Saturday, 17 September 2011

Looking for an Event Job?

Happy Saturday everyone! It looks like fall has finally hit Vancouver. It was a rather quick switch. I swear one day is was 25 degrees and the next it was 15. Ah well! Time to put on my sweater and scarf :)

Over the past while, as a few of my readers know, I have been looking for full time work as an event professional. During this process I have learned and applied a variety of job search strategies. Because it is in my nature, I want to help others find their event dream job as well :)

So without further ado, here are my event job search strategies:
Use LinkedIn, Often. If you don't have a LinkedIn account, get one, seriously. It is basically the professional version of Facebook. You create a profile and provide a professional summary, your work experience and skills. You can also have past colleagues write recommendations for you. LinkedIn is a great way to develop your network, keep in touch with your friends/colleagues and develop opportunities. You can join a variety of event-related groups, follow a wide range of employers and search for jobs. Employers will also often review your LinkedIn profile when they are considering you for a position.

Volunteer. A great way to get more event experience and skills and potentially develop career opportunities is to volunteer for an event organization or acquire a volunteer position. Volunteering shows that you want to give back to the community and provide support. Don't count on this 100%, but volunteering could also lead to future career opportunities. is a great website that lists a ton of volunteer jobs (lots of event related ones) in BC and Alberta.

Join Event Associations. There are various event associations out there to join - Canadian Special Events Society (CSES), International Special Events Society (ISES), Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Being a part of these associations will allow you to take part in a variety of events where you can network with other event professionals, promote yourself and potentially find an event job. You also have access marketing opportunities, education and professional development and other event-related resources.

Contact Event Businesses. I know this may seem scary to some, but it's probably a good idea to contact event businesses either by phone or email. Let them know who you are, what you can offer and if they need any help. I approached Alicia Keats Weddings + Events and asked if they needed help and I ended up getting a part time job! You never know what doors will open unless you take the chance and go for it. Please keep in mind that a number of businesses won't get back to you, that is just the reality. Don't let that discourage you though :)

Develop a blog. A great way to promote yourself is to create a blog. Discuss topics that you are an expert on. Show people what you can offer them. 

Use Twitter/Facebook. A lot of people don't realize that social media can be used to help find them an event job. Like/follow employers that you want to work for. Make interesting tweets/posts that show you are an event expert/are looking for career opportunities in the event industry. A word of caution though - be careful what you say. Try to not talk negatively about any employers because they will read your profiles. Actually, try not to post anything negative at all. Not only is it a downer to all your readers but potential employers aren't really attracted to people who complain/are negative all the time.

Network. Attending a networking event can be scary (especially if you know no one there) but it is a great way to promote yourself and meet new people. I would definitely not go into a networking event thinking that you will get a job offer, however, because 9 times out of 10 it won't happen. Job opportunities typically happen after you have developed a relationship with someone you have met, after you have shown them what you can offer them. Networking may be something that is outside of your comfort zone but seriously, it is worth doing.

Tell all your Friends/Colleagues/Family. This may seem obvious but let your whole network know that you are actively looking for an event position. This way they will keep an eye out for you.

Job Search Engines. This is kind of a given and probably something that you are already doing but definitely look at a variety of job search engines everyday. Charity Village, Eluta, Indeed and Wow are good places to start.

If you have any other job search strategies that you want to share please feel free to leave a comment.

-Shira :)


Diana said...

Thank you Shira for these tips, great as usual!
I also realised that without experience, even volunteering, shadowing or co-op seems to be very difficult to get a job as events-coord..

ShiraG said...

Diana - very very true! :)

Diana said...

Shira, I'm preparing for an event coord test with Emerit certified occupations. Could you, please asvise any tools (book, website..) that could be helpful for me to prepare for the test?
I got one workbook from Emerit, but it seems that it's not enough..
Thank you!

ShiraG said...

Hi Diana,

This I'm not sure on. I have never taken this test before. Maybe do some google searches and find out what other people did to prepare?