Friday, June 1, 2012

7 Secrets to Getting a Job with a Wedding Planner (or Anyone Else)!

As you can imagine, we get a lot of applicants interested in being wedding planners. Why not? It sounds fun, seems glamorous, and has a low entry point. Technically, you don't need any specific training or degrees or even classes to start planning weddings. Back when I started (cue the dramatic music), there were almost no classes and no degree programs and you certainly couldn't major in event planning like you can now.

Times have changed. Universities like GW and George Mason offer classes and degrees (I even taught the wedding planning class at GW for a spell) and wedding planning is a booming business with more potential planners entering the market every day. Lots will open their own businesses and some will do quite well. For others, they'd rather start with an established company or learn the ropes through an internship. 

For everyone hoping to score an internship or even an entry level position with an event planner (or really in any industry), here are some tips on how to stand out from the crowd (and at this point the crowd of applicants is quite large).

#1-- Please take the time to address your email or letter to an actual person. I get scores of emails addressed to "To Whom It May Concern" or just "Hi" or "Good Morning." Since I run a small company and it takes all of two minutes to go on my website to find the name of the owner (me), not doing this tells me that you don't take initiative, you don't know how to find information or you're sending a blanket email to fifty other wedding planners.  Regardless, it gets your letter tossed in the trash pretty darn quick. Do your research!!

#2-- Don't assume I'm also Generation Y or Z or whatever we're up to now. Texting me for a job (yes, this happened to a wedding planner friend of mine) or tweeting me isn't the way to go (unless I've sent out a tweet asking for applicants). I don't mind emailed resumes but keep it professional and don't assume all potential bosses are social media friendly.

#3-- Check for mistakes before sending a resume. We all make mistakes but sending a resume that mentions how detail-oriented you are shouldn't have spelling or grammatical mistakes. And don't rely on "spell check" to save you because we all know how goofs can slip through that.

#4-- Do your homework on my company. We get tons of form-style letters from people saying how much they want to work for me without giving any specifics. Take the time to check out my website and mention specific elements of the business you like and then connect that back to yourself. Maybe you see that we donate part of our profits to the MS Society and you helped plan an MS Walk in college. Great! That shows me you've done some research and gives me a sense of connection to you.

#5-- Break the rules! This is a tough job market so you need to stand out from the crowd. Avoid telling me any of those typical resume phrases that career centers seem to love. I don't want to hear that you feel you could "best maximize your interpersonal skills" with my company.  I do want to hear that you think of yourself as a cross between MacGyver and Martha Stewart or that you are a social media diva and know so much about SEO that you could make my head spin. That would catch my eye. We're in the business of creating "Wow" factors for clients so be prepared to WOW me!

#6-- Know about weddings. If you're applying for a job as a wedding planner or intern, I want to know that you actually know about weddings and this isn't just a passing fancy. On our intern application, I have people tell me what wedding blogs they follow and what wedding books/magazines they've read. You'd be shocked by the number of people that say "none."  On the other hand, I gave an interview to a woman once who had no actual wedding experience but she knew all the wedding blogs and trends and showed that she had a burning interest. You shouldn't do anything you don't have a passion for so if you don't have a passion for weddings, find something else.

#7-- Connect to me. A lot of positions are still obtained through connections. If you don't have one, make one!  Did we go to the same college? Did you go to the same college as one of my associates? Are we from the same state? Do you know someone I know? Do you share the same hobbies or interests? Follow our blog, follow us on Twitter, learn about us. The more you know, the better the chance to connect. Even a small connection is a connection and, as social media shows us, today it's all about connection (even tenuous ones).

This post wasn't meant to scare you off but it was meant to help you put your best foot forward and ultimately get a job in the wedding industry. My wedding planner colleagues and I talk often about the number of people we have applying for jobs that make the mistakes I've talked about. So now you won't!  Good luck and I'll see you out there!