Why look for just another job, when you can embark upon a whole new career? Learn about the latest developments in careers for military spouses. With your mobile lifestyle, there are certain portable careers that can offer you and your family stability and future growth. If you have any topics that you would like to see us write about, feel free to email the editor:
Mobile Careers: Event Planner, More Than A Bride’s Helper

Romantic weddings; world-class events; lavish parties that are the highlight of a corporation’s year - Christie Oss spends her days creating the perfect events for her clients.

Her days, however, are anything but romantic.

Christie often spends hours on the phone booking clients and vendors and the rest of her time budgeting for those clients and preparing proposals. However, this Atlanta-based event planner says the hard work is worth it, every time.

“You just have to love what you do,” she says.

Oss is the offsite catering and marketing manager for Three Sisters Catering in Atlanta. Her love of the business is evident in her attention to detail.

Her daily tasks range from providing a final guest count for chairs, linens and plates to a venue to working with florists, photographers and other vendors to plan the theme of the event.

Oss holds a degree in health science and gained much of her marketing experience by working in health and fitness promotion. She landed a spot in the college intern program at Walt Disney World and assisted professionals there with the handling of catering and events at the park’s high end resorts.

Two key components of a successful career in event planning: communication and people skills.

 “You have to be an extrovert. Having skills to build relationships will give you an advantage over others,” she said. “I spend a lot of time getting leads and inquiries, then always following up on them. Follow up is huge.” Oss said.

Also, managing events requires not just good communication skills, but also the ability to ask the right questions, she said. She quizzes her clients on themes, colors and personal details such as favorite food and sports teams to completely tailor every detail to their liking.

Oss said her familiarity with local venues helps her to not just appear knowledgeable about the business but it reassures clients that she is the expert on what they want and where they want it.

 “Keep in mind all the ins and outs of the venue. Any suggestions you can give the client based on your knowledge, like simply adding drapery to an area, for example, is like extra, no-charge advice, and that means a lot,” she said. “It can also close a deal.”

Before being employed, event planners are often required to gain membership with the National Association for Catering and Events. This group also provides programs for Certified Meeting Planners.

The same networking that makes Oss so successful on the job is what she contributes in helping her find a job. When she moved to Atlanta, she spent her first night in her hometown at a networking event for her industry.

“Social networking is such a great tool,” Oss said. “But also connect [in person] with associations who know people to work with too.”

Oss suggests those starting out in the industry should find a mentor to learn from. Currently she is working with a college sophomore.

Most importantly, Oss said, maintain a solid work history and cultivate business relationships, even after the job is done.

“When you do a good job, people respect you and want to work with you. Your work from the past sets you up for the future.”

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