Internships are the best way to learn hands-on about the event planning profession while also getting a leg up on fellow aspiring planners. As this industry is steadily becoming more lucrative and popular, evidenced by the recent #1 best business career ranking in US News & World Report’s 2012 listing, breaking into the field is getting more and more difficult. Internships help set one apart from the competition while also allowing the burgeoning planner opportunities to see first-hand how the job is done right and what an average day/week/month is like in the field.
Event Planning is a job that requires loads of attention to detail, flexibility, accessibility and many small steps along the way which need the human touch in order to be handled correctly. That said, the professionals in the industry are greatly benefited by extra hands, eyes and brains to help out – and nothing beats free help. The out-of-pocket cost is zero for both the planner and the intern, but conversely the benefit is immense for both involved parties. The mentor gets to help a newbie learn all about the business while also getting some assistance by delegating work that needs to get done. Sure sometimes photocopying and coffee runs are in order, but there are so many other more important details constantly needing attention in this field that the experience is usually a fruitful one for the intern.
Typical intern duties might include researching venues, vendors, design ideas and of course actually assisting with the planning and/or running of events. Generally this type of work is done in the office or onsite, but some situations allow for it to be done from anywhere. In those cases, access to the internet and a computer would be required.
Usually interns must be at least 18 years old, have reliable transportation, and able to commit to at 3 months of work. Good organization, the ability to thrive in chaotic environments and multi-tasking are all keys to getting the internship and doing it right. In this field, flexibility is a must and that ingredient applies to interns too. This means one should be available to work on a varied schedule, including some evenings and weekends.
Volunteering is another great way to get hands-on experience in the event planning business without the structure (and school credits) of a student internship. Usually internships require that the applicant be in school, and of course not everyone trying to break in to the field will have the luxury of already being in school for it. Still there are loads of opportunities for non-students (and students alike) to also take advantage of, and the non-profit sector is a great hub for that. Non-profits and charities are always throwing events to raise money and awareness for their causes, and these are excellent opportunities for volunteering. Remember, the more experience you have in the field, the more you actually know and the more enticing you are to hire in the first place.
Internships are often unpaid, but the dividends will continue to payoff down the road when you’re the one who gets hired because you’ve got the experience to back it all up.