Before the onset of COVID-19, the event industry was booming. Each day, trade shows, conferences, and corporate meetings took place. Sports fans eagerly attended their favorite teams’ games and music festivals drew massive crowds from across the country.
In one fell swoop, COVID-19 shut down live events for the foreseeable future. Event planners were forced to postpone or cancel everything on the books and event safety started to hold a greater meaning. A previously thriving industry was placed into temporary hibernation.
To make things worse, no one knows exactly how long it will be until live events can take place again.
Event Employees Out of Work
Due to this economic shutdown, many event planners are now out of work. If you’re one of them, you’re probably wondering how to find a new job during the pandemic. In this article, you will learn how to find a pandemic-proof position by adapting to the current market conditions and embracing the rise of virtual event planning.
How Has COVID-19 Impacted the Event Industry?
It’s difficult to throw an event with social distancing measures in place. As a result, the event industry has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. To assess the current industry climate, PCMA conducted a survey of 1,776 event planners regarding their experience of the pandemic on April 1st. Here’s what they had to say:
- 87% said they’ve had to cancel events.
- 66% said they’ve chosen to postpone events.
- 61% said they’re still deciding whether to cancel or postpone an event.
With so many events being disrupted, many event planners are either out of work or fearing for their job security. Just take a look at these statistics:
- 43% of event planners said their employment has been affected.
- 12% of event planners said their salary has been reduced.
- 6% of event planners said they’ve had to lay off members of their team.
Despite these troubling numbers, virtual events offer a temporary solution to the problems facing the event industry. 70% of survey respondents said they’ve already transformed an in-person event into a virtual event.
What to Expect Going Forward
Even though the status of COVID-19 changes day-to-day, event professionals are doing their best to predict what the future looks like for their industry. Will people be eager to attend events once they’re allowed to again? Or will fear of the virus linger long into the future?
Here’s what the PCMA survey respondents predict:
- 48% believe that people will be too hesitant to travel.
- 27% believe that people will have a pent-up demand for live events.
- 25% responded “other.”
As you can see, nearly half of event planners predict that event attendance will remain low due to travel anxiety. Others believe people are craving in-person connections more than ever, causing them to long for live events. Only time will tell which prediction is true.
The Growth Trajectory of the Event Industry
While no one knows exactly what the future holds, it is certain that the event industry was growing steadily before the pandemic. Even though COVID-19 has caused a temporary interference in this growth, the upward trend will likely return once the virus dies down.
This means that event jobs are still valuable and available, giving hope to event planners seeking employment.
Resources For Event Professionals to Find Job During COVID-19
Of the 26 million event professionals worldwide, many find themselves in a position where they need a new job. To find one in the event industry, simply follow these steps.
1. Take Advantage of Unemployment Benefits
As soon as you lose your job, you should apply for unemployment benefits. Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, millions of Americans are filing for unemployment each week. The Federal Government has even allowed states to adjust their unemployment benefits to account for coronavirus challenges.
Unemployment benefits are now available for:
- Employees who are out of work due to COVID-19-related business shutdowns.
- Employees who are currently quarantined, but who expect to return to their job once the quarantine is over.
- Employees who aren’t working due to fear of catching COVID-19, passing it on to a vulnerable family member, or caring for a sick family member.
For state-specific COVID-19 unemployment resources, check out Indeed’s resource list by state. Your job search will be much less stressful if you can rely on a consistent stream of money to pay the bills.
2. Explore Job Opportunities With an Open Mind
The events industry is incredibly diverse. If you find yourself in the job market due to a COVID-19 layoff, keep an open mind as you explore your options. You may have to adjust your expectations to suit the current job market offerings.
Start by considering how COVID-19 has impacted the event industry job market. For example, virtual event planning will be more desirable than live event planning, at least for the time being.
Here are the main sectors of the event industry to check out during your job search:
- Corporations – Corporate businesses hire event planners to organize their events, meetings, seminars, and retreats. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Fortune 500 company that doesn’t have a full-time event planning team. If this line of work interests you, see if any big corporations in your area have job openings for their event department.
- Nonprofits and charities – Charitable organizations frequently host events to raise money for their cause. You may have luck finding a job with a nonprofit or charity that’s working to help those impacted by the coronavirus. While auctions, galas, and fun runs may be off the table for now, organizations can still host impressive virtual events to raise funds.
- Private events – If you prefer working on a smaller scale, consider a job opportunity in the private events sector. You can plan weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, baby showers, and much more. Even though COVID-19 has disrupted life as we know it, these life milestones are still taking place. Live streams offer a way to share these special moments with loved ones across the country. By hosting these types of virtual events, you’ve found yourself a COVID-19-proof job.
- Hotels and conventions – Prior to the pandemic, hotels offered amazing growth opportunities for event planners. Hotels are a go-to venue option for businesses, wedding parties, banquets, and other formal events. While these events are not taking place right now, they’re likely to pick up again in the future, so keep an eye out for open positions.
3. Review Job Listings Daily
Once you’ve homed in on your preferred events sector, search for relevant job postings online. You should do this daily. Consider applying to jobs as your new full-time gig.
Fortunately, with the help of the internet, this process is easier than ever. Some popular job listing websites are:
- Career Builder
Many of these websites let you submit simple, one-click applications once you upload your resume, helping you cast a wide net efficiently. Furthermore, you can apply to jobs from the comfort of your own home (where you’re probably quarantined already!).
4. Search For a Broad Range of Job Titles
With so many job listings to mull through, it can get a little overwhelming. Simplify your results pages by filtering for location, experience level, and job title. Remember that there are many more job titles out there besides “event planner.”
Here are some other job titles to search for:
- Meeting planner
- Meeting manager
- Meeting coordinator
- Meeting director
- Event manager
- Event coordinator
- Event assistant
- Event director
- Event communications specialist
- Project manager
- Office coordinator
- Event marketer
It’s worth reviewing a wide range of open positions during your job hunt. This way, you won’t miss out on any potential opportunities.
5. Tailor Your Resume For Coveted COVID-19-Related Skills
Once you’ve found a few jobs that pique your interest, it’s time to submit your applications. This is a great time to spruce up your resume and highlight your unique skills. Consider which skills are most valued by companies that have been impacted by COVID-19.
For example, if you have experience in hosting virtual events, emphasize that in your resume. Here are some more traits that are especially valuable during this time:
- Being adaptable to changing market conditions
- Working well under pressure
- Having live stream experience
- Knowing about the latest virtual event technology
By crafting your resume for COVID-19-related skills and implementing event planner marketing and networking strategies, you will stand out amongst the other applicants. This will increase your chances of getting chosen for a coveted event planning position.
Vario’s Virtual Events: The Solution to COVID-19 Disruptions
Even though the event industry is struggling right now, innovative event technology can carry it through this time of social distancing, self-isolating, and state-enforced lockdowns.
Even before COVID-19, virtual events were becoming increasingly popular. They offer online audiences an immersive experience without the hassle of traveling. They also transcend the obstacles presented by this pandemic. With customized virtual reality technology, event attendees can even experience events in 4k, making them incredibly life-like.
Vario, a full service event management company, is paving the way for virtual events by offering a virtual events platform, virtual reality, augmented reality, holographic technology, and many other high-tech services. For a virtual event checklist and experts to help you execute on it, reach out to Vario today.