Organisation is a top, if not the top, skill for event management because event managers can be pulled in multiple directions at once.
For most event management jobs, you will be asked to submit your CV and/or a covering letter. Some employers will require you to attach them to an application form, while others will ask you to email them over. If you’re asked to email just your CV to the recruiter, it’s a good idea to also attach a covering letter (no longer than one page) as this will enable you to state exactly what it is about the role and employer that makes you want to work for them.
So, how can you make sure you impress events recruiters in particular at this stage of the process? After pointing you towards some CV and covering letter basics below, we let you in on some other simple ways to demonstrate the qualities required for work in this sector.
One: cover the basics
Event planners don’t leave any checkbox unticked or stone unturned, so show recruiters that you can get everything done that needs doing, right from your first communication with them.
For CVs, take a look at our big guide to CV writing to ensure you know exactly what to include and get an idea of how to arrange your CV. Remember to use the terminology on the job description for the role – particularly by including the same skills and aptitudes mentioned there (and backing each one up with an example of how you’ve demonstrated it).
Event managers promote events, so show that you can write in a persuasive way by selling yourself on your covering letter. Our covering letter essentials article provides you with advice on how to do this, but read the letter back to yourself and to another person to see whether you come across as truly passionate about the role.
Two: get organised
Organisation is a top, if not the top, skill for event management because event managers can be pulled in multiple directions at once. For instance, you might have a number of clients with different expectations, which you will have to manage according to what is reasonable while keeping them excited about working with you. Furthermore, a good event manager knows exactly when things need to be decided/booked/bought by, and is responsible for making it happen.
How do you show you’re an organised person? No matter how you choose to lay out your CV, ensure it makes logical sense. Recruiters won’t be impressed, for instance, if the order of your experience switches from reverse-chronological order to chronological order part-way through.
Secondly, be concise. A candidate who tries to cram words onto their CV or covering letter by knocking down their font size to eight is likely to come across as someone who has a hundred ideas but can’t quite decide which to follow through. This can waste time and money in events: event managers need to be decisive. Aside from name, contact details (for a CV) and your sign off (for a covering letter), every sentence you write should give an indication of why the employer should hire you for the role.
Three: don’t miss experience out
Of course, some experiences are more important than others: your time working as an assistant manager, for instance, will be more relevant to potential recruiters than the paper round you did while at secondary school. However, showing that you have varied experience is important, particularly if you work in a role that will see you managing many different kinds of events (eg for an event planning company).
So, on your CV, try to include a few different examples – there is no ‘perfect’ number, but between three and five could work well. Make it clear in your explanations how each example demonstrates the skills on the job description or, if you think they’re relevant for the position, on our more general event manager job description.
Don’t miss out examples such as the time you planned a family holiday or a friend’s wedding: as long as you took the lead or made an obvious contribution to planning/organising, these kinds of examples can be great at revealing your aptitude for event management.
Four: get up to date
A good event manager is commercially aware. They know what’s going on with the events industry, as well as with the specific sector they are working in (eg charity or live music). This enables them to anticipate and find solutions to challenges, source suppliers and come across as knowledgeable enough to be trusted by clients.
To get up to date, you need to do your research, around events and the specific sector, and show off some of your knowledge in your covering letter. Find websites, news stories and social media pages that are relevant and talk to people in your network who can give you up-to-date information. Take notes that you can refer back to when writing your cover letter (and, later, before an interview).
For events, you could start by talking to people in your network (eg ex-colleagues) and asking them about recent changes/developments. You might then read articles in the ‘News’ section of the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), along with other industry-specific websites. Joining LinkedIn groups such as ‘who’s who in events’ should also provide you with further information (through shared articles etc) as well as access to more professionals to network with. This article provides further ideas for using LinkedIn to benefit your graduate job search.
On your covering letter, a couple of sentences linking recent developments to your skills or interests (eg virtual events to your aptitude for IT) should be enough.
Five: give a glimpse of your creative flair
Your creativity is best reflected by writing about a time you demonstrated it. However, as this can be an important skill for event managers – particularly if the position requires you to produce promotional material or make decisions about layout and aesthetics – you might decide to hint at it through the design of your CV.
Keep in mind the importance of ensuring the CV is legible and logical. Make sure the text is in a clear font and that it’s obvious what the reader should look at first, second and so on. An easy way to add style to your CV is by using a border and choosing a theme of two or three colours that complement each other. For example, you might insert a border made up of pale and dark blue tones, and use pale blue (that’s still easy to read against a white background) for headings and dark blue for the main body of text.