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Event-ually i'll know what i want to do with my life....
October 18, 2010 9:59 AM   Subscribe

yet another career question...Calling all event planners...wedding, corporate, whatever...Tell me about your job and how you got experience. I want to hear the gritty and the great.

I've searched on ask.me for a few hours trying to find any questions about becoming an event planner, but mostly i can only find questions about people looking for wedding planners.

i've looked up some places that doing event planning in my area and i am going to call them to see about informational interviews. i'm going to try some of the big hotels downtown to see if their event folks would talk to me.

i understand that many events are at night or on weekends and can have very long hours (from well before to well after the official event hours). i understand it can be stressful, dealing with clients changing details or budgets at the last minute.

i'm most likely facing a layoff and will have some time to kick around and try to find some internships or something. i'm hoping maybe one of the event people might let me shadow them for a day? i'm not in school right now, so internship probably isn't the right word.

there's a community college near me and i could always take some classes. what sort of classes or degrees or certifications did you find helpful as an event planner?
posted by sio42 to Work & Money (2 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Event management/coordinating/planning is a really big field, so it gives you lots of different options. For instance, I'm an event coordinator with an NGO, and I plan delegations and conferences all over the world. People I went to school with plan weddings, or conferences here in town, or work for restaurants or hotels, and I used to work for a charity planning fundraising events. It is a really broad field.

It is definitely stressful, but it tends to ebb and flow. During "event time", you will likely work very long hours, but then there is usually some downtime between events. Again, this depends on what field you work in. I work in an office environment where I know, more or less, at the beginning of the year that we will have "x" event at the end of April, "x" delegation at the end of September, etc. I would say that important skills are having excellent attention to detail, being highly organized, but also being creative and flexible. Again, it will depend on what type of event planning you want to get in to.

I have a post-grad certificate in Event Management, which I got about four years after my BA. It was a one year program, and I found it really useful in terms of learning some skills, but largely in terms of networking and making some connections (my program had a co-op component). I found that by being really disciplined while I was in the program, and acting like a professional rather than a student, I was able to stand out in my class, and made some good connections with my professors and people in the industry.

Finally, I would suggest you also look into Meeting Professionals International, which is one of the industry-standard professional organization for planners (yes, largely conference/meeting planners, but others, too). Many chapters offer student memberships, and it's a good place to make connections and meet both suppliers and planners.

Feel free to me-mail me if you want more info. Oh, and I'm fairly new to the field, but I had gained some experience through event planning aspects of non-event past jobs.
posted by sabotagerabbit at 10:55 AM on October 18, 2010


Some of my friends who do it majored in marketing or something like that, got interested in event planning, and either transitioned at work, assisting on corporate events, or volunteered with charities and were on their event-planning committees to get experience.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:49 AM on October 18, 2010


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