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Finding Your Perfect Events Career

Last updated April 22nd, 2014

By Laura Pearson-Smith
There are hundreds of opportunities to work in the events industry, in many different sectors. But when it comes to entering an events career, the old adage is true – experience is everything. How do you go about getting this essential experience and how do you figure out which area is for you? This guide will give you an understanding of how to begin and progress your events management career.


Firstly, it’s important to set yourself a goal. Not many people start a career in a new industry without wanting to climb the ranks, so setting your sights on becoming an event manager is a good goal to begin with.


Next, you need to assess your own current skills and your passions to determine what events sector you would do best in. Whether that’s corporate, charity, press & media or experiential marketing, the experience you gain at the beginning of your events management journey should be relevant to this.
Whichever path you choose, there are a key set of skills that all events professionals need to possess. You need to be able to keep calm under pressure and use your initiative – just about every event encounters a problem at some stage in its planning or implementation, and you need to be able to solve it quickly and effectively. This also ties in with the need for excellent organisational skills – the more organised you are, the less likely it is that problems will occur. With events careers, you are required to juggle many balls with one hand, so you need to be organised.
It is also vital to be able to work well in a team. From my experience, every successful event is a well-oiled machine made up of many parts, and everyone needs to work well together. Finally, even if you choose not to specialise in media and press events, with the rise of social media and blogging, every events professional needs to have an understanding of media relations and working with the press.

Finding The Right Events Career

So, you’re sure that an events career is for you. But which area? If you have an interest in business and perhaps experience in a corporate environment, corporate events may be the sector for you – organising anything from team-building days to corporate dinners. If you are a beauty, fashion or celebrity-culture junkie, you should probably consider the press and PR path. You could end up working on all sorts of exciting events: a new skincare product launch for journalists, a premiere for a feature film or a fashion show to promote a new clothing range.
If you have an affiliation to a particular cause, or would just enjoy working for a greater good, the charity sector may be for you. With this it’s not just about creating good events and spreading a message, but making money too.
It’s also important to consider events careers that may not be full-time and in-house. Experiential marketing is a really enjoyable way to have a career in events management. Here, event managers are responsible for the team of staff, the risk assessment implementation and the set-up and take-down of the pop-up stands and marquees you may have seen in shopping centres or on the high street. These events involve handing out samples and encouraging the public to take part in a fun activity, to spread a brand message in a spectacular fashion. Experiential marketing event managers work on different campaigns and in different locations from one week to the next. So, if you want extreme variation and love public interaction, this is the career path for you.

Training, Work Experience and Placements

Now that you’ve decided on what you want to do, you need to build up a bank of relevant experience and training. That way, you’re in a good position to apply for and land that all important first paid job. Try and start as early as you can – if you are still at school or university, organising student events can be invaluable experience. You could get involved in planning some Fresher’s Week parties, or organise a debate evening, depending on your tastes. You could also approach PR agencies in your area of interest to arrange some work experience. These agencies are organising events all the time – from product launches to photo calls – and time with them will look great on your CV.
There are also many promotions (‘promo’) agencies that you can register with. These provide staff for experiential marketing events. You work on a day rate, and you can progress through the ranks quickly if you are reliable and have the right attitude.
Training is also an important addition to your CV. By no means do you require a full degree in events management to succeed; but some training in areas such as risk assessments and other events careers skills show that you take your career seriously.
Once you feel that you have a solid CV that demonstrates you have the necessary skills, and that you have put effort into gaining relevant work experience, start applying for event assistant or PR assistant roles, and see where your career leads.

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