The first objective of any job search is to distinguish yourself from the competition. This is especially true in the event planning industry because there's such a wide range of candidates available.
The term “event planning” can be interpreted in many different ways. It's not enough to simply say that you have experience planning events. The best resumes highlight specific abilities that portray a unique skillset. You have to dig deep into your talents if you expect to land an interview opportunity.
Forget the Objectives Portion
Employers want to know about you now, not where you want to be in five years. Don't lead off with your aspirations even though this is a commonly recommended resume section.
Use the top of the page to summarize your best accomplishments instead. Tell potential employers what you can do for them.
Clearly Define Your Past Positions
The title of your current and past positions can mean different things to different prospective employers. The daily responsibilities of an event coordinator at a convention center are significantly different from their non-profit counterparts, so don’t rely on job titles only to illustrate your skills and expertise.
Think about the positions you've held, the daily routines you established, and the accomplishments in each position. Then, translate those tasks into an accurate description of your capabilities.
Avoid going overboard with your duties and responsibilities, however. Keep them brief. Instead, try to focus on your best accomplishments in each role.
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 better.
A dinner event requires 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've 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 RSVPs. Any exposure you’ve had with marketing strategies should, therefore, be included in your resume.
If you've set up and managed an online registration system, say so. Explain that you've had success in incorporating social media into your event design. Define whether the goal of your events was to promote a product or service.
These are all examples of marketing functions that you might have overlooked. Diversify your skillset by adding them to your resume.
Illustrate the Efficiencies of Time and Expertise
There are two resources you can sell to any business on the planet: time and expertise. You will be a more viable candidate if you have demonstrated success in creating more efficient processes by using your expertise.
Highlight any event planning skills you possess that will save employers time, money, or both. Maybe you've found a way to cut food costs at an event by $3 per person, or you've implemented a new request for proposal (RFP) system that led to more sales prospects.
Achievements like these will certainly catch the eye of recruiters.
List Your Management Skills
At the end of the day, event planners are people managers. The fact that you coordinate the services of caterers, florists, and rental companies demonstrates that you can direct others toward a common goal, even if you don’t have employees who directly report to you.
Large companies hire employees with the future in mind. They want candidates who 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.
Just be sure that you don't exaggerate your skills, and truly are exceptional in the ones you've listed. Try to keep your list of skills to a manageable size, to keep from overwhelming any reviewer or creating a sense of overqualification. Listing across-the-board skills in everything can leave a potential employer wondering which skills you're actually good at.
If you have any certifications, be sure to mention them.
Embrace Your Inner Tech Loving Self
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 at least somewhat on computers and technology.
Employers know this, and they don’t want to spend precious time training a new employee in basic technology uses. List new technologies you have incorporated into your personal and professional lives that are relevant to the work to demonstrate your tech knowledge.
Describe your technology experience in detail, especially if you have a background in website management, email programs, and banquet event order (BEO) applications.
While it's great to see a resume with corporate experience, the way you present your skills will be the determining factor in attracting an employer. Find a way to put into words the skills that make you unique from other applicants.