By Kawania H. Wooten CMP
Quite often, event planners receive job inquiries from talented candidates. Unfortunately, many of those applicants miss the mark just enough to miss out on an excellent opportunity.
So I noted some recommendations below. These recommendations don’t hold the key to securing you a job in the event planning industry, but they are a definite start. So, here goes —
1. When inquiring or applying for a position, read the Event Planning company’s application instructions and follow them. To be blunt, this means that you shouldn’t call the company if the company’s web site says “no phone calls.” No one wants to hire an applicant who chooses not to follow instructions.
2. Avoid addressing e-mails and cover letters to “Sir,” “Owner,” and “To Whom It May Concern.” Most event planning companies have an owner, principal, or lead planner. Find his or her name on the company’s web site and address your e-mail and/or cover letter to him or her. You should use the e-mail that you are directed to use, but the body of the message can be personalized.
3. Be Professional. Avoid typos and grammatical errors. Don’t write in “text speak.” And, avoid sending your cover letter and resume via mass e-mails. (a pet peeve of mine!) — To me, it says that the applicant was too lazy to write each person their own individual e-mail.
4. Use an e-mail address that places you in a positive light. You want an e-mail address that isn’t offensive or unprofessional. I recommend something like your first name and last name @email.com. Years ago, when my son was in preschool, my husband and I were interviewing sitters. We spoke with a wonderful young lady, who was very knowledgeable about child care and child safety. I was ready to hire her on the spot. Then, we received her e-mail address. It was something like, “little thug @email.com.” Needless to say, we never called her back!
5. Submit your cover letter and resume as a PDF instead of a Word Processing document. When you send your cover letter/resume as a word processing format, you cannot guarantee that the fonts, formatting, and graphics will look the same when the recipient opens the document on their computer.
6. Try to submit your resume during the planning company’s off-peak season. If you submit your resume during an event planner’s peak season, s/he may be too busy to review your resume or meet with you. And, that could result in your resume getting filed away without review. Typically, wedding and special event planners are less busy in January and February. And, conference planners’ schedules tend to free up between Thanksgiving and January 1.
7. Seek out good sources for event planning jobs. Look for job openings on reputable job board sites.
8. Showcase your experience. Share ALL of your event planning experience (professional and non-professional). List the industry-related classes you have taken, and include all of the degrees or certificates you have earned (industry-related and non-related).
9. Read the event planning company’s “About Us” page. The “about us” page will more than likely give you a glimpse into the company’s (and/or event planner’s) style and beliefs. This might help you to determine (in advance) if you share similar beliefs and/or styles with the event planning company’s staff.
10. Remember to Follow Up! If you don’t hear back from the event planner, follow up with an e-mail a week or so after you submit your resume. If you have an opportunity to speak with a member of the company’s staff, always remember to follow up with a thank you letter or note. Event planners love paper, so I recommend that you handwrite and mail your thank you note instead of sending an e-mail or (gasp!) a text.
Bonus! Be creative. The event planning industry is a creative industry, so try something unique (yet still professional). The goal is to set yourself apart.
Happy Job Hunting!
Kawania Wooten is the principal consultant at Howerton+Wooten Events, LLC. Known to her friends and family as Kay, she uses artistic skills, her keen attention to the smallest details and her strong commitment to customer service as the hallmark of her business. As the founder of the company, Kawania strives for professionalism, creativity and impeccable organization within every function planned by Howerton+Wooten Events.