The main objective in any job search is to distinguish yourself from the competition. This is especially true in the event planning industry because there are such a wide range of candidates. I’ve talked before about the fact that the term “event planning” can be interpreted in many different ways. It is not enough to say you have experience planning events. The best resumes highlight specific abilities that portray a unique skill set. You need to really dig into your talents if you expect to land an interview opportunity.
Clearly Define Your Past Positions
Again, the title of your current and past positions can mean different things to each prospective employer. The daily responsibilities of an event coordinator at a convention center are significantly different from their non-profit counterparts. Don’t rely on job titles to illustrate your skills and expertise. Think about your daily routine and translate those tasks into an accurate description of your capabilities.
Quantify Group and Budget Sizes
Planning a dinner event for 100 guests is obviously not the same as planning a trade show with 5,000 attendees. But don’t make the assumption that bigger is necessarily better. The dinner event requires a greater attention to individual needs, while a trade show involves more cost control strategies. The important thing is to assign an actual number to the group sizes and budget parameters you have worked with. This will provide your prospective employer with a clearer picture of what to expect from you.
Add Any Marketing Experience
Just about every event has a marketing function or purpose attached to it. Even weddings need proper promotion to attract RSVP’s. The point is any exposure you’ve had to marketing strategies should be included on your resume. Have you setup and managed an online registration system? Did you have success incorporating social media into your event design? Was the goal of your events to promote a product or service? These are all examples of marketing functions that you may have overlooked. Diversify your skill set by adding them to your resume.
Illustrate Efficiencies of Time and Money
There are two resources that you can sell to every business on the planet – time and money. Anyone who has demonstrated success in creating more efficient processes in these areas will always be a viable candidate. What does this mean for you? Highlight event planning skills you have that will save employers time, money, or both. Perhaps you found a way to food costs at an event by $3 per person, or maybe you implemented a new RFP system that led to more sales prospects. Achievements like this will certainly catch the eye of good companies.
List Your Management Skills
At the end of the day, event planners are people managers. Even if you don’t have employees that report to you, the fact that you coordinate the services of caterers, florists and rental companies shows you can direct others towards a common goal. Large companies hire employees with the future in mind. They want candidates that display growth potential. Think about every aspect of your current job that involves working with people and consider what management skills are required in those relationships. This should help you brainstorm ways to illustrate your managerial attributes.
Embrace Your Tech Side
The event planning industry is fully immersed in technological innovation. From event management software to audio/visual stage enhancements, you’d be hard-pressed to find an event that doesn’t rely on computers and technology. Employers know this, and they don’t want to spend precious time training a new person on the basics. It used to be that we would list our familiarity with Microsoft Word and Excel as a byline in our resumes. Now though, you should describe your technology experience in detail, especially if you have a background in website management, email programs and BEO applications.
The purpose of this article is to help you understand the difference between event planning skills from the actual positions you’ve held. While it is great to see a resume with corporate experience, ultimately it will be your skills that get you hired. What are you capable of doing that is unique from other applicants? Find a way to put it all into words to make your resume stand out from the pack.