Last Wednesday it was a very interesting #eventhour (Twitter chat that takes place every Wednesday at 9pm BST) and we had a discussion about jobs in events, as it concerns many current students, graduates and recruiters. That is not the first time I engage in discussions on this topic on Twitter, but this time I decided to express my opinion and give advice in more than 140 characters.
Events industry, especially in the UK and especially in London is VERY competitive. According to Bowdin’s book Events Management (2011), there are currently 68 colleges and universities in the UK offering undergraduate and event related courses and on top of that people without event management degrees or related degrees such as in marketing, tourism and hospitality are applying for event positions. How do you differentiate yourself and get a job, one that you like?
Over the past years I worked in the events industry until I decided to concentrate on my blog and in 2015 I plan to organise independent events. I would like to share with those starting in the industry or graduates how I found some of my event jobs.
Work outside your home country
One of my internships was in Munich in a small event company (team of three) that organised different events ranging from sport events to conferences. Working outside your home country will bring you a lot in terms of cultural experience, languages and networking. Another advantage is that you get a lot of responsibility and learn quickly on the job.
Volunteering is good only when you know that you will be very busy and learning on the job. In one of the posts I shared my experience volunteering on events in Switzerland. That was a very positive experience, because not only I had a clear job description, I also received a small compensation and free entrance to the events, which otherwise were very expensive to attend.
Engadin Skimarathon 2010
Search for jobs which are not advertised online
This summer I wanted to work on a sports event and found out about Polo in the Park. I called them and asked if they need help before or during the event. They asked me to send them my CV and I got a four week job. A friend of mine was even bolder. She went to the offices of a top UK event agency and asked to see the manager. When she met her she told her that she wants to do an internship with them and she was hired. When she finished her training period she was offered a job! Don’t wait for opportunities to come your way and look for them.
Polo in the Park 2014
Search on Facebook and Twitter
I found two job adverts on Facebook and Twitter on which I applied and got them. One of them was for Share to Buy exhibition and one with Concerto Live. Even though they were short and temporary roles, I had interesting jobs and can add it to my CV. Every week I see great opportunities advertised online and very often they are advertised short-term and they need someone to start straightaway. You have to be willing to be flexible and leverage such opportunities.
Search on LinkedIn
Though I never applied for a job advertised on LinkedIn, I have to admit that LinkedIn targets me very well and sends me excellent job offers! I have decided to concentrate 100 percent on my blog activities but if not I would definitely apply for the jobs they send me as it perfectly corresponds to my profile. And for the first time last month I even got an email from a headhunter for an event role working for a corporate account! If you haven’t done it already, I suggest updating your LinkedIn profile with all the past jobs and keywords by which you would like to be targeted.
Invest time in your application – quality over quantity
I prefer quality over quantity and if you think you want the job you saw advertised, put the full effort in your application. When I applied for my internship at IBM to organise corporate events I spent over 15 hours on this application. Not only I had to update my CV and application letter and adjust it to the job description, I also had to respond on questions in the online application process and when I got an interview I had to prepare a Power Point presentation on why I want this job. Obviously you can’t do it for 10 jobs but if there is one job you really like and want, make everything and invest the necessary time and effort to get it.
Write an event blog
Write what you are passionate about! Your blog will give you a platform to connect with people and organisations with similar interests and enlarge your network. One of the advantages of having a blog is the skills set you learn by managing it. Most of the companies today look for people with experience in digital marketing and there is no better way to demonstrate it as by managing your own blog. Last but not least, by being an expert in your field you have greater chances to be approached by them and get offered fantastic job opportunities, ones that also correspond to what you want to do! There are many job opportunities out there, and before they get advertised externally, they go word of mouth among friends and colleagues so by being connected in your industry you increase the chances to hear about them first.
I would love to hear your experience on looking for or finding a job in the events industry and especially about creative and ‘out of the box’ ideas, please share with me in the comment section below.