Read most career advice aimed at university students and it will highlight a need for both an academic qualification plus relevant work experience. Typically the work experience will include a) a year-long industry placement b) short work experience opportunities that may form part of your course requirements c) other work experience, part time work etc. that is related to your work that you arrange and is outside the course requirements.
Our event management courses at Sheffield Hallam University offer a wide range and number of work experience opportunities – either through the formal placement route or via the shorter opportunities.
Some things for you to consider in relation to this. Firstly, what is the best approach to getting work on your CV? One school of thought is to try as many different roles, types of jobs or different sectors, e.g. festivals, cultural events, conference, sports etc. to give you a “flavour” of what you may want do to in the future. Secondly, an alternative approach, which requires you to have already got a good idea of the type of job you want in the future, is be focused in building up your CV work experience. For example look out for work that is around sports events if that is what you anticipate your future career path to be. This might give you an edge over another candidate who has a less focused CV. The obvious flaw in this strategy is that you haven’t necessarily tried out different jobs before deciding on this chosen area to work in.
Finally, and this is something I feel many students ignore, is what is the biggest sector of the events’ industry, as this is likely to have the most job opportunities for new graduates? It is difficult to quantify the size of the sectors in the events’ industry. But we do have some evidence here in the work from the Business Visit and Events Partnership. By far the biggest area of the events’ industry is under the banner of “business events.” By adding together the contribution from conferences, corporate hospitality, exhibitions and incentive travel, it accounts for approximately 85% of the industry.
Whatever approach you take, and whatever sector you decide to focus on, one of the most important things is getting relevant work experience on your CV alongside your academic qualifications. There are other factors that will help in getting that first job (think about confidence, communication skills and even a bit of luck). But make the most of the work experience we can offer you via the companies and organisations we collaborate with at Sheffield Hallam University.