Are you the person that plans every family reunion, every open-mic night at your local pub, or every friend’s birthday party? Are you also extremely organised, making a to-do list for every day or colour-coordinating your closet? Then you’re probably cut out for a career in event management. The prospect of a career planning and executing large (or small) events might excite you, but keep in mind that this is a competitive industry right now. Many people want to be event planners, so breaking into the business could be challenging.
With that being said, there’s not one, single path to a career in event management. The steps you take to get to your dream role as an events manager don’t have to look like someone else’s – which can often be a good thing. At the Purple Patch Group, a London event company, we advise those just starting out in this business to leverage past experience as much as possible. And to always be open to learning new things. Building on those two pieces of advice, we have a list of 6 ways you can start your career in event management.
Take Event Planning Courses
While formal qualifications are not necessary to become an event planner, they can help round out your overall experience. They also show potential clients and employers that you’re serious about your role as an event planner.
In the UK, you can complete an undergraduate education for event management, or in a related field like public relations, hospitality management, or human resources. There are also Level 2 certificates and diplomas for entry-level job-seekers and Levels 3 and 4 certificates, awards, and diplomas for higher-level qualifications. Another alternative that’s become popular in recent years is online training in event management.
Volunteer or Intern
Clients and employers will value hands-on experience highly in the events industry. So if you pursue formal education you’re off to a great start – but you need work experience too. A great way to find this experience is by volunteering or interning.
Charity organisations are always looking for volunteers at their events. Look up some local organisations and ask if you can help out. Take note of all the behind-the-scenes details that go into an event and try to strike up conversations with vendors, to start networking. Likewise, internships with event management companies can give you great exposure to the events industry, although many agencies want interns with prior experience.
Research the Events Industry
Another way to launch your career as an event planner is to study up. This doesn’t just apply to formal courses, it also includes soaking up as much info about the events industry as you can. Read books and magazines, listen to podcasts, follow influential event organisers on social media. Do whatever you can to immerse yourself fully into the field.
Knowing the latest news in the industry demonstrates your commitment to event managing and tunes you into potential job opportunities. If you follow particular agencies or event organisers closely, you’ll likely be among the first to hear when they have openings.
Start Your Own Event Planning Business
If you have a passion for running events in addition to some business acumen, you could start your own events agency. Previous experience and established contacts might be necessary to get your business off the ground, though.
There are many steps involved in starting your own business, like securing start-up funds, building a business plan, and legally registering your business. Not to mention marketing your services to potential clients and vendors once you’ve set it all up. This option requires more work from you, but it can be rewarding to run your own events business.
If you’d like to work independently but don’t want the hassle of starting a business, then freelancing your event planning services could be for you. Here again, prior experience with a strong portfolio will be helpful in landing clients. With so many platforms to connect freelancers with clients, like Upwork, it’s never been easier for event managers to work on a client-by-client basis.
No matter which path you take to get to your event planning career, you’ll have to network. Meeting people in the industry, keeping a current LinkedIn profile, and regularly staying in contact with vendors or other event management professionals will benefit you immensely starting out. Meeting new people also gives you an opportunity to exchange ideas and expertise in the field.
Event management is both an exciting and challenging career. As one of the top event companies in London, we at the Purple Patch Group have seen what it takes to be successful in this business. Whether you want to manage large fundraisers or conferences with a corporate event company in London, or go into business for yourself planning weddings, always keep your passion for events in mind. After all, that’s what made you want to go into this industry in the first place.