Becoming an Event Planner: 3 Noteworthy Facts to Keep in Mind

February 22, 2020 Susan Serena

When becoming an Event Planner, it’s not only important to think about what your role will be, but also decide where your area of expertise lies. Specializing in a specific events niche is what will set you aside as an expert and influencer.

In other words, are you becoming an Event Planner or an Event Marketer? Or, are you more of an Event and Experience Producer? Our point is…you need to decide which category of the events industry you believe you will conquer best.

For event planners who are just starting out, let this article be somewhat of a guide aimed towards mentoring you in the right direction. As an influential force in the events industry, the team at The Event Planner Expo wants to help enrich event pros worldwide. Before you begin planning events for others, let’s start with laying out a plan for your career first.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” 
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


OK, so you’ve chosen the events industry and wish to join the wonderful world of planners. Great. Becoming an Event Planner can be looked at the way we view New Year’s resolutions. It’s a time for designing resolutions, setting goals, and developing yourself as a person even more. This should actually be an ongoing process, and not just something you decide to refine at the beginning of each new year. Same goes with your path as NYC event planners, we must refine and renew ourselves constantly.

Whether you’re just now launching your career as an event planner, or are already deep into it, we’ve outlined some excellent points below that you will need to remember throughout your career development as Event Planners in NYC.

Before we get into those points, we want you to remember as you build your career as planners, that there are many different areas of the events industry you can specialize in. Because it simply won’t make sense to structure your career with the advice we’re going to give you, if you’re not even sure what you want to specialize in yet.

Roles to Consider When Becoming an Event Planner

  • Social Events Planner
  • Corporate Events Planner
  • Wedding Planner
  • Meeting Planner
  • Activities and Events Planner
  • Meeting and Event Planner
  • Event Operations Manager
  • Event Designer
  • Event Marketer
  • Conference Planner
  • Association Event Planner
  • Event Planner or Event Analyst
  • Exhibition Coordinator
  • Special Events Planner
  • Convention Planner
  • Legal Marketing and Events Planner
  • Senior Event Planner
  • Field Events Manager
  • Event Coordinator
  • Retail Events Representative
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Student Event Planner for Trade Show Promotions

While this is not a complete list of event prof titles, it’s a great place to start as far as opening your mind to what you feel you would excel best in when becoming an Event Planner. That being said…

1. Job Titles Aren’t Everything

Indisputably, holding a Vice President or Director role will hold clout in any professional position.  However, it all depends on the industry and the size of the company. In other words, job titles are variable. A small-sized company might call an Event Planner a Director of Events, but their scope of work is identical to an Event Coordinator at a larger-sized company. That doesn’t mean the title isn’t earned, but it does mean that titles aren’t necessarily the same everywhere around the globe. Quite often, titles don’t even come close to coinciding with the appropriate salary.

As NYC event planners look for a new position, make sure you dissect the job description more than the described title to determine if it’s a step up from your existing role. Don’t be scared to take a position with what may seem to be a lower title than your current one if the opportunity for workload and experience is similar.

2. Networking Shapes Valuable Connections

But it can be intimidating. There’s a great deal of anxiety that comes with the process of networking. Whether you’re considered an introvert or an extrovert, networking has to be a part of the game in the events industry.

If you’re the type that struggles to put themselves in a new environment and around new groups of people, then just start off small and build from there. Then rinse and repeat.


Take out time to: A) Schedule time for networking. B) Post and interact with planners in LinkedIn groups. C) Go to an event or two to mix and mingle with other event profs.


Update your LinkedIn profile and resume with quantifiable results from recent accomplishments that took place in the past three months.


Send your resume out to open positions just to put feelers out there. You won’t be able to climb the infamous success ladder if you’re not actively applying for jobs with your most up-to-date resume. But don’t just stop at applying and ignore responses, you need to actually go to an interview or two. This will help you see your worth within the events industry.

“Networking is marketing. Marketing yourself, your uniqueness, what you stand for.” - Christine Lynch

5 Tips for Networking Anytime, Anywhere

  1. Stay up to date with the news. Whether you’re reading the Sunday newspaper (we know, we know…who does that anymore?), your Twitter feed or the NY Times on your tablet, staying up-to-date with trends and world news gives you an easy in when it comes to breaking the ice in conversations.
  2. Listen to people with the goal of learning something new. Actively listening to others helps you create a connection.
  3. Share something personal. When you open up to people in conversation, it will make the interaction memorable.
  4. Arrive early. It’s way easier to find people to strike up a convo with when the event is quieter, and the big groups haven’t started to form yet.
  5. Follow up. Networking is where the conversation starts
    – ask people of interest where you’d be able to contact them after the event to continue the conversation (text, LinkedIn, etc.), and then make sure to reach out to them at least 48 hours after the event.

3. Certifications Can Impact Your Success

Stepping up your game as NYC Event Planners and putting in the time and money towards a certification will require some careful thinking. The good news is, in the events and meetings industry, there are only a few certifications that will pack in the punch and that are recognized across the industry. Those certs include:

Certified Special Event Professional Designation (CSEP)

  • Issued by the International Live Events Association (ILEA)
  • This is a certification program that is offered four times a year and is globally recognized. Event planners are required to have a minimum of three years of full-time professional employment in the special events industry and you must get recertified every five years.

Certified Meeting Professional Certification (CMP)

  • Distributed by the Convention Industry Council (CIC)
  • This exam covers a range of event industry topics ranging from strategic planning to site management, to event design and marketing. CIC recommends that planners who are interested first consult the CMP International Standards document.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” 
- Benjamin Franklin

Due Diligence When Looking for a Job

It’s very easy to jump at the chance to work for the first position that looks remotely interesting when you begin the job search. But you can’t forget, the job search is as much about you as is the position you’re looking for.

If you land a great job at a company with upward mobility, you may end up being there for years to come. Perform your searches keeping longevity in mind. Also, remember that when it comes to the role you’re applying for, your future manager could make or break your level of enjoyment in this new position. So be sure to interview your potential managers as thoroughly as they interview you.

Attributes of an Excellent Event Planning Manager

  • Outgoing, and not a micromanager
  • Empowers the team to bring their ideas to the table
  • Creates an environment of openness and sharing
  • Gives you tenure of projects and independence in your work

Things to Look for During the Interview Process

  • Is your potential manager responsive to your emails?
  • Did they ask open-ended questions? Did they ask for your input and ideas?
  • Did they seem receptive and open to your ideas?
  • Did they ask about how you’ll implement your ideas?
  • Did they challenge your ideas or advise you to dig a little deeper?


Your career when becoming an Event Planner will be what you make of it. In the end, it’s up to you to decide what your goal is. Set yourself up for success by remembering the following rules.

  1. Your end goal will push you to enhance your skill set and should be continually evaluated.
  2. Where you work and who you work for is more important than your salary
  3. ABN – Always be networking

What do job titles in the events industry mean anyway? Find out what the different roles and titles in the events industry mean here. Then join us at the annual Event Planners Expo where you get to network with every type of events professionals.

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