Conference News April 2018 - Page 66

66 Last Word What employers are really looking for IACC benefi ts Every year thousands of graduates fl ood the jobs market, yet many employers believe most go about their job search the wrong way. Now, 19 senior event professionals have collaborated on a guide aiming to give job- seekers a greater insight into what employers are really looking for. Become an Event Planner: Secrets for Getting Hired from Employers, Recruiters, and Event Professionals by Matthew James (Plan B Publishing), contains insights from employers from the industry’s key sectors, including Jack Morton Worldwide, George P. Johnson, Apple, Linklaters, Credit Suisse and UBM. he new book addresses common mistakes made by job-seekers and is part of a larger career-guide website: www. which outlines some of the realities of a career in event planning, by way of fi rst-hand accounts by eventprofs. Employers quoted in the book agree that some of the most common mistakes made by job-seekers is making ‘cold’ approaches to potential employers and emailing in CV’s hoping that someone will just provide an opportunity. What many fail to understand is that getting hired in the events industry often comes down to networking and personal relationships, the authors claim. The vast majority of jobs are, of course, never advertised, but fi lled by word-of-mouth recommendations. The book urges those that do get through the door to experience to ensure they make a positive impression on site. This book is a refreshing resource in that it doesn’t offer career advice for event newbies while stealthily making a pitch to sell event courses. Employer frustration Employers are often frustrated at what is on offer on college courses and a common cry is that job- seekers need to do far more preparation before approaching them for work experience or entry-level positions. Seeing how a candidate can think on their feet and react to situations — especially when something is going wrong, whether they have the confi dence to take control and lead, the ability to think laterally, demonstrate initiative, are all of more interest to employers. Yet “Event manage- ment degrees are useful, but are not part of the hiring criteria for us.” Fiona Lawlor, HR director, Jack Morton Worldwide these skills and qualities can be diffi cult to communicate on a CV. The book also examines whether event management degrees are the most appropriate training, given the cost involved for most wishing to enter the industry via this route. There are tips and advice on taking a more strategic approach to getting a start. Job seekers are urged to focus on developing relationships and consider taking any on-site support role they can fi nd and display a ‘can do’ and fl exible attitude. The authors also advise engaging at every opportunity and building up a professional social network. Most importantly, job-seekers are advised to do something to get noticed, and later leverage the warm contacts to enquire about entry-level positions. “This ‘back door’ approach is a far more effective way to get on a potential employer’s radar than just sending out CV’s to someone who’s never met you,” the book’s author advises. Topics covered in Matthew James’ (above) Become an Event Planner include: EXPERIENCE • What kind of experience are employers looking for on your CV • How to get that experience when starting from scratch • How to use volunteer experience to impress employers • How you should, and shouldn’t, approach employers for work experience SKILLS & QUALITIES • The attitude and approach you need to take • The personal qualities that employers are looking for • The core skills that employers are looking for you to demonstrate