Inside Event Planner Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Time Commitment...
How many hours are involved. Once you reach a certain level there is not any place to go. Not a great career with family." (Event Specialist; 2013)

Career: 23 years of experience, currently based in Washington, female
School: Studied Hotel Restaurant And Travel Administration at U Mass Amherst in Massachusetts; completed Bachelor degree in 1992

"The amount of customer service skills one must exemplify in the hospitality industry is key! You have to be a people person to work in this industry; and beyond that a people pleaser! In college, you are trained in the hospitality industry to think on your feet in an organized, composed manner; actually maintaining this while your client is not, can be very difficult!" (Event Coordinator; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, female
School: Studied Tourism Management at Indiana University in Indiana; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"I was surprised that not all Store Managers in my company have a college degree. I would have expected people in charge of over $1 million in sales would need a degree, of some sort." (Retail & Event Management; 2012)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, female
School: Studied Marketing at Truman in Missouri; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Event Coordinator: "The best part is meeting new clients and providing them with a service that meets their food and beverage needs. Nothing boosts your ego like having a happy client gush over the work that was done. The worst part, however, is the need to work some incredibly long days, which can last from 12 to 15 hours, and then having to return again first thing in the morning to start again." (2011)

Event Manager For A College Athletic Team: "The best part of my career is that I work in athletics which is something I am very passionate about. I get to see and experience all the behind the scenes happenings that the every day fan is unaware of. By far, the worst part of my job are the hours. This is not just a 9-5 job from Monday to Friday. Many weeks I can work 60 hours plus, and many times I do not get to have a weekend. To be in this career, you have to be really passionate about what you are doing and truly enjoy it. If not, you will become overwhelmed and uninterested in getting the job done because the hours are long and the pay is low." (2011)

Marketing Event Coordinator: "I enjoy every day being a little different. I am always talking to various people in all industries different from my own (i,e catering, hotels). I like using my own creativity to make each event a little different -(i.e. themes, decorations to make sometimes dry material a little more interesting/fun). The week and especially days before and event are very stressful. I work long long hours and am usually on the phone for most the day making sure that everything comes together perfectly." (2011)

Event Coordinator: "I love working with different types of people. My clients include foresters, politicians, teachers, government employees, and researchers. Even though I do lots of the same tasks for each conference, there are always new people to meet, problems to solve, and processes to improve. I am a state employee. This means that I have pretty good job security and I work a standard work week (Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm). Unfortunately, this also means that I have to work through lots of "red tape." I often have to fill out extra paperwork and am unable to help my clients as quickly and thoroughly as I would like." (2009)

Career Background

Event Planner

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Build Trust With Clients...
Be consistent in your dealings with all clients. You cannot provide discounts for additional services to one client and not to others. You need to provide the same services to all clients. In doing so, you will build trust. Be flexible, as the needs of your clients can change on a whim, or at the last possible moment. Clients will often make requests at the most inconvenient moments. Roll with it. Always approach your clients with a smile, whether it be in person, on the phone, or even in an email. It will make a difference and a client can tell if you are distracted or not paying attention." (Event Coordinator; 2011)

"Gaining Experience With A Sports Org A Must...
It is EXTREMELY important to volunteer or intern with various sports organizations. In my opinion, experience is even more important than education for this job. If you can prove yourself to others through internships or volunteer opportunities, then you can get good references and move forward in your career. Also, networking is a big part of the job. It's not necessarily what you know, but more importantly who you know and who knows you. If you get your name out there and make sure people know who you are and what you are capable of, it will get you very far in this type of career." (Event Manager For A College Athletic Team; 2011)

"Marketing Skills Helpful...
Although I did not have an hotel/event management experience, I think it would help greatly in my position. An HIM (Healthcare Information Mgmt.) background would certainly help you in understanding the content that goes into these events. My company would also look for someone with experience with the inner workings of a hospital department. A basic knowledge of marketing would help make you an asset as well. Excellent organization skills are a must-have in my position." (Marketing Event Coordinator; 2011)

"Start As An Assistant If You Can...
I think it's good to start from the bottom and work your way up. When I started my job as an assistant meeting planner, I did not have much experience. Being an assistant gave me the opportunity to learn from experienced mentors. Although being an assistant was not my dream job, it really helped me get hired for my current job. My job requires a high level of organization and practice making lists and juggling multiple tasks at once. I typically work on eight to ten different conferences at a time. Volunteer for community events like festivals and carnivals. They provide a great way to gain relevant experience." (Event Coordinator; 2009)