Top Tips for Newbies Entering the Events Industry
Updated: Aug 9
This post was written for Event First Steps by Manisha Maju.
After graduating in 2018, I felt like a lost child in a desert. Being in education for years and then trying to find a job, figure out which industry to work in and know how to stand out in a competitive market seemed incredibly difficult.
There are so many expectations and a pressure to find your ideal job immediately, but the truth is EVERYONE is unsure on how to make this transition into their first events job. No newbie really knows where this first job will be and even if they do, so many unpredictable things can happen which can affect our job search. A prime example being COVID19 - need I say more...
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and I definitely learnt a few helpful ways to find employment successfully and widen my network, which I wanted to share with others who now find themselves looking for their first events role in these unprecedented times.
1. Work shadowing
Work shadowing can help expand your network and make new contacts, which can really benefit you in the future. I took many opportunities to shadow a few event companies and it’s a brilliant way to see how event professionals deal with day-to-day tasks. The experience made me think about how I could implement my skills and knowledge in a job, and also gave an opportunity to ask any burning questions about working in the events industry. Do a quick search of some local companies and drop them an email to see if they are willing to offer you some work shadowing opportunities.
Expanding your network is crucial in this industry and I would really encourage you to take every opportunity to do so. You never know who you could meet and how useful they could be in your career. There are so many ways to network, such as connecting with people over LinkedIn, social media and attending events - there are a lot advertised on Eventbrite and they are really fun to go to.
3. Get in touch with your old university or college
I would really advise to get back in touch with them, they are there to give you a helping hand even though you may no longer be a ‘student’... they always want to to help their alumni succeed! I was very fortunate to have a fantastic careers and employability department at the University of Hertfordshire, who helped me a lot after graduating. They were constantly advertising many jobs and networking opportunities.
4. Social Media
Connect with as many people as you can through LinkedIn. It’s a great way to follow some inspiring event companies and keep up to date with the industry. There are also a lot of great articles to read and courses to complete that will boost your CV. Be sure to keep your profile professional and keep it up to date with your skills, employment and education. It’s a brilliant tool to search for jobs and find graduate schemes too.
For any creative or marketing minds out there, use Pinterest for inspiration, you never know where these ideas could help you in your career! I've used images gathered on my Pinterest boards in so many different situations - including job interviews.
5. Try, try, try again!
There is so much competition out there, especially after the events of the past year. Searching, applying and interviewing for jobs can be challenging, it’s also very demotivating when you are turned down from a job you really want. I definitely experienced a lot of this after graduating and worried that employers didn’t want the hassle of training someone with little experience. But, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the first few jobs you apply for, and most importantly don’t ever give up. The one thing you have to remember is that you have a whole set of skills, knowledge and qualifications to offer. There are numerous opportunities out there and there can be many reasons why you did not get the job. It just takes time and patience to find them, so keep trying and I promise you the right opportunity will come your way.
6. Setting SMART goals
I believe SMART goal setting is a crucial tool that will support your success in many areas of life, you just need to keep it simple and set yourself small goals to help structure your time. However, the word SMART is key in this, as you need to ensure that your goals are realistic and measurable, so you are more likely to achieve them. It could be as simple as completing three job applications a week, picking two articles to read about the industry to boost your knowledge or attending one networking event per month. This will help structure your time and highlight areas of improvement. It can also show employers that you have remained motivated and productive even during challenging times.
7. Voluntary work
If you can afford to do so, voluntary work is a great way to gain some practical experience. It is brilliant having the academic knowledge, but I would say that nearly all employers love to see that you have got some practical experience. Even a days worth can help develop your skills, demonstrate your willingness to learn and widen your network. It could also be a useful technique to find employment, as many voluntary jobs could turn into paid work, if you make a really good impression.
10. Sign up to freelance sites
I signed up to a few whilst being looking for full time contract work, and a lot of one off home-based jobs were advertised. This could range from developing marketing material for companies, admin work, email marketing or creating event stationary for small start ups. You could easily put these small jobs on your CV and before you know it, they can all add up and help showcase you skills set.
A few helpful freelancing sites I would recommend are
Finally - I wanted to say that Event First Steps is a great resource in itself (not just saying that)! I remember in my final year when Elena and Priya came to a lecture to talk about Event First Steps. If I am really honest with you, I was not planning to attend that 9am lecture, as it was an incredibly cold, horrible morning. However, I am SO GLAD that I stayed disciplined and went in. They have been a huge help especially with their online webinars, useful website resources and helpful tips posted on social media. It’s so refreshing to know that industry professionals are willing to help graduates and it’s incredibly eye opening to learn from their experiences and knowledge. If you haven’t already, sign up to the newsletter and make sure you follow Event First Steps on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn- they are always happy to point you in the right direction.
If you have any further questions or want some more advice, feel free connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook.