Event planning is one of the most promising career paths available today. This exciting career gives you the opportunity to plan memorable events for weddings, red carpet events, charitable galas, promotional ceremonies and other social events. Many people realize that they are not equipped to plan a large event that will be a success without assistance from others. Many people are constantly on the lookout for creative talent who can turn their dream vision into a reality. Experienced event planners can help accomplish these goals and transform a traditional space into a beautiful backdrop.
Many people dream of becoming an event planner and have the talent to bring about these major transformations. However, they may be afraid to take the plunge. They may be working in another career field and might be worried about taking the plunge. However, the only way to tackle this fear is to take action. It is time to stop dreaming of your dream career and start doing. Here are some steps to get you there:
Pursue Educational Opportunities
It is recommended to have a bachelor’s degree to pursue a career in event planning. Recommended fields include hospitality management, marketing, public relations, communications or business. Different schools offer different programs. For example, some may involve coursework in hospitality management and accounting. Others may include courses in event promotion, computer skills and event designs. Formal training can help a person develop the skillset necessary to succeed in this career field. Some firms may require less formal education, so you can ask about other programs or certificates that will make you qualified to hold a job in this field.
Various types of schooling are available to students today. More than 6.3 million students enrolled in at least one online course in 2016. These courses often provide greater flexibility for students. There are multiple types of learning styles. Think about how you best learn. Is it through listening? Hands=on activities? Visual learning? Tackle a program that meets your learning style and schedule.
Many colleges offer internship programs. Take full advantage of these opportunities. An internship can give you hands-on experience in the field and help you develop your event portfolio. It can also help you develop a better understanding of the event planning process and career.
Gain Valuable Experience
Experience is your best teacher. Gain valuable experience working on projects from front to back. You should understand what an event planner does and what skills will help you succeed. Take on all opportunities to work on events, large and small. Learn from industry mentors by asking to volunteer your services for them. Volunteer for positions with the following professionals who are involved in the event planning industry:
- Nonprofit organizations
Try to acquire a position that will provide you with more experience while you are still completing your training program. Some positions that can give you valuable experience and insight include working as a fundraising chair for a nonprofit, catering manager or working at an event planning company. If you are still working elsewhere, consider taking on more responsibility with your current job. Volunteer to put together the office holiday party or coordinate workplace events. You can also work together with other professionals to gain this experience. These opportunities also give you the opportunity to form valuable relationships with vendors and potential clients.
Build a Phenomenal Portfolio
Your event portfolio showcases your work. Event planning is a very visual career. There is no better way to show clients your talents than providing them with photos and videos of your previous work. A professional portfolio can also help you gain momentum in your chosen career field, as well as show off your accomplishments. An impressive portfolio can help you set your services apart from other event planners. A compelling portfolio can help you acquire larger gigs and prominent clients.
Include the following in your portfolio:
Photos – Photos should make up the bulk of your portfolio. They can best showcase your creativity and eye for detail. Use only high-quality photographs of events that you planned. Include pictures with a broad view of the overall event. Also include targeted photographs of color schemes, ceiling decorations, invitations you designed and centerpieces.
Videos – Video can help capture the life of the event. Videos also allow potential clients to feel like they were part of the event.
Notes – In addition to showcasing your design abilities, include notes regarding the difficulties that you confronted when working on the project, such as a low budget or unexpected event. These notes can provide helpful information that shows how you overcame problems and your organizational and time management skills.
Press clippings – Include clippings from magazines or newspapers that covered your events. Include a copy of any interviews you completed with press.
Testimonials – Include quotes and positive feedback you have received from your clients who were thrilled with your services.
Organize your portfolio based on the type of event, such as weddings, corporate events, charitable galas and red carpet events. Your portfolio should show diversity and your ability to work on a variety of events. For many people, a digital portfolio is preferred because it offers lower costs and the ability to easily share it with others. You can even publish it directly on your website. However, you may also want to offer a hardcopy portfolio that you can take with you when you meet with potential clients.
Network at Every Opportunity
Each event opens up new opportunities to meet potential clients and the possibility of working on new projects. Who you know in the event planning industry often matters more than anything else. Be open to establishing relationships with vendors, caterers, florists, photographers, entertainers, business professionals, hotel managers and nonprofit organizations. Wherever you go, let people know that you are an event planner. Come prepared with your business cards that have your website address on them. Send emails to follow up with some of these people you met. Every meeting is a new opportunity to make your potential clients’ dream a reality.