Friday, October 2, 2009

Event Planning, Wedding Planning, and High School Job Shadows

At this time of year, I also get a lot of calls from high schoolers desiring job shadows. I think this is a great idea and can be a worthwhile experience for the student, but for a busy planner it can almost be overwhelming to try and convey the concept of who we are and what we do in a one-day experience, which is what a lot of students are asking for. I even have schools asking for a one-hour job shadow. Unfortunately, it would take ten times the amount of hours to prepare a useful curriculum, than what the student and I would actually spend together, based on what schools and students are asking.  So I usually decline.

One thing that I think would make high school job shadows more appealing to event planners would be if, rather than a one-hour or one-day event, students would treat their job shadow just as importantly as a varsity sport or other extracurricular activity such as Debate, Math Club, etc., and plan on signing up for at least a 90-day experience, perhaps with four to ten hours per week spent on working for their job mentor.  This way, both the student and the mentor can benefit from the experience.  And event planners would be more likely to accept more students.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Applying for an event planning internship

I receive many requests for event planning internships and job shadows.  It is not possible to accommodate the torrent of requests that come in every fall and spring.  How can a candidate differentiate themselves and get a call back?

I think a compelling cover or opening inquiry letter is key.  A phone call may not get picked up, or your call may come at the wrong time (planner on the way to the meeting, onsite at an event, working from home with children, etc.)  In addition, event planners tend to be on the more traditional side when it comes to etiquette (we are asked to be managers  of protocol and guest experiences, after all) and a phone call can feel far too casual.

I saw an internship request come across The Bridal Loft's inbox the other day that I thought was very well written.  It asked all the right questions, and positioned the candidate as someone who was truly interested in what her target desired in an internship.  This is very different from the common mistakes of starting a cover letter or inquiry with a bunch of "all about me" information and meaningless superlatives ("It is my lifelong dream to work in the wedding industry"). You can bet I noticed this person.

  My name is XXXXXX and I am an XXXXXXXXXXX student at XXX. Time is soon coming to apply for internships and I am very interested in yours. I would love to know what you expect from your interns and what you will be looking for in portfolios and resumes. When would be the right time to apply and what method would you prefer. Would you rather an online portfolio or a printed copy? I was also wondering if this was a paid internship or purely for the joy of the experience. Thank you so very much for your time and I hope to hear back from you soon.

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