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Getting Started In an Event Planning Career

Event Planning Career

Event Planning Is One of the Fastest Growing Jobs in the Economy

  • The U.S. Department of Labor projects a 33% job growth in the field of meeting/event planning through 2022, triple the average of all other jobs. 
    "Employment of meeting, convention, and event planners is projected to grow 33 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. As businesses and organizations become increasingly international, meetings and conventions are expected to become even more important."  Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • 8 Secure Jobs Worth Landing This Spring | Fox Business
  • Event Planner was listed as #9 in The Top Jobs for 2014 | Forbes
  • Meeting, Convention & Event Planners Rank Among the Top 5 Hottest Jobs in New York!To read more, click here.
    Event Planner named by US News & World Report as one of the Top 100 Jobs for 2015 (#57 overall, #12 in business). To read more, click here.

Types of Careers in Events

Jobs in the industry vary based on what you do, and what type of an organization you do it for. Being an in house planner for a bank is very different than being an in house planner for a cosmetics company. Planning fundraising events for a non-profit is quite different from planning them at an events company. To get an insight into what's out there, check out this Free class video: Careers In Event Planning.

Getting Started In The Events Industry

Getting started in the events industry involves three key areas: event experience, education and networking. Also check out How Industry Leaders Got Started in the Events Industry.

1. Event Experience

Build your event resume by working as many events as you can. The more diverse the events you can work on, the more career experience you'll get. In addition you'll get a better idea of where in the event industry you'd like to work. Here are some ideas:
  • Volunteer for a charity or other non-profit and offer to serve on their event committee. Charity events include awards galas, golf outings, thons (walk-a-thon, bike-a-thon, etc.), auctions, receptions and more. Find a cause you're passionate about and offer up your services. You won't get paid, but you'll get a decent amount of experience, and make some great contacts in the process. Don't forget organizations you're already affiliated with such as your college, church, synagogue, etc., all of whom have fundraising events to run!
  • Get day-of event work. Most event agencies and planning companies keep a core team of full time staff, but add lots of workers for the event day. Work can include running check-in, stuffing gift bags, wrangling speakers, and generally helping with set up and execution of the event. Though offering to volunteer will certainly help get you to the top of the pile, most companies will pay you for your work, which can often lead to full time gigs or even permanent employment.

2. Education

In the past if you wanted to get an entry level job in events you usually brought no event skills to the table other than a passion for the industry and a good work ethic. That's all changed now. Today's employers are looking for new hires to hit the ground running, having mastered key event concepts and able to execute on a variety of tasks right away. This is all thanks to the growth of quality event industry training and education.
Check out our Professional Development Courses to find one that fits your chosen area. Event and Meeting Management Fundamentals is our all purpose generalist course, which provides the broadest level of training. If you know you'd like to specialize, you might consider Fundraising Event Management, Wedding & Event Design, or Wedding Planning Fundamentals. Upon completion, you're eligible to earn a d, which signals to employers that you've mastered the course material.

3. Planner Networking

Building your network of industry contacts is essential to your career growth. It helps open doors for job opportunities, informational interviews, day-of work and other freelance projects. There are lots of industry trade associations to help facilitate networking, and in most instances you can go to some events without joining to sample the group. Here are some groups to consider: .
ISES: International Special Events Society.
MPI: Meeting Professionals International.
AFP: Association of Fundraising Professionals.
ASAE: American Society of Association Executives

© The Event Leadership Institute 2011. All rights reserved.

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