The event planning field offers many job opportunities, and those who are serious about careers in this field should understand what kinds of opportunities are available and how to approach possible employers.
Meeting Professionals International, a leading professional association in the business, breaks down employers into five different categories. Becoming familiar with these categories will help aspiring event planners figure out which areas are most appealing, although there are excellent opportunities within these five sectors.
Corporate Event Jobs
Corporations or businesses hire event planners to plan and oversee the strategic financial management and/or logistics of that corporation's events.
Corporate event job opportunities exist with employers in all industries, but jobs tend to be more specialized and plentiful in the pharmaceutical, consulting, medical, and technology industries, as well as the consumer packaged goods firms through event marketing agencies. Big names in corporate events include the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festival and Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.
Association and Non-Profit Event Jobs
Associations and non-profit organizations also hire event planners to oversee financial management and/or logistics. Event planner opportunities can be found in associations, association management firms, charitable organizations, chambers of commerce, convention, and visitors bureaus, and religious organizations, among others. United Way, Feeding America, and TED offer internships and full-time employment. As is the case as it pertains to resumes, these groups often carry the most weight when it comes to future employment as it shows your willingness to help others who are in need.
Government agencies and public institutions at all levels employ event planners. Event planning opportunities can be found at the city, county, state, and federal agency levels, as well as at state colleges and universities. Event planning jobs at huge schools like Arizona State University and The Ohio State University can encompass everything from athletic to alumni events. Turning a job here into a lifelong career has many advantages such as a safe retirement and medical coverage for life.
Suppliers are those organizations that sell products and services to the event planners and the organizations they represent. These organizations offer numerous job opportunities for anyone who is interested in working in the event planning field.
These kinds of job opportunities exist with hotels, restaurants, caterers, destination management companies, museums, and cultural institutions, theaters, sports venues and stadiums, audio/visual firms, florists, production companies, and convention and visitors bureaus, among others. Marriott, museums like the Seattle Art Museum, and the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau are three nationally recognized companies and organizations that offer a range of events-related career opportunities.
Event Planning Firm Jobs
Events management firms are third-party organizations that are hired to help corporations, associations, non-profits, government agencies, and other companies with event planning and execution.
Highly experienced professionals often consider establishing their own firms at some point in their careers. Larger organizations, such as BCD Meetings and Maritz Travel, and numerous boutique firms like Conway Amling, EMRG Events, and Grapevine Events exist everywhere and also offer a significant number of job opportunities at all levels of experience.