Is becoming an event planner right for me?

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What do event planners do?
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How to become an Event Planner

Becoming an event planner typically involves a combination of education, practical experience, networking, and acquiring relevant skills. Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to pursue a career as an event planner:

  • Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent: Start by completing your high school education or obtaining a General Education Development (GED) certificate.
  • Pursue a Degree or Certification: Although a formal degree is not always required, it can enhance your knowledge and credentials. Consider pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Event Planning, Hospitality Management, Marketing, Communications, or a related field. Alternatively, you can also opt for certification programs offered by industry organizations, such as Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) or Certified Meeting Professional (CMP).
  • Gain Experience: Seek opportunities to gain practical experience in event planning. This can be done through internships, part-time jobs, or volunteering at event management companies, non-profit organizations, or even within your community. This hands-on experience will help you understand the industry and develop essential skills.
  • Develop Key Skills: Event planners need a range of skills to excel in their profession. Some crucial skills include excellent organizational and time management abilities, strong communication and interpersonal skills, attention to detail, problem-solving capabilities, creativity, and adaptability. Continually work on honing these skills through practice and self-improvement.
  • Build a Professional Network: Networking plays a vital role in the event planning industry. Attend industry conferences, seminars, and trade shows to connect with professionals in the field. Join professional organizations like the International Live Events Association (ILEA) or Meeting Professionals International (MPI) to access networking opportunities and resources.
  • Gain Software Proficiency: Familiarize yourself with event management software and tools that are commonly used in the industry. Examples include event registration platforms, project management tools, event planning software, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Demonstrating proficiency in these tools will enhance your efficiency and marketability as an event planner.
  • Secure Entry-Level Positions: Start by applying for entry-level positions in event management companies, hotels, convention centers, or other relevant organizations. These positions may include event coordinator, assistant event planner, or event assistant roles. While working in these positions, gain hands-on experience, learn from experienced professionals, and gradually take on more responsibilities.
  • Continual Professional Development: Stay updated with industry trends, best practices, and emerging technologies. Attend workshops, webinars, and training sessions to enhance your knowledge and skills. Pursue advanced certifications, such as Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), to further boost your professional credibility.
  • Establish Your Brand: As you gain experience and confidence, consider starting your event planning business or working as a freelance event planner. Develop a strong brand identity, create a portfolio showcasing your past events, and establish an online presence through a website and social media platforms.
  • Seek Professional Advancement: As you progress in your career, consider specializing in a particular area of event planning, such as weddings, corporate events, or non-profit events. You can also aim for managerial or leadership roles within event management companies or establish yourself as a sought-after event planner in your niche.

Helpful Resources
The following resources provide valuable information, networking opportunities, industry updates, and professional development opportunities:

Professional Associations:

  • International Live Events Association (ILEA): An association for event professionals offering education, networking events, and resources.
  • Meeting Professionals International (MPI): A global community for meeting and event professionals, providing education, certifications, and networking opportunities.
  • Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA): A network for event planners and industry professionals, offering education, research, and networking opportunities.
  • National Association for Catering and Events (NACE): An organization focused on the catering and events industry, providing education, certification, and networking opportunities.

Event Planning Publications and Magazines:

  • Special Events Magazine: A publication covering the latest trends, industry news, and best practices in event planning.
  • Event Marketer Magazine: A resource for experiential marketing and event professionals, featuring insights and case studies.
  • Successful Meetings: A publication covering the meetings and events industry, providing insights, trends, and expert advice.

Online Platforms and Communities:

  • Event Manager Blog: An online resource for event professionals offering articles, guides, trends, and industry insights.
  • BizBash: A platform providing event planning ideas, inspiration, news, and resources for event professionals.
  • Eventbrite Blog: A blog focused on event management, providing tips, case studies, and best practices for event organizers.
  • LinkedIn Groups: Join relevant LinkedIn groups for event planners to connect with industry professionals, share insights, and participate in discussions.

Event Planning Conferences and Trade Shows:

  • The Special Event: An annual conference and trade show for event professionals, featuring education sessions, networking opportunities, and a showcase of event products and services.
  • Eventex: A global event awards and conference platform bringing together event professionals from around the world.
  • IMEX America: A leading trade show for the meetings and events industry, offering networking opportunities, education sessions, and a diverse range of exhibitors.

Online Courses and Certifications:

  • Event Leadership Institute: Offers online courses and certifications covering various aspects of event planning, management, and design.
  • Coursera: Provides online courses from universities and institutions on event planning, hospitality, and related topics.