September 2020 marks two important dates in the mustard calendar – my 25th birthday and, slightly less importantly, the end of our financial year. Naturally, that makes this a good time for us to reflect on the year that has passed. From September 2019 – March 2020, the XP division of mustard (which focuses on events, experiential & exhibitions), enjoyed a very busy period, reflective of a buoyant events industry.
Fast forward to today’s date and the events industry finds itself in a very different position, as do we. As the demand for recruitment within the sector severely declined over lockdown, we spent most of the Summer on furlough. As a team, we have now been back to work for almost four months. As of Friday, I myself will have completed my first month back at work – time flies and all that!
It’s no secret that mass redundancies have been made across the industry. As a collective team, a lot of our time at the moment is being dedicated to speaking to event professionals who find themselves out of work. There have been encouraging signs in the month of August, we have had a handful of vacancies dotted across the Country, both permanent and freelance.
Unfortunately, however, given the current state of the industry, there just aren't enough vacancies out there at the moment for all the talented event professionals who find themselves looking for a new job. Even when recruitment within the industry begins to return to pre-COVID levels, the amount of currently available event professionals means it will be a highly competitive job market!
One question I have been asked countless times this month goes along the lines of: "how can I stand out in a competitive job market? How can I make myself more employable in a post-COVID events industry?”
Hopefully, the following tips may help to begin to answer that question…
Stand Out from the Crowd!
Many people will be looking for a job for the first time in years. Writing a CV from scratch can be a frustrating task – how can you possibly fit ten years of industry experience on to two or three sides of A4?!
Increasingly, we are seeing new formats of CV land in our emails and to be honest it is really refreshing when you’ve spent all morning reading PDF copies of CVs to see something a little different. While it is always useful to have that PDF copy of your CV, why not make a website or video CV to go alongside it? Let’s not forget that the events industry is a creative industry after all!
Learn New Software – Unreal Engine, Unity, Twinmotion
This point only applies to designers/modellers, I am afraid.
A traditional 3D Designer role of any level within the events industry would usually require software such as Vectorworks, AutoCAD, Cinema4D, 3DSMax and/or Sketchup. Since COVID has put so many constraints on physical events and virtual events have become the talk of the town, new software requirements are being requested from clients, namely – Unreal Engine, Unity & Twinmotion.
We have started to see some really innovative and engaging virtual event fly-throughs being shared on LinkedIn and in portfolios. So, if you are struggling to find regular work as a freelancer or if you are on furlough, why not use that time to have a play around with new software?
Project Managers / Producers – Portfolios!
When recruiting for any design role, we could naturally collect a CV and of course a portfolio of work. However, increasingly we are seeing Project Managers and Producers who have both a CV and a portfolio. While most event agencies won’t expect to receive a portfolio from a PM/Producer as part of a job application, there’s no doubt they grab the attention more than a CV.
I would suggest compiling a portfolio of some of your favourite events you have worked on, including pictures and some text to explain your involvement.
As a recruiter, I spend a fair chunk of time on LinkedIn. It has been great to see the amount of support that event professionals are offering to each other on the platform, since the events industry has been so severely impacted by COVID.