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New Event Exec's guide to job hunting

Updated: May 10, 2021


Are you searching for your first Event Executive role? Job hunting in events is tough in today's market. Boost your chance of securing your perfect Event Executive job with the new Event Executive's guide to job hunting, from Dotted Lines Events.


Whatsmore, we're thrilled to include the expert eye of Emma Castle, Co-Founder and Director at CastleBell, an independent recruitment agency focused on the integrated events and experiential sector.


1.Do your research

First impressions count. So, don't go in all guns blazing and mass email a generic CV to a bunch of careers@ email addresses.


Start by deciding who you want to work for and why. Create your target list by investigating the agency's values. And find out what types of projects they manage. What's the team vibe – would you be a good fit?


Emma's expert eye

I agree with this 100%. Mass generic CV sending is a huge problem and leads to wasted time all-round. Researching who you want to work for and why is brilliant advice. Values are becoming more and more critical to employers and candidates, so it's good to ensure these align. Then target, target, target, and ensure your CV, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile align with the types of role you are applying for.


2.Do more research

The decision-maker for the role you want to be considered for probably isn't the HR manager. You could go straight in by calling the company to ask who the hiring manager is. Or you could use your social media smarts:


Visit the LinkedIn company page of the events agency on your target list. Click the link 'See employees on LinkedIn' link. This move will show you the likely decision-makers. You can then see if you are connected to any of them via your network. If so, contact one of these existing connections and ask them nicely to make an introduction for you. It's a savvy way to connect because it instantly instils confidence in the hiring manager – they know someone who knows you!


Emma's expert eye

Statistically, only 1% of cold online applications result in landing a new role, so leveraging your network and understanding if you know someone who works there who might be able to give your application a boost is a great idea. Working with one or more carefully selected specialist recruiters is also a good idea because you are immediately vouched for by a specialist in the space.


I would also add not to be put off by the competition when applying for online roles. There may be another 100 applicants, but who is to say that any of them are suitable for the role? And who says whether they have targeted their application in the same way you have to ensure the hiring manager understands their relevant experience for the role?


3.Your CV

When the time comes to send a CV, whether via email, or online submission, make sure it's free of errors. Event profs need to be attentive to details, and if we can't get our own CVs right, it won't help our job-hunting cause. Ask someone to proof it for you and run it through the free version of Try Grammarly.com to check for missed typos.


Be visually creative with your CV, too. We're in a creative industry, after all. There are some fabulous templates on creative tools, such as Canva.com.


If you don't have a personal contact by this stage, you need to submit your CV via an agency. In this case, use a Word document to ensure the text in your file is accurately scanned by many agencies' software to 'filter' CVs before sending them to the hirer. But always make sure you see a copy of the CV that the recruiter will send onwards; the document may have had line alignment and other details altered when certain parts – usually your direct contact details - are removed.


Some fantastic CV writing experts, such as topcv.co.uk, can give you some top tips, even review or write your CV for you.


Emma's expert eye

Avoid complex formatting. The more complicated the format, the more issues it may have in being parsed through an ATS system. (Applicant Tracking System). So, my advice would be to have two versions. Use one to send directly to your contact (creative/beautifully formatted). Use the other to apply for roles online - with no tables, columns, information in header and footer. For example, if you put your contact details into the header or footer of a CV, this information may get lost on its way through an ATS system, which may result in the hiring manager rejecting your CV.



4.Your social media

Your LinkedIn profile should be up to date and compliment your CV:

  • Add a profile picture so potential employers will easily spot you at networking events etc.

  • Add a creative hero image that sits at the top of the page to help bring your page to life.

  • Keep your skills and endorsements up-to-date - if someone endorses you on LinkedIn, you'll have a notification to say, 'Joanne Bloggs has endorsed you for 'Project Management'.

  • Include any volunteering to bring out more of your personality.

  • Include a brief introduction section - summarise your key highlights and achievements that are relevant to your industry and role.

  • Join industry groups and post regularly – in groups and on your profile – with your industry thoughts, questions, and news.

For any other channels, you keep public such as an Instagram or Twitter account, always be mindful that future employers may check you out before hiring you. If they see posts with derogatory comments about your ex-employers, it could make them nervous about hiring you.


Emma's expert eye

All great advice. I would also ensure you have recent testimonials on your LinkedIn page, ideally from a mix of clients and previous bosses. This approach effectively acts as a pre-reference and may make you stand out against your competition. It's essential to ensure your social media activity is on-brand with how you would want a future employer to perceive you. In my earlier career in recruitment, an employer rescinded a job offer due to inappropriate social media content, which was a great shame all-round.


5.Personalise your message

An excellent way to start is by asking for a quick call to discuss the role. This approach allows you to ask some sensible questions before applying while building the early start of a relationship.


If a call isn't possible, then personalise your LinkedIn message or email to the hirer with something which makes you stand out – tell them why you want to work for them and what you think you could bring to the role.


Emma's expert eye

A message should absolutely be personalised and an excellent opportunity to show the employer that you are approaching your job search thoroughly. Showing them how passionate you are about their industry and role and that you have done your research on the company can only add to your competitive advantage.



6.Follow up

Once you've made contact, don't just press send and hope for the best. Interact with the company social channels, like and comment on their content.


Follow-up your application with your contacts and determine when they will decide the next stage of the recruitment. And I would always advise a follow-up email a few days later with some well-thought-out content on why you want to work for the business. Don't be afraid to email or DM the business owner directly on LinkedIn if you genuinely want to stand out.


Emma's expert eye

This advice is all really good. Potential employers will see that you are interested in the role, and pro-active and thorough - all qualities they will expect to see in the interactions between you and their clients. If you are going through a recruiter, it's always best to check the etiquette with them in terms of following up, but they can always pass an email on if it's more appropriate.


7.Interview prep

There are heaps of interview questions online with examples of standard/common questions for you to consider in preparation. These are useful guides, but ensure you know all about the company, the decision-makers, and the interviewers.


Read their blogs, their public social media features, and posts, and refer to events or company messaging. This research will show them how much attention you've been paying and that you want to be a part of it.


Refresh yourself with your own experiences, achievements, and skills, too - create a little cheat sheet with some of your best examples to illustrate them.


Emma's expert eye

Interview preparation is the key to smashing an interview. Ensure you go through the job description, jotting down examples of where you have performed these tasks with a successful outcome resulting from your performance. This approach works wonders. Also, prepare and perfect your elevator pitch, practising to friends, so you can confidently answer an opening question such as 'tell me about yourself!'


Most people experience nerves before an interview, but approaching an interview with a positive mindset can also really help. Telling yourself, 'I have done this before, and I can do it again' and asking yourself 'why not me?' when the voices inside your head start encouraging you to doubt yourself and your ability to interview well.


Good luck!


Emma Castle

Emma absolutely loves finding people roles in this amazing industry. She is genuinely passionate about people and helping them find the right next move. Building relationships with clients and really understanding culture and vision are also huge motivators for Emma.

The events, experiential and communications industries are where she has gained her experience, having worked for various recruitment agencies of differing size and specialisms.

The earlier part of her career was spent managing private views for Isabella Blow and James Dyson at the Design Museum, working on enormous conferences and exhibitions for Microsoft and organising private parties and events for celebrities and corporate clients at The Royal Exchange.

As much as this was an exciting start to her career and one where she made some really valuable friends and contacts, it was only when she moved into recruitment that she knew she had found her home. A role that ticks every box and one that she enjoys every day. Check out Emma's latest roles on her LinkedIn profile.

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