Industry talks: what are employers really looking for?

Congratulations, you’ve worked hard at college, you’ve achieved the illustrious piece of paper that declares that you’re proficient in this and competent in that and you’re ready to start job hunting. It’s great (and necessary) that you’re equipped with the skills learned via a qualification. But as we instruct students at College of Event Management there’s a little bit more to getting yourself noticed and right to the top of the selection list.

We asked some of our knowledgeable and experienced industry friends… what are event employers really looking for?

Patrick OReilly

Patrick O’Reilly

Director, Impact Exhibitions & Events – Read Patrick’s bio here.

Be able to show that you have a solid and reliable work ethic from referees. Also, show enthusiasm, punctuality, good written and oral communication skills, experience (start volunteering like crazy) computer literacy and above all, a sunny attitude. One more tip, become proficient at CAD as you will always get the job over someone who doesn’t have that skill.

Zowie Minchin

Zowie Minchin

Event Producer  – Read Zowie’s bio here.

We recently offered an internship position to someone who showed incredible initiative in her volunteer role at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. We were impressed by her ability to pick up and run with various tasks with aplomb and minimal supervision.


Laura Salvatore

Event Services, Melbourne – Read Laura’s bio here.

When looking to hire, I look for people with enthusiasm and a can-do attitude. I’ll definitely take a keen-bean over someone who has it all on paper.

Damian Negus

Damian Negus

Head of Production, T1000 Events – Read Damian’s bio here.

I try to hire thinkers, doers and co-operators. I also look to find people who can perform a particular role better than me, that way I know it will be done properly.

Trust is also very important to me. I would also say that any experience on a resume will be of benefit. As most events are under time and budgets constraints, hiring people that already have some basic knowledge and general understanding of how an event comes together will be an asset rather than a hindrance.

Emma Walker

Emma Walker

Founder, She Went Wild – Read Emma’s bio here.

Attributes I would look for?

Hard Working – Working in events can be brutal. It’s stressful, long hours and a lot of pressure. You have to be able to thrive from pressure and stressful situations to really enjoy working in events.

Problem Solving – Things don’t always go right, and sometimes it doesn’t matter how much planning you’ve done, it’s just a part of the job. The best quality for me is being able to stay calm, and solve a problem without losing your focus or temper! Keep your head clear and move away from the emotion, it will allow you to find a great solution. Sometimes these unplanned situations end up making the event even better!

Personable – You have to like people, and be able to get along with a lot of people. When you’re just starting out in the Industry listen to those who are already working in it. Try and learn from as many people as possible. You have to be flexible and understand that many people work differently, and being able to adapt to that will help you get further. Building and working within a great team is a fantastic feeling, and I’ve been very fortunate to experience that. You may be exhausted, but you did it, and you did it together!

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