"This crisis is something outside of what we have experienced in live events," says Jessie States, CMP, CMM of Meeting Professionals International. "No one can book now, meetings have been postponed, many planners have been furloughed. We're seeing as many cancellations as we are postponements."
States notes that although many large events have made the move to digital, "the virtual space is overloaded and overwhelmed, so many are not booking at all right now."
And this may not be a short-term inconvenience. With large companies like Microsoft suspending all live events until July of 2021 and so much uncertainty still circling around the virus and its spread, it seems there's no end in sight — at least not for the foreseeable future.
To add insult to injury, the hospitality and travel industries are still scrambling, and there's no telling when they will be back on their feet. Nearly 538,000 workers from 100 airlines have been furloughed or laid off so far, according to analytics firm Videc, with numbers expected to increase over the next several months. And, a new report by the American Hotel and Lodging Association projects 2020 will be the worst year on record for the hospitality sector.
The statistics are alarming, indeed, but there is reason to have hope if you are a meetings and events professional who has lost your job due to COVID-19. You bring to the job market a combination of experience and skills that employers need now. In fact, it's a great time to find temporary work or try out a new career while you wait for the meetings and events industries to rebound.
Here, we show you how you can put your skills to work amid the coronavirus crisis.
Transferable skills and training to emphasize on your resume
Wherever you were on your events career path: catering manager, production associate, event, wedding or meeting planner, audiovisual technician, special events coordinator, events marketing manager, operations manager, photographer or florist, you have acquired soft, hard and technical skills that you can transfer to other industries. Showcasing these skills on your resume will give you an advantage over the competition.
Below is a breakdown of the hard, technical and soft skills you may have mastered as a worker in the events and meetings industry that you should consider adding to your next resume:
Hard skills and technical skills: Hard skills such as: Sales, management skills, understanding business operations, design, marketing, audiovisual, shipping/receiving, administrative, budgeting, planning, production. Technical skills such as: Proficiency with Microsoft Office, information technology experience
Soft skills: Communication, customer service, team work, team building, negotiation, persuasion, multitasking, organizational skills, flexibility, attention to detail, creativity, problem-solving, interpersonal, time management, leadership, adaptability
Certifications and training: Certified Meetings Professional (CMP), Certified Event Management Professional (CEMP), Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE), Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP), Certified Wedding Planner (CWP), Certified Technology Specialist (CTS)
Education: If you have a bachelor's degree in hospitality, communications, or public relations, which are common degrees in this field, be sure to add it to your resume. Or, if you've taken coursework in business, accounting and management, that is valuable information to include on your resume, as well. Event planning and management certificates should be listed under a separate header.
Professionals in the production, audiovisual and operations side of the events industry typically just need a high school diploma or GED. If you didn't go to college, list your high school education. However, if you do have an associate or bachelor's degree in audiovisual technology, set production or a related field, skip adding high school to your resume and only list college.
These industries are hiring people with your skills
No matter your role in the events industry, employers in the following categories need your skills now more than ever.
If you were an event planner, meeting planner, wedding planner, photographer, caterer, florist, caterer or special events managers, you might be qualified for one of the following roles:
- Delivery driver (for example, for a meal delivery company like Good Eggs)
- Sales associate (for example, for an essential retailer like Ace Hardware)
- Operations associate (for example, in a warehouse like Amazon)
- Logistics planner (for example, for a major freight or trucking company like Penske)
- Receptionist (for example, at a nursing home)
- Cashier (for example, at an essential retailer like Tractor Supply Company)
If you were a an audiovisual technician or production associate, you might be qualified for the following roles:
- Mover (for example, for a moving company like Bellhops)
- Stock associate (for example, for a large retailer like Costco)
- Technical support associate (for example, for a tech company like Zoom)
- Driver (for example, for a courier service like OnTrac)
- Warehouse associate (for example, for an essential retailer like PetSmart)
If you were a special events coordinator, production manager, events marketing manager, operations manager or catering manager, you might be qualified for one of the following roles:
- Grocery store manager (for example, at Publix)
- Sales associate (for example at a tech company like Slack)
- Warehouse manager (for example, for an essential business like Walmart)
- Facilities manager (for example, in a manufacturing plant for MP3)
- Administrative assistant, for example at a hospital)
How to apply for these roles and what you'll need
If you are applying in person, you'll need a current email address and phone number; a resume and identification, such as a driver's license or passport.
If you are applying online, you'll need a current email address and phone number; a current resume; and a brief cover letter explaining what you'll bring to the table.
How to find these jobs in your community
How to create a resume that will capture an employers' attention
COVID-19 is disrupting the workforce, but it's not changing the way employers evaluate candidates. An up-to-date resume is still the best way to show hiring managers why you are a great fit, no matter what job you're applying for.
The best resumes speak directly to the job requirements, so make sure you match your experience and skills to each job. Grab hiring managers' attention by highlighting your transferable skills and what you have achieved over the course of your career.
Don't forget to add a strong cover letter, even if one is not required. It will help you stand out from the competition by showing employers you are willing to go the extra mile, even in times of crisis. A cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself to the hiring manager, and explain why you are changing jobs or industries. It's also a great complement to your resume, providing the space to expand on your experience and education and give insight to your skills and achievements. Our cover letter templates can help you craft the perfect cover letter fast.
Below, we've provided a sample resume to help you as you update yours for your new position.
Text resume example: A site coordinator applying for facilities manager role
Name: Faria Diaz
Address: Black Diamond, WA 98010
Phone: (555) 555-5555
Summary Statement: Driven Site Coordinator offering years of positive industry performance to bring value to a new company team. Well-versed in logistics coordination and team leadership with a passion for creating memorable events for the community.
- Events logistics management
- Business administration
- Volunteer management
- Vendor and contract negotiations
- Market analysis
- Strategic planning
- Operations management
Trends Field Center
- Scheduled staff and volunteers to cover all necessary duties during planned events.
- Cultivated community and media relations through social media and other communication channels to support programs and increase participation by 20 percent.
- Recruited volunteers to assist with various events, including fundraising and community outreach.
Black Heart Marketing Group
- Managed administrative logistics of events planning, including contract signing, fee collection, event booking and event promotions.
- Interviewed clients to understand event scopes of work, establish budgets and determine timelines for venue selection, guest list finalization, and rehearsal, ceremonies and receptions.
- Ensured smooth training execution by coordinating seminar functions, including site selection, scheduling, marketing, reservations, materials, event management and follow-up.
Summer Marketing Intern
Fenton Historical Society
- Checked prices for customers and processed items sold by scanning barcodes.
- Reviewed and resolved differences between accounting information and cash drawer.
- Reconciled cash drawer at start and end of each shift, accounting for errors and resolving discrepancies.
Education & Training
Bachelor of Arts: Meeting And Event Planning
University of Washington
(CSEP) Certified Special Events Professional Training, 2017