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How do I get started in event planning ?

I’m in high school and about to graduate. I want to get started in my career as soon as I possibly can.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Craig’s Answer

Dear Kayla,

Choosing a career in the hospitality industry is both fascinating and invigorating. This field is filled with rewarding opportunities and unique experiences. Of course, it also comes with its own set of challenges, such as long working hours, high-demanding clients, and complex organizational needs. But remember, every worthwhile endeavor comes with its own set of hurdles.

To get a real feel for the job, I recommend spending some time observing event planners in action. Start from the very beginning: watch how they seek out opportunities, understand client needs, and formulate appropriate responses.

Ensure you select an event planner who operates in an area that piques your interest. The range and scale of events you could be planning are vast. It could be anything from planning someone's birthday party, organizing a wedding, or even coordinating a concert for tens of thousands of enthusiastic attendees.

Start small and be realistic. The basic principles of event planning remain the same, regardless of the event's size. What differs is the level of complexity, the potential outcomes, and the scale of the event.

Best wishes,
Craig
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Aliyah’s Answer

Event Planning is such a broad field. At your age there are many entry level positions to gain exposure to the field not only for experience but also networking for future opportunities.
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Lisa’s Answer

The food service and catering industries are excellent starting points due to their fast pace and potential for flexible scheduling. These sectors offer numerous job opportunities, and it's crucial to gain experience from various roles to effectively manage your team. Understanding the responsibilities and challenges of each role you oversee is key.

In the process, you'll discover your preferences, whether you lean more towards marketing or operations. Perhaps you'll find that you're more comfortable behind the scenes rather than being front and center. Or maybe you prefer the planning aspect over the execution.

Hotels also provide a valuable avenue for gaining experience. They offer insights into customer service and relationship management, teaching you how to handle customer interactions effectively.

Ultimately, creating an exceptional customer experience is the most critical aspect of successful event planning. This is what you should strive for, as it can significantly impact your effectiveness in the field.
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Sylvia’s Answer

Hi.
I actually enrolled in my local tech school and studied Event Management. While there were about 4 adult students in the class, including myself, the other 20 students were high school age.
There was a program designed for the h.s students to attent their regular classes for half the day and the othe half at the tech school. I thought it was great idea.
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Amy’s Answer

Event Planning has such a wide array of tasks involved. At your age there are many entry level positions to gain exposure to the field not only for experience but also networking for future opportunities. There are several degrees in college that could further your career option in the field of event planning such as a bachelors degree in Meeting and Event Management, Hospitality, Marketing or even Public Relations. Good luck!
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Pamela’s Answer

When I was first graduated from college, I requested informational interviews with local companies. It was a great way to ask questions and get a feel for the industry. I also participated in a few internships when I was still in college and found them to be hugely helpful. Event managers don't have to work in the hospitality industry, I plan meetings and events for a large technology company.
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Monique’s Answer

Hi Kayla, I hope this finds you well.

As it has already been stated, event planning is such a broad field, and you don't necessarily have to be in the hospitality industry to work in this field. My first suggestion would be to research the different subsection of the field (private, non-profit, corporate, conference, government, weddings). Connect with event planners on LinkedIn (as well as in your area) to request informational interviews to gain firsthand knowledge. Once you know the one you are most passionate about, check out Indeed for job posting so that you can see the skill requirements. Keep in mind that you do not need a degree for event planning, but a degree is always a plus. Also, research software certifications such as Cvent.

Good Luck.
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Leona’s Answer

Hi Kayla! I recommend beginning with volunteer opportunities in the event planning realm. I would look into the specific industry you are most interested in, such as the music industry, wedding planning industry, or hoteling industry; and then, would look for open volunteer positions and/or reach out to organizations asking if there are any internship/volunteer opportunities. The best way to learn/prepare for a career in event planning is through real-life experience, so it is great you are wanting to get started so early! After you have gained experience, it will be much easier to find paid opportunities in your desired event planning industry. Also, if you plan to get an undergraduate degree in event planning, real-life experience helps further your foundation for your classes.
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