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How to Become an Event Manager

Last updated August 4th, 2020

Whether you’re launching your career in event management for the very first time or you’re changing direction, becoming an event planner could be a great career option.

Already bringing over £42.3 billion to the UK’s economy each year, the events sector continues to grow and you could be a valuable part of its future.

So if you’re practical, creative, great with people and good at problem solving, you could be the ideal person to organise events for a living!

To find out how to become an event manager, just follow our 10 step plan

Want to find out more? Download our FREE Event Management Guide

1. Exploring Options

Because it’s a growing industry, working in event planning is a popular profession. That means it’s also highly competitive to break into. At the start of your new career journey, it makes sense to take a bit of time to explore the industry.

Get started: Take advantage of a free download of the Event Academy Essential Guide to a Career in Events Management.

Sign up to a free Open Evening to find out more about our courses and a career in the industry.

2. Exploring Experience

When you’re exploring a career in event planning, it’s useful to gain as much practical event experience and industry knowledge as possible. The easiest way to do this is to volunteer.

Get started: offer to help a local charity or, if you have an existing hobby, organise or help with an event related to this. You can also check out our Volunteering page, to find out how volunteering positions can lead to paid jobs in event management.

3. Exploring Education

The good news is that in this time of growth, there are plenty of event management courses available in the UK. The not-so-good news is that many courses don’t necessarily deliver the knowledge and information you need, or offer it in ways which build vital event management skills and experience.

Event Academy is the No.1 event management training provider in the UK and is run and taught by industry professionals and experts. It offers Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) accredited qualifications, widely recognised and respected in the industry.

Get started: check out our course brochures to find out more about our Live in London and Online course options.

Find out more about ways to train in event management by reading our Blog on Event Management courses.

4. Becoming a Professional

So, at this stage in becoming an events planner you will have started volunteering and you’re taking a course.

The important things now are to:

Get started: Start a professional diary and include notes of the aspects of event management you particularly enjoy being a part of sorted by role or event type.

Perhaps you love digital production but dislike organising catering? Maybe you’re finding a flair for conferences but sports make you shudder?

Noticing these details will help inform you about the types of event manager jobs you might want to apply for during your career.

5. Create a Portfolio

Everything you’re doing in steps #2 and #4 will be building a showcase of experience but it’s up to you to keep this up to date and accessible to potential employees.

Get started: Build out your portfolio by taking photos of yourself in volunteer roles. Include flyers to show what the event was and additional examples of anything you’ve contributed.

If your ideas were used to create the invitations, logo or hashtag for example, include these in your portfolio. Include any element of your experience so far that a future employer might find interesting or useful.

6. Broaden Your Training

As you’ve been volunteering, taking a course and building your portfolio, you might be starting to notice a few gaps in your skills and experience. You can fill these gaps with more focused training or more experience.

If you’re already applying for event jobs in a particular sector, you may want to extend your professional knowledge of industry trends or areas you’d like to specialise in, such as marketing and promotion and the business side of events.

Don’t forget that Event Academy qualifications are CIM-accredited, which means you’re also mastering event marketing at the same time.

Get started: Consider Masterclass courses as a quick way to boost your CV and extend your professional qualifications in a way that counts for your new career.

7. Keep Building Your Network

Throughout every event course or activity you’re involved in, keep building your network. At a basic level, you’re looking to build contact lists across a variety of venues, suppliers, entertainers, caterers, decorators, florists, photographers and tech production specialists to name just a few.

Remember that event planner careers can take off in a variety of directions. If you already have a strong idea about a particular sector, such as weddings, sports or festivals, make sure you’re keeping a specific list of those vital sector contacts.

Get started: Keep an additional separate list of your top-level contacts. These are the ones which you could approach for a job opening or reference when it comes to starting your career.

8. Take Steps with Career Options

It’s always a good idea to speak to industry experts about their careers to find out more about what’s available to you. Generally, options can be split as follows:


Freelance – Whether sector-specific or across sectors, some freelancers build up their own events business, while others work for agencies or on contract with event businesses.

Get started: Take a step back. Even if you have a definite idea about the type of role you want, take your time in making a final decision.  Use your volunteering and work placement experience to help you identify the right niche for your skills and the type of role you would be happiest in.

9. Establish Yourself as a Digital Presence

Whether you’re looking to freelance or become employed in the industry, creating a digital presence and online network is a must.

Get started: Ensure you have an up to date LinkedIn profile which lists all of the events you’ve been involved in, even as a volunteer. You should also consider creating a website and using social media for professional purposes.

10. Start Applying for Roles

If you haven’t had the chance to jump on opportunities arising as part of your course or volunteering activities, then the final step is to start applying for roles. Event Academy courses include CV and job application modules.

Make the most of these to present your best professional self out there as an event manager.

Get started: Depending on your circumstances, making the decision to become an event manager can be tough or easy. Either way it’s exciting and taking action is the only way to get ahead.

So, get started by taking action today and get your new career in events up and running!

Want to find out more? Download our FREE Event Management Guide
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