Trade shows, conventions, and conferences are back in full force and are bigger and more experience-driven than ever before. That said, many organizations, organizers, and even venues are outsourcing their staffing need to event staffing agencies that specialize in these types of events. So what does that mean for you? If you’re looking to get your foot in the door with an event staffing agency, this is a great place to start since there are often many positions to fill. Another bonus is that conference and trade show jobs are a quick money-maker since the shifts are typically longer than other types of one-off events (for example, you could easily work 20-30 hours over 3 day period).
Below we’ll dive into conference and trade show jobs and discuss what they entail and what you can expect.
Event Job Trends: Conferences and Trade Shows
What roles are available, and what would my responsibilities be?
Greets and welcomes guests into the venue, distributes swag bags and other collateral
Badge prep and distribution, credential scanning, provides information packets
Directional/Help Desk Staff
Provides directional assistance and information to help attendees navigate the venue
Prepares event spaces and meeting rooms for presentations. Keeps area neat, and assists with various requests during presentations or meetings
Oversees the event staff team from start to finish
What qualifications are needed?
If you enjoy meeting new people and are comfortable approaching and conversing with strangers, then this job is for you! Some of the key traits that staffing agencies seek for their trade show and conference clients include:
Excellent communication skills and a beaming personality
Well-spoken, friendly, and highly approachable
Team players who take direction well
A positive and proactive, can-do attitude
What is the dress code?
Black dress pants, black closed-toed shoes
Uniform shirts are provided
What is the pay rate?
Pay rates vary by event, and many factors are taken into consideration, such as location, role, and responsibilities. Typically, you can expect to earn $18-$30/hour for general trade show and conference work; for higher profile conferences and trade shows, and more skilled roles (presenters, emcees, models, hostesses, etc.), the range typically increases.
How many hours can I expect to work?
Trade shows and conferences are typically multi-day affairs, and shifts are usually at least 8 hours long.
How Do I Get Started?
If you’re not currently registered with an event staffing company, you can start here.
Market yourself! Make sure your staff profile stands out, and that it is current and complete.
Include skills, keywords, or experience that would be applicable to a trade show or conference job on your profile. If you’re unsure of what to list, think of any customer-facing experience that you have: retail or restaurant hospitality work, brand ambassador, customer service, volunteering, etc.
Add a current headshot. Your photo doesn’t have to be professional, but your appearance should be. Be sure to wear your best smile!
Because you are serving as the face and voice of the brand or organization you are representing, you are responsible for creating an exceptional experience for attendees. Making a great impression on the client, your teammates, event managers, and attendees will go a long way in getting booked for future event jobs.
Always Be Prepared
Review communication from your booking agent as soon as you receive it. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask – you don’t want to be stuck an hour before your event with missing information.
Review the information again in the days leading up to the event to ensure you are fully prepared. This includes things like where to park, where to go upon arrival, on-site contact information, your schedule for the day, and uniform requirements.
Be prepared for your shifts by reviewing any training materials that have been sent and/or researching the brand, product/service you are representing on your own.
Show up 15-30 mins before your scheduled shift to allow for unforeseen issues.
Trade shows and conferences are typically large-scale, and navigating the space and security areas can take time
Arriving early also allows you time to track down your on-site contact, go to the restroom, and go through the staff check-in process without feeling rushed.
Pay attention during training and ask questions as needed.
Training is generally fast-paced, and to be successful, you need to have a full understanding of what’s expected of you and your objectives. Don’t be afraid to ask questions during training…if you’re thinking it, others probably are, too.
ALWAYS approach attendees with a smile and radiate positivity.
Engage them in conversation and be warm, kind, and friendly.
Go out of your way to help them if they have a question or need assistance.
Cell phone use (other than taking photos for the client or your staffing agency) is prohibited during work hours.
Use common sense – do not drink alcohol, smoke/vape during your shift, talk about politics or heated topics, etc.
Take Care of Yourself
A well-maintained appearance is essential
Wear comfortable shoes
Understand your break schedule and take your breaks as scheduled
Bring water, snacks and pack a meal (if not provided)
Trade shows, conventions, and conferences occur consistently throughout the year and take place in cities nationwide. Working these types of events gives you a golden opportunity to network, and make friends, and is a great addition to your resume.
Interested in working on these types of events? Join our team today!
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