If you are interested in trade show employment opportunities and working in the event management industry, you need to seize every chance you can get for hands-on experience and skill-based education. Successful conference planners and tradeshow managers share the following skills and abilities.
So where do you begin if you have never been involved in conference planning or event management?
Contacting Industry Professionals
The best way to help determine if you are suited for trade show and conference positions is to talk with event managers, show coordinators and conference staff to learn as much as you can about what they do.
Target three or four professionals with whom you’d like to speak. Call them and introduce yourself.
Explain that you are considering a career in event management, trade shows or conference planning and would appreciate just a few minutes of their time (on the phone or in person) to hear their perspectives on the industry.
When you speak with them, ask how they got into the industry and seek advice on how you can do the same. See if they are willing to let you "shadow" them for a day or two to get an inside look at what happens on a day-to-day basis. Always follow-up with thank you notes to these individuals for their time and advice.
Volunteer to help plan and implement events and conferences sponsored by non-profit association and clubs. This will enable you to hone your skills and be able to highlight them when interviewing for trade show employment opportunities.
Offer your services to area museums, convention and visitors bureaus and your city’s chamber of commerce. These organizations give you opportunities to learn and contribute, as well as make networking contacts for future job possibilities.
A college education is always important to any professional position. While a degree in hospitality management or a similar field will be to your advantage, expert writing and speaking capabilities are invaluable to your career success.
Learning how to think critically, creatively solve problems, and organize projects and initiatives are essential skills to make you a key candidate for trade show employment opportunities.
In addition, an advanced degree can improve your job prospects immensely. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is a notable option because it will provide you with skills necessary to succeed in real-world business situations, including the trade show industry. Earning an MBA shows prospective employers that you have the advanced skills that trade show organizers seek.
An increasing number of people now work towards their undergraduate and graduate degrees online, since many online universities are AACSB-accredited and offer the same education as on-campus schools, while offering increased flexibility.
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