The last article in this series, What the [email protected]*# is Event Marketing? gave a quick overview of this wild industry.
To summarize quickly, there are loads of corporate events and promotions traveling the country that need people to travel along, set up the event and run the show. Thus, the opportunity to get paid to travel.
The jobs can be challenging but also ridiculously fun. Since everybody wants to travel around and get paid to run fun events, it must be tough to break into this line of work… right?
Actually, not really.
In fact, it’s much easier than you think. This post is a short excerpt from my book Breaking Into Event Marketing and will show you the easiest way to get started immediately.
Working on tour for 10+ years, I had some of the best times of my life. To this day, some of my closest friends are people I worked alongside in the trenches out on the road. We’ve been to hell and back and have that special forever bond you get only when you go through some shit together.
In between hard work we played like crazy visiting national parks, exploring cities/towns and truly living everywhere across the USA.
Here are a small handful of shots from the road to give you a better idea of what these promotional events and vehicles look like…
I could include thousands of photos but I’ll spare you. These are just a few small examples of types of events you could work.
The Best Way to Break Into the Event Marketing Industry
The single best way is to sign up for event staffing agencies (should be free to sign up) and put your name in the hat for promotional marketing work locally, then try to branch out to touring. People that represent different brands and services at events are called ‘Brand Ambassador’s‘.
Even if you’re just trying to earn some extra money locally to save up for your next trip, working as a Brand Ambassador can be a hella’ fun way to do it.
What does a Staffing Agency do? Why do they exist?
Staffing agencies help event marketing agencies and brands find competent staff to work at their events. They specialize in finding these ‘Brand Ambassadors’, people who represent brands/services at events and hire for every type of role in the event world.
Staffing agencies are the single most important and best way to begin working immediately in event marketing.
Is the work part-time and flexible?
Yes it is. It also can be a ton of fun. If you are looking for extra money and some flexibility, staffing agencies are a great option. Part time is probably more realistic although many people in bigger markets like New York and LA can find enough work to keep them busy full time.
Why do companies use staffing agencies? Can’t they just find their own people?
Some companies do staff all of their own events but it’s definitely a lot of work. Good staffing agencies excel at finding the right people for each client and event. They have insurance to protect workers, handle payroll, have a database of qualified candidates and deal with all of the logistics to make sure the right staff show up on time and ready to go.
What happens when you sign up with an event staffing company?
Signing up with staffing agencies to be considered for event work nearly always involves 3 main things
- Creating a profile
- Submitting Pictures/Resumes
- Filling out standard work paperwork (W2 or 1099 forms) for tax purposes
After you are signed up, you’ll have a chance to hear about work opportunities.
Creating an Awesome Profile: Your Key To Getting Work Offers
Your profile is the most important piece of your personal brand. When you register with a staffing agency you are competing against everybody else registered for work. You want your profile to stand out.
The agency Account Managers will look through the profiles when they are looking for people to book for promotional event work.
Pictures are particularly important as that is the first thing Account Managers usually see. When they see a friendly, smiling professional staring back at them they’ll want to contact you for the job.
If your pictures are bad, you didn’t take time to show your experience, or you just rushed through it you might miss out on work.
Here are 3 Action Steps you can take to increase your chances of booking work with a staffing agency.
Action Step #1
Take 3-5 good recent photos of yourself and use them in your profile Make sure the pictures reflect how you actually look right now. If you know a good photographer or a friend willing to help out go out, find a good spot and take some photos. You’ll be using these photos to market yourself. At the minimum you should have:
- A picture from the shoulder up, called a “Head Shot”. Don’t forget to smile!
- A full body picture in casual clothes. Smile.
- A picture of yourself a little more dressed up. Smile.
- If you’d like to be considered for model based work, a tasteful bathing suit shot is appropriate
If you are already an active Brand Ambassador, please update your photos to represent your current look. You’re pictures matter…a lot. Clients are sometimes very specific on what they want.
