Day in and day out, I get several requests for employment. So many in fact, that it’s near impossible to respond to each of them, but I do respond to some and wanted to give you hopeful planners out there some guidance on how to stand apart from the rest. Here are a few of my hot spots and pet peeves that will get you noticed in a good or even bad way:
1. Don’t address your cover letter with “Dear Sir or Madam”. My company name is Beth Helmstetter Events and my name is Beth Helmstetter. It doesn’t get any easier than that. If you can’t take the time to write what at least appears to be a personal email to me, I won’t be able to find the time to respond to you. Now, this isn’t just true in my case, but is true in any job you are applying for. It’s resume writing 101 in fact and I just can’t take anyone seriously who hasn’t done enough research or can’t be bothered to take the time to write me an individual note.
2. Research the industry. If you don’t know what The Knot or Style Me Pretty is or if you are not familiar with industry leaders like Mindy Weiss or Colin Cowie, spend a little more time getting to know the industry before calling on planners to intern with. The wedding business is a major industry with many key players. I take my business and this industry very seriously and will only give my time to those who do the same.
3. Know a lot about my business (or any planner’s business for which you are applying). Beth Helmstetter Events specializes in intimate and destination weddings and we have a great love for all things charming that reflect the personalities of our clients. If you write me a letter talking about the lavish ballroom events, golf tournaments or the corporate retreats you would love to plan, I will assume you know nothing about my company.
4. Show me what you’ve done to prove your interest in the industry. Have you started your own blog about wedding design? Have you participated in educational programs to learn more about the industry or have you worked for little or no money just to get a little experience with planning? These are the type of things all wedding planners did in the beginning and if you are serious, you should too. Every day I get letters from people who have dreamt of becoming a wedding planner for years, but it is rare that I get a resume that shows what you have done to further this dream.
5. Be realistic. There is nothing more offensive than receiving a letter from someone who thinks my job is to play with flowers and taste cake all day long. Sure, that is a part of our job and can be a lot of fun, but there are many other things that go along with the job such as creating detailed timelines, managing tight budgets and developing and redeveloping floor plans. My mind is bogged down with concerns such as whether the venue has enough electricity available for both the great lighting we have designed and the 10 piece band the client is dying to have. My job entails things like renting portapotties, bringing in generators and arranging shuttle buses. Glamorous, right?! It involves being able to work with clients whose aesthetic you may or may not relate to and bringing it to reality no matter how you feel about their personal style. You will be managing vendors who do not want to be managed and working with mothers of the brides or other family members who may not understand or appreciate the value you add to the planning process. But, most importantly it is often an extremely stressful career and the hours tend to be very long. On the wedding days it is typical for my team to work a 12 to 16 hour day, only to get up the next morning with bright and shiny smiles on our faces to work the morning after brunch. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is not anyone I know that could possibly love this job more than I do, but it’s not all peonies and monogrammed hemstitch napkins. It’s hard work and a lot of responsibility and resumes and cover letters that do not acknowledge this understanding, rarely get a second look in my office.
While, I’m sure this may come across as a little blunt, I wanted to give all of you out there that are actually doing your research a little glimpse inside of what I’m looking for when I take on an intern or assistant. After reading this, if you are still interested in working with me, then keep sending those resumes. We are not hiring at this moment, but things change on a daily basis and if I see someone who really sparks my interest, you never know, I may just find a way to work you into the team. Good luck and no matter who you end up working with, happy planning!