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How can I get started as an event planner in the Bay Area?

I just graduated as a Communication Studies Major and I’m trying to get into the industry, but when I ask the local agencies for positions they’re all full.

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Jerel’s Answer

Hi Wren and thank you for your question. It's great to hear that you're interested in event planning as a career. Event planning is definitely a fun and rewarding field, and I'm glad to hear that you're interested in pursuing it in the Bay Area.

It's great that you've already reached out to local agencies for positions, but if they're all full, don't worry! There are still other ways to get your foot in the door. One option is to look for internships or entry-level positions at smaller event planning firms or non-profit organizations. These experiences can help you build your skills and network, and may eventually lead to a position at a larger agency.

Another option is to offer your event planning services on a freelance or volunteer basis. You could reach out to local community organizations or non-profits to see if they need help planning events, or even plan your own events to build your portfolio and gain experience.

Networking is also key in the event planning industry, so be sure to attend industry events and connect with professionals in the field through LinkedIn or other platforms. You could also consider joining a professional organization, such as the International Live Events Association or the Event Planners Association, to connect with other event planners and stay up-to-date on industry trends and opportunities.

Finally, don't give up on applying for positions at local agencies. Even if they don't have any current openings, it's always worth reaching out and letting them know you're interested in working with them. Sometimes, agencies will create positions for talented and passionate individuals, so keep putting yourself out there and showing your enthusiasm for the industry.

I hope these tips help you get started as an event planner in the Bay Area. Best of luck to you!
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Charli’s Answer

Hi Wren!

I worked in the San Jose area as an event manager for a few years. I would suggest looking into non-profits for event coordinator roles or even development operations/philanthropy/programs roles as they are most often largely focused on event planning. You could also look into the philanthropy teams at larger corporations. I am currently working at Salesforce as a program manager coordinating employee volunteer events with non-profits around the world.

If you are hoping to get into a more specific type of event planning like weddings as an example you will definitely need a portfolio of events you have planned or supported as Jerel mentioned in his comment!

Best of luck!

Charli recommends the following next steps:

Look into non-profits for event planning opportunities
Start small to build your portfolio
Volunteer to support events to gain experience in the industry
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