When you’re writing your CV it’s very easy to get hung up on your skill set. Having the skills to do your exhibition, experiential or events management job - leadership; customer service; resilience; good work ethic; communication, time management, creative thinking, strategic and analytic thinking – is undoubtedly important you also need to have the right attitude to get the job. Some would even go as far as to say that the right attitude is more important because skills can be taught but attitudes can’t.
Attention to detail
There needs to be someone who spots the minor issues before they blow up into major headaches. A lot of event management is knowing who to delegate tasks to – but you need to have a keen eye and desire for perfection that ensures that nothing falls into the gaps between tasks and doesn’t get organised. You need to have the attitude that if it’s important it needs double checking and if it’s not important it still needs to be double checked anyway.
If event managers didn’t have positive attitudes, then nothing would ever get done. You need to be the sort of person that responds to a challenge with “When can I start?” rather than “It’ll never work”. Big events can seem like mind-boggling mountains of work to climb so you need to look for ways up!
Confidence with good interpersonal skills
You’re going to be talking to a lot of different people from sound systems engineers who’ll respond with a baffling amount of technical jargon about double sub-woofers to wine merchants expecting you to know your Riesling from your Beaujolais. You’re also going to have to keep everyone hard at work when deadlines are looming. And for all of that you need innate confidence. Confidence that you can do it and confidence to let everyone know you can.
Passionate, enthusiastic and energetic
Events management is a vocational occupation. You have to want to organise. You have to find happiness in plans running like clockwork and measure yourself against the satisfaction of others. And you need to have the energy and drive to get, not only yourself but potentially a huge staff of catering, technical, security and entertainment staff on board. Show recruiters your love for the job and you’ll come across has to have an excellent attitude to work.
Creative, innovative and flexible
You need to have the ideas to make your events really pop but you also need to use that creativity and innovation to work out novel solutions to problems as the arise. And whilst we hope that everything goes to plan we know that your amazing ideas can’t always be translated into reality when boring details like ceiling height and health and safety are brought into the picture, so you need to be flexible enough to work with what you’ve got and change your plans to fit.
Pride in your work
In events management you’re judged on your work, so you need to take pride in what you do. Talk about previous successful exhibitions and mention how many satisfied attendees there were. Get out that stack of testimonials about how well it went and polish off your social media thank-yous.
If you’re in charge of an event – even if it’s just a small meeting for a few delegates – you need to be happy to lead.
You need to know what you’re doing and be able to get everyone else on board with your vision of how the event is going to go. You need to have leadership skills but in order to obtain those skills, you need to have a natural desire to be at the top of the pack.
Organised and on time
The world divides into naturally organised people and those who have to work hard at it. Whichever you are naturally you need to ensure that you come across as one of the organised pack. Time is of the essence as you’ll have immovable deadlines by which time everything needs to be perfect and ready, so your attitude needs to be focused on how to fit the work done into the time available and not on leaving everything to the last minute.
A genuine smile
Smiling at clients, delegates – and recruiters – is part of the job but whilst it’s easy enough to lift the corners of your mouth it’s the real smiles that win recruiters over.
They want someone with a naturally bouncy and happy personality who will bring enthusiasm and passion to their work. And the best way to gauge that is by your smile so make sure you smile and make sure it’s genuine.