Life as an #Eventprof : My journey into Corporate Events
Decided it was time to make this blog a little more human and the simplest way to do that is to talk about myself and the people I know. This is going to be another series, this time on what it is actually like to work in the corporate event industry in London, for those event students that aspire to enter the industry or anyone just a little bit nosey about what we #eventprofs get up too. So here we go this is post one on how I ended up in the event industry.
So how did I get here? My journey to the event industry started when I was travelling in Australia in 2016 after 3 years of working for the sake of working and deciding to go travelling to ‘find myself’ (joking….kind of). I had what I can only describe as an epiphany that events are what I should to go into whilst working in Melbourne, I had always enjoyed organising events in the workplace and at University so why not see if I could make a career out of this, and everything just kind of fell into place. I enrolled on an online course in events to start prepping myself for returning to the UK, I’ve always been an academic person, so I decided to go down the retraining route to enter the industry. I discovered you can do a taught Masters in Event Management and as I already have a degree in Law (It seemed like a good idea when I was 18 and just wanted to go to University) I decided that was the best choice for me. My plan B would have been to enter through event administration as I had 4 years’ experience as a support admin but I wanted a faster route in and to have something that could help me climb the ladder quickly and give me the knowledge of the industry as a whole.
I enrolled on the MSc Event Management course at Bournemouth University and enjoyed every aspect of going back to University, even if I was now classes as a 'Mature Student'. The course at Bournemouth University teaches you both real life project management whilst working in a team of other students to produce an event from a brief. It also incorporates event evaluation as well as basic marketing principles. Alongside the project & event based modules you study business & finance, an option of your choice (I chose Conference Tourism) and finally your Dissertation. You can read more about my Dissertation topic in previous blog posts. I thoroughly enjoyed my Master’s graduating with a Distinction and as a University prize winner, something I am incredibly proud of and never thought I could accomplish prior to this. Then it was time to go back to the real world and get a job, just before I began my dissertation, I started applying for event jobs in the hope that I would get a job ready for when I finished my course. Some I applied for I never heard back from, some I was unsuccessful at interview, but all you need is for one company to want to take a chance on you.
I was still writing my dissertation when I was offered my current job, and they were willing to wait for me to finish my course and move to London before my contract started. That was the next step, moving to London and finding a place to live. Now I’m no stranger to moving, I have lived in 5 cities and 2 countries since I turned 18, setting up a new life does not phase me that much, but it is still a stressful time. I believe everything that is meant to happen in your life will happen and whether it’s easy or difficult you will make it work and if it didn’t work out maybe it wasn’t the right time or wasn’t what you were supposed to do.
I gave myself 6 months to decide if I liked the role and liked living in London, if all failed, I could move back home and start again. Here I am 6 months in, and I am really enjoying my job and never want to leave London. I’ve been converted to the busy nonstop lifestyle, being able to get the tube every 3 minutes, ordering Uber Eats, friends that always want to go out for after work drinks and brunch, and access to some pretty amazing networking groups and opportunities. The last 6 months have been full of new people and new lessons. Learning how to manage multiple event projects simultaneously that are all at different stages can be stressful. Writing event briefs, negotiating with suppliers, venue searching, finding speakers, creating project plans and proposals, managing budgets. There is a lot that goes on as an event professional that you cannot learn until you are on the job and I am lucky to have a role that has let me manage projects straight away. Not only that my company are an advocate for change and forward thinking and allow us all to have flexible working, this includes changing from the 9-5 to avoid the commuter hell on the underground and being able to work from home to avoid it all together a couple days a week if we want too. This is a god send when you have busy days working on events and you know the following day you can work from your bed!
Top Tips for getting a job in events!
1. If you're academic do a course, this can be online - check out https://eventacademy.com or through College/ University
2. Volunteer work, you will be surprised how many opportunities there are for this in your local area. Especially with Charities.
3. If you are at University, take on leadership roles within Societies or set up your own event group and offer your skills to other societies/ create ticketed events for your SU.
4. Research the event industry, there is so much more than what you will learn from a course or event your own job.
5. Follow event companies and professionals on LinkedIn, I educated myself on the top event companies and corporate event roles by looking at industry magazines published lists during the award season as well as reading event blogs. You will then see their job adverts.
6. Freelance - I was a freelance event assistant during my Masters for a local event agency, I worked on site at events it was often long days but the pay was really good compared to an hourly minimum wage.
7. Persevere, I probably sent off 15-20 applications before I landed my current role and the role I am in is a lot better than some of the jobs I applied for before it.
So thats it, the low down on how I got into the industry and some of my top tips I have learnt along the way. Next in the series will be my highlights from my first 6 months as an Event Manager and some of the Event Industry opportunities I have discovered along the way. So stay tuned!!