Have you always had a passion for running events, and you want to make it your career?
Event management is a hugely diverse and exciting field. There are a lot of opportunities out there waiting for you, no matter where your interest lies. You could be managing operations at a music festival, or organising international conferences. So, where do you get started?
Like any career, to kick-start your journey, you’re going to need a combination of training and experience.
Step 1: Research different types of roles and assess your skills and preferences
Event management is such a vast field it’s a good idea to approach it with the aim of specialising in a specific area. Some common roles or specialisations include:
- Convention planning
- Resort Activities Director
- Wedding Planner
- Volunteer Coordinator
- Festival Site Manager
- Civic or government events direction
- Operations Manager
- Creative Director
Becoming an expert in one type of event or a particular role will help you to focus your skills development and find work.
Start your journey by asking yourself a few questions:
- What aspect of event management do I enjoy the most?
- Do I want to run my own business?
- Would I prefer to work for charities, arts organisations, government or local councils, or in the corporate sector?
- Does it even matter to me which sector I work in, or is it more about the role?
- What skills or experience am I going to need for the area I want to work in?
Write up a list of the kinds of events and roles you’d like to work on, the skills you have and they skills you will need to acquire. Then, you’ll know where to focus your energy, when it comes to up-skilling.
Step 2: Enrol in a course
There are some aspects of event management that you can practise without completing a course, like networking, communication and people skills. However, there are some skills that you will learn much faster and more effectively with the help of structured learning environment. A course can teach you important skill sets such as marketing, accounting, project management, and how to develop a schedule, budget, or timeline.
These skills are all absolutely essential to event management.
If you’re already working full time, or you’re not sure if you can commit to a whole degree, it’s worth investigating short courses or flexible online options. That way, you can fill gaps in your skill set one-by-one, without having to commit too much time or money.
At Torrens, you can choose a Bachelor of Business (Event Management) or a Diploma of Event Management. Both courses will teach you all the business skills essential to event management, as well as broader skill sets such as generating innovative event concepts, that will set you apart from the pack.
Both of these courses can be completed online, in a flexible schedule that fits around your life.
Step 3: Volunteer, intern, and volunteer some more
You’ve chosen a career path, you’ve started study, but don’t neglect the other biggest favour you can do for yourself in your early career. Get as much experience as possible.
The good news for you is that event management is one of the areas where it is easy to get experience as a volunteer. You can volunteer at virtually any festival, charity, conference or city event imaginable, without any prior experience or qualification.
Just Google any popular event along with ‘volunteer’ and you’ll surely find an email contact.
After you’ve worked as a volunteer on an event once, you’ll get to know those in senior levels of management.
If you come back and volunteer on the same event the following year, chances are you’ll get a volunteer ‘promotion’. If you’re a capable manager, you’ll be working your way up the ranks really quickly, no matter how young you are.
The best thing is, you can be a volunteer or intern in events while still completing your studies.
Because events happen within a specific timeframe, you can choose to work on several events during your summer break, and it won’t take up any of your course time! You’ll graduate with a qualification, and experience.
Don’t forget to ask your education institution what kind of internship opportunities they offer. At Torrens, Events Management students can organise work placements and internships with our industry partners, through the placement program.
Step 4: Write up a killer resume
You’ve got experience, you’ve studied the essential skill sets, and you’re ready to break out into your market. It’s time to sell yourself.
Here are some top tips on how to write a killer events resume:
- Make it look amazing, using an eye-catching online template. Considering your job might involve some marketing, appearances really matter.
- Include a one-sentence tagline at the top summarising your unique skill set, matched to the job description: for example, ‘Music festival operations manager, specialising in volunteer management’ (obviously, for a music festival role).
- Focus on measurable achievements for each role: e.g., ‘managed a team of 140 volunteers.’
- Education qualifications can be listed in dot points, nobody cares about grades outside of your school.
- List awards or short course certificates in dot points (e.g. certified hospitality management from The Hospitality School).
- Research the role, and tailor each CV to the in demand skill sets for that role.
Step 5: Do a networking and social media blitz
Experts say between 70-90% of all jobs are found through existing networks. It’s time to get networking, online and offline.
First up, set yourself up a Linkedin profile, and if you’re in the marketing or creative side of events, you’ll want to have a professional Instagram account with eye-catching images of events you’ve worked on, and a professional Facebook account too, separate from your personal account (particularly if you’re going to be engaging via social media event promotion).
This is where all your volunteering will really pay off. Remember all those different people you met in the industry, while you were volunteering or interning, during your course? It’s time to contact them.
Send them an email, saying something along the lines of, ‘Remember me from X festival? I’m about to graduate, and I loved working with you guys so much. Do you have any opportunities going?’ Include a link to your Linkedin and other social media at the bottom of the email, along with other contacts.
Finally, it’s time to hack your social media networks. Make announcements on Facebook that you’re looking for work. Follow your favourite events or organisations, and DM them. Be clever about what you post and what hashtags you use. After all, events are deeply linked to marketing concepts: how clever you are online affects how people will see you professionally.
Step 6: Apply for jobs
A lot of events management jobs are posted online. So, even if your networks aren’t that broad, you’ve still got a good chance of getting work from postings. Check out Seek.com, Ethicaljobs for government or charity work, or look up the websites of festivals you want to work at and send them an email enquiry.
And, you’re off on your career! That wasn’t so hard now, was it? See here for more information on the Events Management courses at Torrens.