6 Ways to Break Into Corporate Event Planning

There are many career planning careers in the corporate world. While marketing and event management jobs focus on the most common corporate events (seminars, conferences, trade shows and appraisal events). To keep your employees connected and engaged, you don’t need to spend gobs of money and time, just a simple staff lunches will make them feel good.

If you look at non-traditional career paths, however, make sure your job involves event planning. While some administrative assistants (for example) spend a good percentage of their time managing travel, setting up lunches, and handling logistics, others spend most of their time keeping notes and purchasing orders.

01 – Meeting management

For those who want to work 100% of the time on corporate event affairs, meeting management department is the clear path.

Individuals in the area contract out services and manage housing, food and beverage, transportation, A / V, and other expenses. These jobs are often part of the purchasing department, so cost management causes a lot of decisions. Common job titles include:

  • Meeting Planner
  • Travel Coordinator
  • Meeting Assistant

02 – Office Support

Administrative support staff can manage event responsibilities, schedule and execute department and client meetings, handle travel arrangements and more. They can also work with external hospitality vendors, track external service budgets, and more.

Focusing on strong organizational skills, many event planners start their way here and transfer to other event planning roles. Some administrative jobs are more likely than others to offer planning opportunities, so ask questions before getting such a job in the hope that you will gain experience with event planning.

Common job titles that include this type of job include:

  • Assistant Administrator
  • Executive Assistant
  • Senior Administrative Assistant

03 – Marketing and Sales

If an organization is driven by sales or marketing, the business scope of any company coordinates most events, especially smaller meetings. For marketers, the emphasis is on investing returns on event value instead of cost management.

Most organizations recognize the value of face-to-face activities and this has led to a greater focus on client seminars, conferences, evaluation events and more. Often, people with new job titles are required to plan and / or manage events:

  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Meeting / Event Manager
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Product specialist

04 – Communications

The multi-corporate communications department is responsible for “brand” management. It focuses on business communications, internal communications, advertising, community relations, media relations, sponsorships and more.

Although event planning is not the primary focus, activities that include events can include creating a presence for media events, trade shows, mobile marketing, sponsorships, employee meetings, and so on.

  • Communications Specialist
  • Advertising Coordinator / Assistant Assistant
  • Public Relations Specialist

05 – Education and Training

The Human Resources Department in many corporations is responsible for planning and executing a range of meetings, programs and educational events. These may include corporate training programs for new employees, field office training, employee development, and annual employee training. Depending on the corporation and the specific type of training, events can include travel, site arrangements, meal planning and more. In many cases, people who create training events have titles such as:

  • Training Assistant
  • Training Specialist
  • Corporate Trainer
  • Training Manager

06 – Corporate Foundation

The corporate foundation is a great resource for jobs at events and probably one of the most neglected areas. A corporate foundation job can be a haven for an event planner.

Positions within the foundation can allow you to represent the business by working closely with nonprofits and community organizations. Events are likely to range from small planning sessions to large-scale celebrations, field events, formal dinners, and even gala. As a result, people who help plan foundation events may need to choose locations, create entertainment, work with suppliers, and manage logistics. Some such positions may include:

  • Foundation Specialist
  • Program Manager
  • Foundation Assistant

Skills you need to become an Event Planner

You do not need a background in event planning to get started, but the qualities of a good event planner may include:

  • organization
  • flexibility
  • creativity
  • Business acumen
  • Budgeting
  • Customer service
  • Multi-tasking and thinking on your feet
  • Communication

How to Get Started as an Event Planner

Starting a career as an event planner can feel rewarding at first. It often feels like there is so much to know and so little time to learn it all. However, with an action plan and taking small steps each week, you will soon have the skills and knowledge you need to succeed as an event planner.

Pay attention to the details of issues, as an event planner, so plan your move in event planning the same way you would plan your next event – with a plan and a strategy.

Here are the steps to get started:

  • Donate your time with a nonprofit or other business such as a hotel, florist, event planner or other event planner.
  • If you are already planning events at another event or design company, move to a position of authority and take on more responsibilities. Showing your value and knowledge is often as simple as asking the event manager for more work or responsibility.
  • Get there and network. Join associations like Meeting Planners International or the International Association of Special Events, for example. The more people you know and the more relationships you develop in the industry, the easier it is to build your event planning career.
  • Create an event portfolio to showcase your expertise and knowledge.
  • In addition to developing relationships with other event planners, network with vendors or external partners, such as suppliers, musicians or media personalities, to increase your exposure and circle of influence.