Key Event Planning Skills to Highlight on Your Resume

Event Manager Resume Tips

Event planner standing with tablet in ballroom with tables set up for a formal dinner event

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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 Those "Objectives"

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. Keep it brief. You'll go into details later.

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 your daily routine and translate those tasks into an accurate description of your capabilities and what each position entailed.

Avoid going overboard with your duties and responsibilities, however. Keep them brief. Instead, try to focus on your biggest and best accomplishment 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 necessarily better.

The 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 to marketing strategies should therefore be included on 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 is to promote a product or service.

These are all examples of marketing functions that you might have overlooked. Diversify your skill set by adding them to your resume.

Illustrate Efficiencies of Time and Money

You can sell two resources 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.

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 RFP system that led to more sales prospects.

Achievements like these will certainly catch the eye of good companies.

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 shows 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 really are exceptionally good at the skills you've listed, and keep these, too, to a list of manageable size. Listing across-the-board skills at everything from A to Z can leave a potential employer wondering which you're genuinely good at.

And by all means, mention it if you're certified in any area.

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 at least somewhat on computers and technology.

Employers know this, and they don’t want to spend precious time training a new person in the basics. You used to be able to list your familiarity with Microsoft Word and Excel as a byline in your resume and leave it at that. Not anymore. Describe your technology experience in detail, especially if you have a background in website management, email programs, and BEO applications.

While it's great to see a resume with corporate experience, ultimately it will be your skills that get you hired and the way you present them. Find a way to put into words the skills that make you unique from other applicants. Your resume will stand out from the pack.