University life is hectic. Trying to balance your degree, part time jobs, internships and social life whilst desperately catching a quick nap in between lectures- it’s easy to let things slip through the cracks. Missed an early morning seminar or two after a heavy student night? Didn’t make it to the guest lecture because no one would cover your shift at work? We’ve all been there. However, some aspects of your Events Management degree are vital to ensure a smooth transition from student to event professional. The following 5 points are easily achievable things I missed out during my course which have lead to unwanted aggro in my work life.
1. Learn how to produce accurate financial accounts for events
Finance is not the most riveting area of any Events Management degree. You may understand the basics but that doesn’t mean you enjoy producing financial reports for your own projects. During group work you avoid doing any finance and instead focus on the areas you are good at. This seems like a solid plan, however in your career, you will at some point and in some capacity, be in charge of managing event budgets and producing accurate accounts. It’s much easier to learn by doing, so take charge of the finances for your next live event project or ask if you can manage the budget at your next work placement. Get used to producing reports now so you don’t freak out when given the task in your new job.
2. Learn how to use Excel properly
I hate Excel. During my degree I completely avoided using it. I used Word and created tables for everything. But no matter what event company you are working in or what role you have, you will need Excel. Whether you are creating a volunteer schedule for a local festival, producing a supplier database for an internship or managing the budget for a corporate event, Excel will make all your tasks more efficient and precise. Save yourself the sheer panic, frantic Googling and anger at your younger self and just learn it now. An additional tip, depending on your role and event sector, it’s useful to know how to use Photoshop, Indesign, Keynote and of course, Power Point. These extra skills will enable you to help out on different projects and show that you are versatile and well rounded.
3. Learn how to research well
Most event roles will include a large amount of research. This could include compiling a range of catering options, looking for cheaper suppliers, venue hunting, comparing the best entertainment, researching new trends and developments, the list is endless. Simply typing keywords into Google is not enough. Find out the best way of gaining information for your sector. For example, are there any database websites that list multiple venues? (Venue Hub, Hong Kong) Are there any blogs that discuss current event trends? (Check out industry blogs like EventMB and discussions on LinkedIn Groups) Are there any companies that supply multiple types of entertainment so that you can generate ideas and compare performers? (Scarlett Entertainment Global is great.) Keep useful websites in your bookmarks so you can access them quickly. Research can take up valuable time, learn how to research well so you can be efficient and thorough in your work.
4. Complete internships in event planning instead of live events
Throughout your degree you may volunteer at multiple live events but the majority of events management is planning. Planning a large scale event or multiple events takes time. Sitting in an office all day everyday is much harder than it looks. At university you can work wherever you want, coffee shops, the library, your best friend’s house, you can work at whatever time suits you, more productive at 3am? No problem. You can work in your PJs and go for a drink when you hit a wall. Moving into the working world can be completely draining. Get some real ‘9-5’ event planning experience to prepare you and build up your stamina. As an additional bonus, some employers will look more favourably at your CV if you have office based experience as you will transition into the working world more smoothly and require less guidance.
5. Research the basic roles and day-to-day life of different event jobs
Events management is vast. The industry stretches across multiple sectors and encompasses hundreds of event related roles. The daily tasks of an Event Coordinator for a music festival are different to that of an Event Manager for a venue. The roles and responsibilities for a corporate Events Director are different to that of a Party Planner. Although event positions are similar and require the same key skills, the day-to-day life can be completely different depending on your role and event sector. Complete work placements and internships, buy a coffee for an event professional and ask questions. Have a firm idea of what you want to do before jumping into your job search or else you may end up working in a position that isn’t right for you.
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Completing these 5 steps will help you become more prepared for moving into the world of professional events management and motivate you learn any key skills or useful information that you missed during your degree.