The beginning of a new year is a good time to think about your career. While the new year gives us a great opportunity to create resolutions, goal-setting shouldn’t simply be an annual process. It should be ongoing. Whether you’re at the start of your career or deep into it, we have a few great things to remember throughout your event planning career.
Job Titles Aren’t Everything
Undeniably, holding a director or vice president role will hold clout anywhere. However, depending on industry and company size, job titles are variable. A small company may call an event planner a director, but their scope of work is the same as an event coordinator at a larger company. That isn’t to say the title isn’t earned, but titles aren’t the same everywhere in the world. Many times, titles don’t even coincide with salary. As you look for new jobs, look at the job description more than the title to determine if it’s a step up from your current role. Don’t be afraid to take a position with a seemingly lower title than your current if the opportunity for experience and workload is similar.
Networking Builds Valuable Connections
But it can be daunting. There is great anxiety associated with networking. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, networking is part of the game. If you struggle to put yourself in new environments around new groups of people, start small and build, then do it often.
Carve out time for networking: post in LinkedIn groups, go to an event or reach out to someone via email.
Update your Resume and LinkedIn profile with quantifiable results from accomplishments over the last three months.
Apply for jobs with your most up-to-date resume and go to an interview or two. This helps you know your worth within the industry.
5 Tips for Networking Anywhere, Anytime
- Read the news. Whether you’re reading the Sunday morning paper, your Twitter feed or the Times on your tablet, staying up-to-date on what’s happening in the world gives you an easy in into conversations.
- Listen with the goal of learning something. Actively listening to another person helps you establish a connection.
- Share something personal. This makes the conversation you had with another person memorable.
- Get there early. It’s much easier to find people to strike up a conversation with when the event is calmer and groups haven’t formed yet.
- Follow up. Networking is where the conversation begins
– ask them where you can continue the conversation (email, LinkedIn, etc.), and reach out to them 48 hours after the event.
Certifications Can Impact Career Success
Taking that next step and putting time and money into a certification requires careful thought. The good news is, in the meetings and events industry, there are a few certifications that pack a punch and are recognized across the industry.
Certified Special Event Professional Designation (CSEP)
- Issued by International Live Events Association (ILEA)
- This globally-recognized certification program is offered four times a year. Event planners must have a minimum of three years of full-time professional employment in the special events industry and must recertify every five years.
Certified Meeting Professional Certification (CMP)
- Issued by the Convention Industry Council (CIC)
- The exam covers a range of event industry topics, from strategic planning to site management, to event design and marketing. CIC recommends that those interested first consult the CMP International Standards document.
Do Your Homework When Looking for a Job
It’s easy, when beginning the job search, to jump at any job that looks remotely relevant to your skill set. But don’t forget, the job search is just as much about you as the position you’re looking for. If you land a great position at a company with upward mobility, you could be there for years to come. Search with longevity in mind. And, remember that when it comes to the position, your future manager could make or break how much you enjoy the position. Interview potential managers as intensely as they interview you.
Attributes of a Great Event Planning Manager
- Communicative, but not a micromanager
- Empowers you to bring your ideas to the table
- Creates an environment of sharing and openness
- Gives you ownership of projects and autonomy in your work
Look for These Things During the Interview Process
- Does your potential new boss respond to your emails?
- Do they ask open-ended questions? Do they ask for your ideas or input?
- Are they open and receptive to your ideas?
- Do they ask about next steps/how you’ll implement that idea?
- Do they challenge your thoughts or help you dig a little deeper?
Your career is what you make it. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what your end game is. Set yourself up for success by remembering a few simple rules.
- Goals push you to improve and should be constantly evaluated.
- Where you work and who you work is more important than salary
- ABN – Always be networking
What do job titles mean anyway? Find out in Different Names for Event Planners.