This blog is really designed for those who want to get into the event industry and don’t know the best way to start. We often receive phone calls or the odd emailed CV from students and graduates looking for work experience, advice or even help with their research and I’ve put together this short but hopefully helpful guide. Having worked in the corporate events industry for two decades now I hope these general points may help.
I know it’s a long time since I finished my degree, however I remember being clueless as to what sort of career I wanted to follow at the end of school. But my father gave me an excellent piece of advice and that was to get a broad understanding of business, so I opted for Business Studies – hooray, only 10 hours of lectures a week!
So my first bit of advice is to choose your degree carefully. The events industry is a diverse one so have a think about which area of the industry you wish to work in and pick a degree course that reflects this. For instance if you wish to work in team building events then a human sciences degree could definitely be beneficial, whereas an art-related degree could help with bespoke party events. Personally speaking I would much prefer someone with a degree that I know requires some really good level of brain power. However, I would look more closely at what they achieved in GCSE and A levels to support how bright I think the person is or not.
Secondly and most importantly, I would want to know what the candidate has done in the way of work experience. Whether it be working behind a bar or till work at a supermarket, I am super for anything that shows somebody has taken the effort of working during their summer and Christmas holidays. Working in the events industry is extremely demanding and so a strong work ethic is essential to succeed. Personally I’ve had many a sleepless nights running an event and even more preparing for an event. The icing on the cake in terms of experience would obviously be any in assisting with events, large or small, as this shows a real commitment towards the industry. So if your village is running a fête for instance, get involved! Whether it’s paid work, interning or volunteering it could mark the difference between you and other candidates in a job interview.
We have one young lady who is currently studying for her degree but is looking for just general work experience. By working in a variety of jobs, this will help her decide what type of jobs suits her most. Sometimes we pay her, sometimes she is shadowing our Events Director and volunteering. The point is she is getting to understand corporate customers and an understanding of what event management companies do! Here’s what the lady in question said:
“Throughout sixth form I was aware of the event’s industry, but as an art history student I never considered it as a career path I might take. Having decided to take a year out from my university course, I was eager to make the most of time away from the library and experience as many working environments as possible. What is so great about the role I have at Team Tactics is the opportunity to interact with so many different people in so many diverse situations. On the events my job is to liaise with those providing and those taking part in the event. It’s great because it means my insight into the working world grows on every event I work on.
Whilst on my year out from university, I wanted to set myself more practical as opposed to strictly academic challenges. I’ve always seen communication as key, and have always wanted to work with people. Working with Team Tactics has taught me how to think creatively and on my feet, but also the importance of a calm, professional and sensitive delivery. I’m excited before every event I work on and truly grateful to Team Tactics for taking me on”.
Thirdly, and this is a general tip for any job-hunters, address your CV to an actual person. I have literally got a CV on my desk, addressed to a Sir or Madam. All it would have taken was for this person to visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website to find my name and that is the difference between me reading the letter and not. The events industry is a friendly one and so you’re going to have to meet a lot of people and learn a lot of names so get it right at the start.
Last but by no means least, and somewhat related to the above is to learn how to build relationships. This industry is all about relationships with clients, suppliers and your peers so it’s vital you build you’re own ‘brand’. Make sure you have a presence on Twitter and Linkedin and where possible try to connect with others in the industry. It’s often said but the importance of networking can’t be over emphasized.
And there you have it! A by no means definitive guide to getting into the events industry but hopefully some helpful tips. These are just a few from the path I’ve taken in events and there are I’m sure many more. I would be very interested to hear others views on this topic, from seasoned event veterans to students. Let me know!