There’s no better time than now to work in the events industry. When I came to London 2011 to study events management I wanted to pursue my career in corporate events, work for a major bank or consultancy firm in the events department. I searched everywhere on the internet, did few cold calls and asked few acquaintances for job opportunities but nothing was available. Eventually, I started looking in other countries, especially in Germany where I was on an exchange semester at the time. I found a paid internship online at IBM Germany and spent four month in Heidelberg pursuing my dream career.
Looking back, and not knowing the events industry in the UK as well as I know it today, maybe there were opportunities to get an internship in a corporate environment, but these were hidden from a “newbie”. Nothing was available online and as they say “it’s all about connections”, I barely knew someone senior or influential in the events industry.
When I came back to London from my exchange semester to finish my degree, the Event Marketing Association for in-house corporate event planners was founded in 2013 (Though I only found out about it in 2014 and worked for them in 2015). Being a member now I wish it was founded a bit earlier and opened me doors to the corporate career I so much desired.
It seems that in the last two years the events industry in London is growing. Monthly networking groups for #eventprofs in London were launched that provide planners and event students an opportunity to learn and network with like-minded professionals. Some of the groups organise free of charge events and they don’t qualify your profile – buyer, supplier or student – everyone is welcome.
Event Huddle is one of them. It’s a monthly topical debate featuring four panellists from the industry. My favourite past topics included event education vs. experience and how can we save ourselves from the next recession.
Citizen Event is another favourite. It’s a monthly morning networking event each last Friday of the month at Grace Bar in Piccadilly. There’s no content or programme and the idea is to just network over coffee. There’s always a good mix of planners, suppliers, freelancers and sometime students.
EWL Club are monthly lunch and breakfast networking events. They are paid events, lunches cost £30 and breakfasts £10, but for that you get a more bespoke experience and smaller number of attendees. Also after attending first event you get a membership card and can enjoy discounts from partner suppliers. So far I’ve been to one breakfast and one lunch event but will definitely try some more. Favourite event was about closing the gap between event education and experience.
I can also recommend checking out associations that organise regular events, such as International Live Events Association (ILEA), Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) or Event Marketing Association (EMA). If you are not sure whether to join as a member you can always buy a single event ticket.
Last but not least, social media is a great platform to learn, network and do research. I can say that many of my colleagues I first e-met on Twitter, from participating in Twitter chats such as #EventPlannersTalk or using the hashtag #eventprofs. Event professionals are the friendliest, helpful and accessible on social media. Because of the increasing number of groups, the opportunities, the connections there’s no better time than now to work in the events industry, and it looks like it’s just the beginning.