How to make yourself that person with years of industry experience?

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Seeking an event manager with years industry experience managing high profile events across a range of venues with a range of clients; we’ve all seen the job advertisements that expect the world from candidates. The events and hospitality industry is a competitive and fast paced industry where advertisements such as these are commonplace, often expecting candidates to walk through the door straight out of university or college with ten years of experience managing large teams of people.

I’m twenty one years old and have worked in the London events industry for two and a half years, I’ve been a manager for one of those years; looking at these figures I have nowhere near enough experience to be a full time event and hospitality manager and don’t fit the criteria for almost every job I apply for. However, if I was to say I have 3,500 hours of on-site event experience across over 100 event venues at 350 of the world’s most high profile events, all of a sudden that perception changes rapidly; the point I’m trying to get across is that it doesn’t take one year to get one year of industry experience.

Here are four ways you can make yourself the person that applies for the job and showcases what they can offer the industry as a young, aspirational and ambitious event professional, not just a university or college student:

Take every opportunity: Volunteering, paid or unpaid work (basically any kind of work experience) is vital to making it clear that your serious about a career in the industry. It shows any potential employer that you’re willing to put in the hours and the effort that is needed for the industry. The valuable experience you can gain through taking these opportunities makes every single one of them, paid or unpaid, worthwhile; be that the knowledge how how an event process or venue works right through to the new contacts you may meet that could potentially employ you in the future.

Never stop networking: Right from the first step you take in the events industry, try to build up your network. In the events industry more than most, building up a solid network of professional contacts is crucial. Keeping active on professional social media and looking at how your contacts have got to where they are now are two great ways to further your own event management career. No matter how you meet an event professional, whether they’re your boss, your interviewer or your friend; stay in touch with them and think both what you can offer them as well as what they can offer you.

Make yourself the brand: Personal branding is about marketing yourself and what you have to offer as an event professional to any potential employers or clients. The first and most important rule about personal branding is to be authentic; anything that doesn’t reflect your true self will more than likely catch up with you in the end, but being yourself can also give you a chance to get your real personality across to a potential employer. Selling your strengths and everything you’ve done is crucial though to creating a strong personal brand. I personally have a portfolio of every event I’ve ever worked at and every client I’ve ever worked with that I take to every interview and make available to everybody I meet, creating tools like this can be invaluable to selling yourself as a future event manager.

It’s never going to be easy: The events industry can be an exciting and non-stop industry to work in; it also however, often involves working long and unsociable hours. To progress in the industry and get yourself to a position you want to be in, you need to be prepared to work even longer and even more unsociable hours. Putting in the time and the effort to make yourself stand out from the crowd is the one thing that can truly allow you to walk into an interview that you’d otherwise not have the experience for, and truly excel and surprise your interviewer, especially if you can tell them exactly what events you’ve worked at and what makes you truly unique.

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