I have been asked several times about ways to break into the event planning and hospitality industry and how to interview for various types of positions in the industry. Event planning, coordination and hospitality service are career fields in which you have to be highly dedicated and committed. In my experience, there are a number of key elements that stand out when it comes to the variety of job seekers we have talked to over the years.
Things to keep in mind when you are interviewing for a position in the event planning industry, which can really be applied to a variety of fields:
Do your research: Know the company for which you are interviewing. Don’t just know the company name – know its personality, what events they have hosted, the ambiance of the location, what guests have said about the venue and the experience. Understand what the company stands for – you can often collect this information by a good review of the website. Be prepared when an interviewer asks the question, “What do you know about us?” Answer with certainty, breadth and depth.
Think outside the box: You are likely interested in the hospitality industry because you have a creative mind and blossoming ideas. Showcase this when speaking to potential employers. Going back to the research, pick an event that has been hosted at the venue or company’s location and talk about some new ideas you could bring to the table for that event – or event suggest other things you can do to elevate the company’s current standings. Show your appeal by utilizing the creative mind that inspires you. Don’t be afraid to share this – bursting creativity and passion are not easy to find, so ensure that you showcase this element. Be energetic and show your enthusiasm for the industry and the employer.
Gain the right experience: If you’re looking to break into the industry and don’t have relevant experience on your resume, you should start finding opportunities in which you can volunteer or give your time to use your planning and hospitality skills. This will also allow you to connect with industry professionals. To give an example in another field, if you want to be a computer technician and all of your past experience has been food service, you probably won’t appear to have the “right experience.” Another way to showcase your related experience if you do not have the experience in name alone is to discuss and share the elements of your previous jobs that are related to what you’re interested in pursuing. For example, if you worked as a customer service representative, but volunteered to plan all of the office parties, this role and its surrounding responsibilities are perfect elements to showcase when pursuing a career in event planning.
There are myriad ways to highlight your talents and put your best foot forward. The above are key for many industries and may seem common sense, but are not always commonly practiced. Make sure you have these on your list for your future aspirations. Now, go do what you need to do to get there!