Staffing Agencies want to know what you really look like, don’t misrepresent yourself. Bad pictures can eliminate you before you are given consideration…even if your resume is mind blowing. Remember you will be representing their brand and client.
DO NOT submit pictures of yourself:
- With other people or a group, we want to see you
- Drinking, smoking or doing something else along these lines
- Wearing outlandish clothes
- Looking angry, unfriendly, or cocky
- Wearing inappropriate outfits
- Dressed in a costume
Action Step #2
Update Your Resume and Include it in Your Profile Your resume is your personal brand, it represents you. If it’s sloppy and disorganized, can you guess what the person looking at it will think?
Here are some simple tips:
- Design matters! Do a google search for “Resume Design” and look at some examples then use the format you like best. You could also pick up the “Non-Designers Design Book” by Robin Williams. A fantastic book that will help in many areas of life.
- Put important stuff near the top
- Emphasize the experience you have that relates to this industry.
TIP: If you don’t have related experience, find crossover experience. For example, did you work at a restaurant serving customers? Talk about customer service. Have you worked in retail stores? Highlight your sales experience to show them what you have done.
Remember these general rules:
- No misspellings
- Keep it real, no lying!
- One to two pages tops
- Your contact info at the top, easy to find
- Nice flow and easy to read
A few tips on cover letters and/or emails about jobs you apply for:
- Customize the email or letter to the particular job, don’t use a form letter to apply for jobs. Referring to the job your applying for shows that you have read all of the details and that you have the desire to work the event.
- Let the agency know you are available for the entire event
- Short and sweet is better
- Show your personality without being inappropriate
Bonus: Videos are a great tool, short a short video of yourself (30 second to 1 minute) about why you want a particular job. This will give agencies an idea of your personality and will really make you stand out.
Action Step #3
Keep your profile updated regularly.
Update every 2-3 months or when your look changes. If you move, update your profile so they can contact you for work in your new area. If you have more experience and change your resume, update it in your profile. Update, update, update.
Just remember that your profile is your personal brand. You’ll have a much better chance of getting work if your profile is professional, includes good pictures and is updated regularly.
To get started and learn more check out ATN Promo, a staffing agency I’ve worked with for years both in the field and as a consultant. To sign up for Brand Ambassador work go to ATN’s Join Us Page.
I always mention going to trade magazines as a great secret strategy to learning about any industry and find more work opportunities for people in the know.
Here is a large list of event staffing agencies from an event industry trade, sign up for as many as you want to have more chances of finding out about work?
Want to learn more about how to break into event marketing touring? I wrote a whole book about it! You can find it at Jobs In Event Marketing if interested.
You can also send me questions anytime if you need some advice. Adios amigos, and happy fun job hunting!
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THank you Joey!!
Hey Jason! Great article! One question, does any of those agencies operate in Europe?
They definitely do! I do not have one comprehensive resource for Europe however. It’s an interesting question and I know it exists because I have seen events there on the ground but not sure which agencies operate in Europe. I would find brands/companies doing these types of events and call up their event department at the corporate office and ask how to get involved. I like making calls because nobody ever does it and it gives you a better chance to get a job. Hustle!
How did you break into doing tours? what companies did you work for or staffing agency’s. I have been in the event marketing field as a Brand Ambassador and I will love to get an opportunity to tour
Hi Tatiana, I’ve worked with many companies and some that don’t exist anymore. Check out the industry trade magazine Event Marketer for a list of companies to reach out to. I wrote a book about how to break into event marketing – if interested in diving deep on the topic you can get that here.
Did you ever travel internationally during your time as an event marketer?
I spent a month working in Mexico during spring break. Some event tours are music related which can lead to some international touring but most of the industry takes place around the USA. Hope this helps!
Jason, where can I get your book very interested in reading?
That’s great Don, ATN is a wonderful company! My book is available here if you are interested >>> Breaking Into Event Marketing. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIN, I have a ton of industry connections there. Cheers, JAson