s going to transform a traditionally stressful, hair-pulling job into an amazingly stress-free cozy job.
Event Management Software helps you automate your event and contact management strategy to the nth degree. Without it, you’d end up making page after page of events manually either on WordPress or on third-party event hosting websites. The ability to recycle content is nonexistent in the Free of Charge tools out there, and to really harness your brand image, you’ll have to go with a platform that’s willing to give that kind of leverage up to you.
Let’s talk about what goes into event management software, and the requirements you should be looking for in a provider.
It all starts with contacts. If you can’t manage a list of contacts, grow that list, or separate the list intelligently, you’re all but dead in the water. These are core to how you manage invitations, registrations, and post-event marketing. Similar to CRMs, contact management really comes down to how well it integrates. Can it grow and evolve over time? Can you filter your contacts so you can target them with the right content?
When shopping for an event management software solution, you really need to find one that either integrates with your current CRM, and if you don’t have one, then you’ll need to start from scratch and find one that has contact management not only in the product but at the center of it. Like all other tools that we talk about after this point, all rely on good contact management tools.
Event Web Page Hosting
It’s tempting to host your event page on something easy and free to use like Eventbrite, but in reality, you’re losing a lot more than you gain with limited payment options and branding being scrubbed away in lieu of their own. It’s time to really get a hang of building your own web pages that you control. If you’re not a web-developer, relax, there are a plethora of tools out there that make building a web page as easy as making an email.
These pages serve an important purpose as not only do they funnel traffic into your registration form, but they also do a great job at giving your event a bit more status. Letting google traffic find your page gets them into registration faster and allows for them to click a lot less when going through pages. All content is owned by you, so, you have the power to do with it as you wish. This also lets you duplicate old event pages for easier page building for future events if you find a format that you enjoy.
The platform you turn to doesn’t have to have email campaign functions. But it probably should.
The reason being is that people are opening emails less and less these days. It’s getting really tough to get someone to read an email that’s very marketing-stylized, so that ends up to a situation we’re in today where companies and organizations need to really strategize their content better and be more tactically with email targeting.
What do we mean by tactically targeting emails to your contact list? Well, it can be simple little indicators that allow you to better send emails at the right time, with the right content, to the right people. It can be as simple as understanding time zones, to as complicated as figuring out who of your contacts attended your last event.
No, in reality, the ideal event management platform should already have email campaigns built into it. An internal ecosystem of integrated tools is best in this situation so that you’re able to track whether or not contacts attended your last event, sign up as members, and more. You can even narrow it down to contacts who lack the right payment processing method so you can update them when your platform inevitable includes support for their processors. It doesn’t seem like much, but these small indicators make it much easier to target the right content to the right person, increasing open rates and of course increasing engagement.
The more the other modules feed the CRM with contact updates, the more data-driven content you can create in your emails.
Quick tip: 10am on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday is the best time to deliver an Email Campaign for ideal open rates. Also, check out our top 10 best event email campaign examples, it should help get your brain juices flowing for your next email campaign.
That’s a wrap.
There’s far more that goes into what can land you a cozy job in event organizing and planning. Lots of articles out there can help you with the EQ side of job hunting in this industry. However, in the nitty-gritty reality of event management, and indeed any industry out there, you’re best off running events smarter, with tools that help you do so.
If you’re interested in going digital with event planning, and you want to automate the processes that have been so traditionally manual, Book a Demo with EventBank, and we’ll show you how true automation looks like in your event management career.