How to Become an Event Planner (Even if You Have No Qualifications)
16th Dec 2021
Working as an event planner is a dream job for many. Not only do you get to bring people together to connect, share knowledge or help a cause [link to blog 0004 on fundraising] but you get to create an exciting and memorable experience for attendees. Whether event planning for a large company (like Forbes) or a non-profit, every day is different.
So if you are attracted to the challenging and rewarding career of event planning, read on for our top 10 tips to get you on your way to creating experiences that people will remember for the rest of their lives (for the right reasons!)
A great place to start is to look into a diploma or degree majoring in event planning. While you don’t technically need this to enter the industry, it is getting increasingly competitive - especially if you don’t have any experience in an adjacent field.
If you have experience that has a lot of transferable skills, note down what you think you can do and where the potential gaps are, and evaluate your study options accordingly. You can obtain either a formal degree, or a less formal diploma through a range of institutions. For a more detailed overview of the options, have a look at our comprehensive guide to event management courses [link to guide goes here].
Some fields and courses to look into include:
- Event management (which can be a Bachelor’s degree or diploma)
- Public Relations
- Communications (with a major in Event Management, Public Relations or similar)
- Hospitality Management
- Tourism and Tourism Management
- Project Management
- Business (with a major in Event Management)
It’s hard to break into any industry, and at the entry level this can be a competitive field. Look out for work experience or internships (but make sure you know what your rights are, as well as the difference between work experience and an internship, and avoid any “internships” that look exploitative).
If you have experience in an adjacent field and believe you have a lot of transferable skills, it might be worth applying for jobs, or asking someone in the industry for coffee to get advice on how you might apply these to the event planning industry.
You can also always strike out on your own, like this Refinery29 Money Diarist, but this carries a lot of risk. It’s probably a good idea to make sure you really have the skills (both in event planning and business management) before considering this option.
What if I am on a different path?
Everyone has a different path into their career. Don’t feel that just because you didn’t do the degree straight away at uni, and never had an internship that your career aspirations are doomed. Quite the opposite - a diverse set of experiences and skills will probably benefit your choice of career. It’s all about figuring out what you bring to the space and then coming up with strategies to get you there.
Did you know there are even freelance event planners? Check out Events Helper, and their list of freelance event planners for insight on the kind of experience that leads to this pathway.
Rub Shoulders with the right people
Before you decide to dive in, it is worth reaching out to people in your network of friends and colleagues to find people in the industry. You can offer to take them for a coffee and pick their brains about the ins and outs of the industry, giving you a much better idea about what you’ll be in for.
You can apply this same method once you actually decide to pursue this career. The best case is a lead on a new job or client, and at worst you’ve made a new friend in the industry!
Develop a unique selling point
Are you the person everyone turns to when they decide to get married? Have you been a maid of honour more than 20 times? It’s likely you have a knack for organising weddings, and people naturally seem to trust you with organising the details on their big day.
Always throwing parties that get rave reviews? A pro at laying out a cheese platter? Already the most organised person you know, someone whose inbox sits firmly at 0 and who has a colour-coding system for, well, just about everything? Congrats, you already have one of the most important skills for event coordination.
A little less organised? No worries. It’s all about figuring out how your brain works so you can make the most of your unique way of organising things.
Make technology your friend
Sometimes being organised is something you can automate! Educate yourself on the latest technology that can make your life easier, whether it’s having an automatic sorting function for your emails, or a way of creating easy reminders in your calendar for important dates.
New apps are being developed all of the time to suit your organisational needs. This includes a notes app like Evernote, which lets you clip web pages for offline consumption and make labels for easy note sorting. And check out Capsule for all your image-collection needs.
If you aren’t naturally gifted as a graphic designer, our partner Canva is a great way to make your marketing and event materials look chic and professional.
And get acquainted with different ticketing platforms so that you are confident when it comes time to list and share your event. Check out Humanitix for more insights and information on how to get started.
Become a pro-problem-solver
Unfortunately, a large part of the job description is solving problems. Anyone who has tried to host an event will know that Murphy’s law seems to apply doubly when you have a party to plan. So one of the best skills an event planner can have isn’t just being organised, but also being able to stay cool, calm, and collected when facing inevitable problems.
Luckily, even if this doesn’t come naturally, there are lots of ways to improve your problem-solving skills. Part of it is being prepared for the worst. But another part is being able to brainstorm different solutions in the moment, figuring out a solution that will be satisfactory (if not 100% perfect) and keep things moving.
Ready to sell tickets yet?
Being an event planner can be an exciting way to connect people through events. We’ve created a platform designed with event planners in mind, with customer-first features and excellent integrations. Plus, every fee will help fund the future of a disadvantaged kid. List with us in less than two minutes, and discover the humane choice for ticketing.
Em Meller lives and works in Sydney, Australia on the unceded lands of the Gadigal people. Her work has appeared in places like The Lifted Brow, Cordite, and Going Down Swinging. She has studied creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney, and at Oxford University.