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Landing the Job as a Corporate Event Manager

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Finding a job in events is tough. But being an event manger, I believe, is one of the best jobs in the world if you find the right one. Obviously, I’m biased, but I believe one of the best event roles is as an in-house, corporate manager, as for the past 10 years I have been lucky enough to work as one in the law field. I also actually do love Mondays, which not many people can say.

If you are new to the world of events, without any experience, then you need a foot in the door and by a foot, I mean a leg. You literally need to get yourself seen before everyone else and that can be tough without any experience and with lots of eager beavers out there earning their degrees (I don’t have a degree in events by the way…just saying). While having an events management degree is valuable, I strongly think that in the events industry it’s more about skill than qualifications.

The best way to gain experience is to go out and get it. You may already have events experience even if you have organised a birthday party or a night out. Both of these examples are “events” so you do technically have the experience, you just need to build on it. Here’s how: 

Start organising events at your current job
When I first landed my role I was working as a PA for a law firm. I loved events and was desperate to get my foot in the door so I volunteered to be an event helper every chance I could. Granted it was paid, but I still worked long hours after my day job finished at 6 p.m. and I got some great experience from it. I would highly recommend it if you are already working in a corporate environment. Reach out to your existing events team and ask them if they have any opportunities to help out – I would be very surprised if they said no. Even if it isn’t paid, you will still get valuable experience!

Volunteer at local events
If you are not already working in a corporate environment then you can still get your way into the world of events by offering to help for free in your local community. Reach out to event agencies, or corporate events teams and ask to do free, unpaid events support. Events like the London Marathon and Cancer Research’s Race for Life events are always crying out for volunteers. By helping them, you also get the experience you need. Tell them you have a keen interest in events and would be willing to work for free to gain experience. Again, I have a strong sense that most people will say yes. We event managers would give a right arm for someone to help with putting badges together, cross checking-rooming lists or pretty much anything – try it.

Remember your other events-related experience
When you find the right job opportunity and it comes time to apply for it, think about all the things you have done personally and professionally that would constitute organising an event. Think about how you can include them in your CV (obviously without lying)! If you organised dinner with your friends once at a private dining table or your mother’s birthday dinner at a swanky restaurant, then use it. You still had to make the booking, secure it with a deposit, find out if anyone had any dietary requirements, create a table plan and get everyone to the event. Albeit what event managers do is a bit more in-depth, but you have the basics. You have organised an event so you could put it on your CV.

Reach out to a recruiter
In terms of looking for jobs then my recommendation would be to seek out one of the event-specific recruitment agencies. Make an appointment and tell them what you are looking for. You don’t need to be an extrovert to work in events but you do need to have that “something” and by going through an agent, rather than just firing off your CV, you can demonstrate to them why you would be ace for a role and let them work on your behalf – it’s what they are good at and all those amazing skills that you possess that might not come over on your CV will be championed by your recruiter. They are on your side, so use them.

Network, network, network
Finally, and I am not sure why I left it until now, as to me, it’s the most important thing in life and that is to network. Find a networking group that you feel comfortable in and build on it. My friend Kate and I run Eventprofslive.com which is a networking group for event managers and we constantly help those in the group find a new role, switch industries or just go on a different path entirely. Networking really works and if you are looking for either your first role in events or a move within the events world then building up your network is the most important thing and your network will grow throughout your career – it’s so important. 

About the Author
Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 3.00.15 PMMichelle Rees is an event manager for a global law firm in London and is widely recognised as one of the most influential #eventprofs in the UK using social media on the Eventopedia top 250 Eventprofs each week. 

Michelle is co-founder of Eventprofslive, a networking group for corporate event managers in London and she lives and breathes events. You can find Michelle on Twitter and Instagram @theeventsgirl.

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