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How to Get a Job as a Meeting, Convention and Event Planner

"Back in the day, event planners usually had degrees in communications or public relations," says Shea, who's been event planning for SXSW for 25 years. "But anyone could be a planner if they have enough brass to make spur-of-the-moment decisions that impact thousands of attendees." Shea says certain degree programs teach the basics of contract negotiations, scheduling, risk management and insurance – any or all of which can help you lock down an internship.

Interview Questions Submitted by Real Event Planners

"What relevant event planning experiences do you have?" - Red Cross Event Planner Candidate (Location Unknown)

"How does work effect your personal life?" - madivents Meeting Planner Candidate (Location Unknown)

"If you won the lottery tomorrow what would be your first impulse purchase?" - Red Frog Events Event Planner Candidate (Chicago, IL)

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility good Above Average
Stress Level poor Above Average
Flexibility fair Average

What is the Job Like?

"For 51 weeks, [event planning is] like building a bungee-jump tower out of toothpicks. Tedious and demanding," Shea says. "On week 52, you climb to the top and tie the bungee to your ankle and hope everything holds. Then you dust yourself off and start all over again." Shea says the job involves a lot of "tight-wire walking" because the most minute details can turn a success into a disaster (and vice versa), all while operating in the spotlight. "I've seen plenty of tears over the years, but every planner deals with the stress differently," he says. "You don't have to be a genius to succeed in the job, but you have to thrive under pressure and actually love the challenge."

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Last updated by Kimberly Castro.

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