Considering changing careers into event management? Here is what you need to know

Think you might like a job working in event management? Ready to leave your current career and transition to the world of parties, launches and gala dinners? Here is what you need to know before leaping into the world of event planning.

Many young professionals are attracted to the events industry: they may have been involved in planning their office Christmas party, or attended a launch for a new product. Often times people see the product of the hard work of event managers, but the job itself isn’t always glamourous. Maybe you are currently in a job that requires organisation, planning and managing lots of moving parts. Jobs in industries like real estate, property development, marketing and logistics and more all require elements of these skills. Events are all around us – sporting, cultural, music, art, theatre, holidays, weddings, birthdays, births and more. Perhaps you planned your own wedding and were able to design your big day from Pinterest board to the aisle, and were excited by the organisation, planning and details and realised perhaps ‘hey, maybe I could do this as a job?’. Before jumping into a new career, below are some of the realities of the world of event management.

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1. You don’t just plan parties

The events industry is far more diverse than weddings and the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Types of events are incredibly broad, and some are much less glitzy than others – conventions, board meetings, conferences are just as common as brand launches, VIP after parties and marquees at the races. You respond to the needs and brief of your clients and that sometimes means putting your Pinterest board and personal creative vision aside.

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2. You do not work traditional hours

This might be a bit of a shock for those coming from traditional 9-5 job structures. Often you will be involved in planning and executing multiple events at once in varying stages of production. Being onsite during the bump in, delivery and bump out of an event might find you in a loading dock at a venue at 5am or doing dress rehearsals late into the evening. Long hours are part and parcel of being an event manager.

3. Stress is part of the job

Managing other people’s ideas and expectations can be stressful. Making sure every detail is taken care of, as well as anticipating the needs of the clients requires a calm mind and the ability to respond appropriately when things go wrong – and they do! A healthy amount of good stress is required to keep the many parts and people required to deploy an event moving.

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4. You do whatever is required

You are working behind the scenes – organising suppliers, schedules, scripts and logistics – sometimes even doing weird and wonderful tasks like taping down cables or organising bins and waste management. Being an event manager means not thinking or saying “that isn’t my job”- there will be times when you will be thinking to yourself, “how did I end up going to Ikea three times today?”. Holding all of the elements together to put on an incredible experience for the client and their guests is the goal for an event manager, and we must do what is necessary to achieve this outcome.

We spoke to Anna O’Dea, Founder of Melbourne based creative recruitment agency, Agency Iceberg who had some suggestions for those who are considering taking the leap:

If you’re thinking of making a career change make sure you do your research first! Meet with people in the industry for coffee, both leaders and those at your level, to understand what the events industry is really about and what your responsibilities will be. Will you rub shoulders with celebrities? Maybe. But you might be serving them cocktails or managing their last-minute wardrobe requests, so you need to be prepared for anything.

If you haven’t worked in events before, you should do some volunteering to boost your experience and resume. There are plenty of large city events you can volunteer for, from major sporting events (the Australian Open, Grand Prix, fun runs) to fashion (VAMFF) and the arts including film festivals, exhibitions and not-for-profit events. You can also volunteer for more local council or community run events in your local area.

Finally, you might need to up skill or do some further education if you’re making a complete career change. It doesn’t need to be a Masters Degree, but could be a short course or diploma from a reputable institute such as William Angliss Institute, to learn the practical skills, complete internships and connect with industry leaders during the course and when you graduate”.

Still excited about the world of events and think you might want to take the leap? Do. There is nothing more wonderful and rewarding than delivering a beautiful event to happy clients and seeing your hard work, planning and focus come to fruition!

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