Event Planning Careers: Exciting Pathways and Options

May 2, 2024 Jessica Stewart

When planning something important in your life, many of us fall into one of two categories.

The first type hopes for the best, possibly panicking slightly. The second type? You'll know them by their spreadsheet, task list, and trusty planner.

If you are the latter, event planning could be your calling in life. It's a surprisingly varied field, with some exciting career opportunities available. Some could even combine their personal life passion with a flourishing career.

Read on for more information on the best event planning careers.

Event Executive

An event executive is someone who gets involved with the details. You'll find event executives engaged in various events, ranging from a small corporate day to a high-profile public one.

They spend lots of their time coordinating tasks before the big day. But they also get involved in the planning and execution.

People in this role have excellent organizational skills. One missed task could derail an event, so attention to detail is necessary.

Other essential skills include creativity, communication, and teamwork. A background in project management is also helpful.

If this sounds like a career for you, the best way to begin is to find an entry-level, junior role. Get experience helping support a range of events.

You can also find internships in some larger event and project management companies. Academic qualifications in hospitality or event planning are also helpful but not mandatory.

Event Specialist

For large-scale events, you may find people involved in more specialist roles. For example, you might have someone who covers all the event logistics. Or a specialist in the design, technology, or customer experience.

While an executive has a broad role, a specialist tends to take responsibility for a single aspect of an event.

The skills you need will depend on the type of specialism you choose. But all event specialists have a few qualities in common, such as attention to detail.

That's because they are often responsible for making sure the small things are perfect for the day. Adaptability and problem-solving skills are also high on the list of requirements.

To become a specialist, you'll need to enter a career path related to your expertise. For example, if you want to oversee the catering, you may already have experience working in kitchens as a chef.

A customer experience specialist, in contrast, might have front-of-house experience or come from a senior customer service role.

Corporate Planner

A corporate planner is someone who specializes in business events. That might include conferences, team-building away days, or large-scale exhibitions.

A corporate event planner will work with the business to create an event that fits a particular purpose for the company.

For example, that might be a marketing goal or a team expansion. The corporate planner will craft a day perfect for that business's needs. After that, they'll plan every tiny detail to make the event run smoothly.

It's a creative role, so you need to be someone who loves coming up with ideas. In addition, you must have excellent communication skills for operating in a corporate setting.

Financial skills are also handy, as you will have to work with a budget set by your client.

This is a role you can move into if you already have a background in planning. It's also an excellent sideways career shift if you have a background in PR.

Charity Events Manager

Charities rely on well-run fundraising events to get donations and raise awareness. A charity event manager will take on this responsibility, often working directly inside the charity full-time as part of this role.

The events you organize as a manager can vary. So, one month, you might have an awareness event you run online and via advertising.

In another month, you might organize a gathering of donors to raise money for a specific cause. It's a rewarding and exciting role.

To be a charity events manager, you must have exceptional organizational skills. A background in project management is also helpful, as that will help you plan larger events in minute detail and coordinate with third parties.

You'll also benefit from a passion for the charity in question and use creative and problem-solving skills to develop unique fundraising ideas.

If you already work in events management, you could use your skills to move into the charity sector. Any PR background is also beneficial.

Conversely, perhaps you already have an organizational-based role in a charity, so you could explore moving into an events management position.

Wedding Planner

If you want to help plan someone's big day, a wedding planning career is for you. As the name suggests, this person is responsible for arranging every aspect of a wedding and ensuring perfect execution on the day.

It may also involve creating the ideas and themes for the wedding or working with the requirements set out by the couple.

This job involves excellent attention to detail and equally strong organizational skills. You will also have to be great at building relationships, as wedding planners often develop industry connections along the way.

Good interpersonal skills are essential, too, to help manage clients' expectations and ease nerves on the day. Exceptional problem-solving skills will always help alleviate any hiccups that arrive during the event.

Any event planning or hospitality background is perfect if you want to create a career as a wedding planner.

Some people join the industry by helping arrange their friends' weddings and growing a small business via word-of-mouth recommendations.

Festival Organizer

If you are passionate about music or the arts, a festival organizer could be your perfect career move. This role involves planning and running cultural festivals like books, music, or food.

As part of that role, you'll need to reach out to many different people and organizations, including entertainers and vendors. You'll also need to oversee the promotion of the festival.

Excellent marketing and project management skills will serve you well in this career. And you need to feel comfortable coordinating with various groups and organizations.

It demands multitasking skills to combine the many varied aspects that make a festival successful. Depending on the type of festival, the role may also require lots of travel.

Events management or a background in the arts is a good starting point for this career. It's also worth trying for an unpaid internship at a local festival to help gain experience.

Exhibition Manager

Exhibition managers get to oversee events ranging from art shows to industry conferences.

It's a job that involves planning a large event. It often means securing venues and companies, plus all the marketing required to make the exhibition successful.

The job entails lots of logistics and project management. An experienced hand is needed to coordinate an event of this scale. It also means good design skills to ensure the exhibition looks impressive.

First impressions count in these gatherings. Strong communication skills are essential, too, as you'll be liaising with many different people and businesses.

A background in a specific industry could help you become an exhibition manager for that specialism. Or you could move into this field as a career progression from an events executive job.

Sports Events Manager

An interest in sports and a background in events could make you the perfect candidate for a sports events manager role. It involves coordinating and overseeing many sporting events such as competitions, PR, or sponsored events.

You need good organizational and communication skills for this type of role. Logistics planning and management are also necessary.

You'll also need to handle the stress of managing the event, particularly the time management. So, problem-solving skills could be helpful here, too.

A background in sports is a good starting point for this career, such as a planning or project management role in a local stadium. But it's also a good career move if you have experience in other types of event management and want to specialize in sports.

Virtual Events Planner

Events don't always take place in the real world. Sometimes, they happen online.

But behind the scenes is an organized events planner making the cogs turn. And if you enjoy working in the digital world, it could be a good career option.

A virtual events planner will market an online event, set up the technology, and liaise with attendees.

To work as a virtual events planner, you need excellent technical skills. A background in digital marketing is also valuable. You'll need to stay organized and know event planning careers to test and monitor an event to ensure it's running smoothly.

A virtual events planner could be a perfect career move if you already have a career in tech and want to take advantage of your existing organizational skills.

You could work for a PR or marketing agency or work directly for a high-profile brand.

Event Planning Careers: Finding Your Dream Path

Whether you love being at the heart of the corporate world or enjoy the bustle and noise of a festival, the ideal job awaits you. Use this guide on event planning careers to get started.

Securing your dream job means making connections with the right people. So take a moment now to grab your spot at The Event Planner Expo, which happens on October 15th-17th, 2024. Be a part of the action and network with some of the best in the events industry by reserving your booth today!

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