A prominent fundraiser in a swanky New York hotel and an outdoor picnic to welcome home soldiers in Central Park may not seem to have too much in common, but chances are that they have one thing in common. Each of the events had someone that got the ball rolling for the event and used creativity combined with determination and some resourcefulness to pull off the event.
If planning the perfect party or event sounds like something you would enjoy as a career, you may be wondering how exactly you get started in the industry.
There are event planning certification programs available online. Many of these programs state that as soon as you complete their course you will be able to get a job in the industry. However, this is really not how it works. The event planning industry is extremely competitive and there is no certification course that is going to automatically open up the door for you in the industry. You are going to need to network yourself and volunteer a lot in order to get experience in the field.
In order to start a career in event planning you do not need to be certified. You need to learn the basics and get some hands on experience in the field. Networking in this field is essential as this business is all about people.
One of the best ways to get started is to plan events for your friends and family. These events are typically small scale and allow you to get your feet wet. When you are comfortable planning these smaller events you may want to consider contacting some of the non-profit agencies in your area. Many of these agencies have fundraising events throughout the year and they are typically looking for someone to help plan these events. When you help plan an event for a non-profit you are going to be honing your event planning skills while at the same time meeting people who could possibly land you your first paid event.
Another option is to volunteer to plan an event for your current company if you have one. For example, your company may have an understaffed public relations department that you can volunteer in. One of the best things about this option is that you are learning your new career while still being paid for your own job.
When you are creating and planning events it is important to make sure that you keep a portfolio with samples of your work. This is what you will show people when you are trying to land paying jobs in the future. You can use materials from any event that you have planned or helped with for your portfolio.
Once you have been planning smaller events for a few years you may want to consider one of the certification courses. This certification can then be added to your portfolio as a boost to possibly get you bigger and better paying jobs.
What’s your take on this? Study or try to get experience?