She Plans Parties, Events & Celebrations! Sound like a cool career?
Jennifer Cleary's first job was bussing tables at a seafood restaurant in Wareham, MA. Now she's the Catering and Events Manager for a major Boston restaurant group. All day long she plans events, parties and celebrations for major companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft. She also plans bridal showers, wedding rehe arsal dinners and birthday celebrations that are hosted at the restaurant. (continued below the video)
Check out Jennifer's 'Cool Career' video here or on our YouTube Channel.
You might also like: "A Day in the Life of an Event Planner" or "Why the Hospitality Industry is Such a Great Place to Work"
Along the way she built-up her experience by working in restaurants as a hostess, waitress, bartender and restaurant manager.
Below she shares her Career Path and offers awesome tips on how YOU can start your #CoolCareer
Jennifer's Top Advice
Start working your way towards you 'Dream Career' NOW. Jennifer's first job in #TheBiz was bussing tables during the summer when she was in high-school. She also was a hostess, a waitress and a bartender. ALL of those jobs and experiences helped her succeed in her new career as an 'Event Planner".
Be open to new opportunities. Jennifer's friend needed help at the restaurant he worked at one night and she said "Sure!". That experience made her realize that she wanted to work in the restaurant industry.
Use Social Media to be the first to find out when jobs post. Jennifer followed Boston's major restaurant groups like "The Briar Group on Facebook (14 restaurants!). When she saw them post a job opening for 'Events Manager' she contacted them right away and after 2-3 interviews - she got the job!
Jennifer's Career Path
Start Jennifer is from Massachusetts - home to MANY seafood restaurants. During the summer she bussed tables for a local seafood restaurant in Wareham, MA. After the first night she walked away with a pocketful of cash and was hooked!
College Jennifer went to Newbury College in Brookline, MA. She wasn't sure what she was going to do there... Ultimately she graduated after 2 years with an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts. It has transferred very well for her in her career as an Event Planner.
#JustDoIt One night hanging out in the dorms... Her friend who worked at a local restaurant said he needed some help and asked if anyone could work the 'take-out' window? Jennifer said "Sure!". She had so much fun that night that she decided to make the 'Restaurant Industry' her career.
Top Tip: You never know when opportunity will arise. Be open to new adventures like Jennifer was and go for it! By her saying 'Yes' to helping her friend out that night - she found her path!
1st Job Jennifer's 1st "real job" after college was at 'The Rattlesnake Bar & Grill'. She was 21 years old. She was out to eat one night and decided to fill out an application! #WhyNot
2nd Job Jennifer's next job was with one of Boston's most famous restaurant groups: 'Legal Seafoods' - where she was a waitress.
Ambition Jennifer always strives for MORE in her work so she joined 'Legal Seafood's' "President's Advisory Council" (P.A.C.). They call you a 'P.A.C. Member'! The members of this group meet monthly with the President of Legal Seafoods and give him feedback. Among other things, they give the President feedback on what the customer's are saying... what they like and dislike.
Ambition On top of her waitressing duties - Jennifer was in charge of teaching the 'fish class' and the 'wine class' to new hires at the restaurant. A very prestigious role - as these are very important duties for new waiters and waitresses!
Travel Jennifer saved so much money that she decided to travel. She visited the U.K. and went to many places like Ireland. Fun Fact! Because she had this waitressing experience - she was able to get a job and worked at a pub in Ireland. A great life-experience for her!
3rd Job A great manager that Jennifer worked for put her in touch with 'Plaza 3' in Faneuil Hall. There she was hired as the "Bar Manager. This was a really big step in her career!
Jennifer really took advantage of her new job and worked hard to learn everything she could about the restaurant industry! She learned how to hire staff, file invoices and process inventory among many things. She wanted to learn all that she could about managing a restaurant
4th Job Jennifer's next job was at another famous Boston restaurant, the 'Globe Bar and Cafe' on Boylston. There she was Assistant General Manager to the owner AND she got to bartend 2 nights a week which let her continue to work on the service side of the job - the part she loves so much. Jennifer was working in the best of both worlds of the industry she loved - management and service.
It was Jennifer's customers who gave her the idea for her next career move - into Event Planning! You never know where you'll get inspiration - so always be listening and let people know that you need help!
The Search Jennifer was job-searching on CraigsList .org There she found an ad for a catering manager at The Harvard Club of Boston.
Just Try Jennifer had very little event planning experience - but she went for the interview anyway and stayed true to her personality and true to her career goals and the manager saw that. She was hired!
Promotion After a year Jennifer was promoted to 'Member Events Manager'. She was very excited to be working at a 5-Star Platinum Premiere Club! She worked with the provost of Harvard as well as judges, lawyers and doctors and they all listened to her! At first it was hard for her to believe...
Great Tip Jennifer succeeded in her new job because she just naturally treated all these people like they were someone sitting at her bar! She didn't get intimidated by them and kept confidence in herself.
Confidence With this new job, Jennifer's confidence grew, her resume grew and she was very very proud of herself for this accomplishment! She really learned the value of speaking well, sitting up straighter and being present - so important
Big Move After 8 years later she missed the social aspect of working in a restaurant and wondered how can she could combine the best of both worlds.
LinkedIn She ramped up her LinkedIn profile and used it to its full potential, she got clear on what she wanted to do, revisited her resume and really built it up.
Facebook Jennifer followed companies that she liked on Facebook. She watched their posts and events and one day a post came up from the Briar Restaurant Group saying they were looking for an event manager and to email a resume.
Interview 2 days later she went on an interview. It went great, she loved the vibe and was called in for a 2nd interview.
Success All of Jennifer's experience at different restaurants and The Harvard Club transferred well to this new position. Her hard work from her time bussing tables to waitressing to bartending really paid off... She was hired!
Jennifer is happy when she is making people happy!
Start Your Path to Becoming an Event Planner
Follow 'Events' 'Event Planner' & 'Event Planning' & 'Event Coordinator Job' boards on Pinterest. It's FREE! Start to create your own boards to inspire your next creation. Pinterest is great! Just start searching...
Offer to volunteer to create event or help with them at your school, church or community organizations. Make sure and take photos of yourself at work and post to your social media. You never know who's watching...
Take an hour a day to keep up with 'The Biz'. It's FREE to read 'Entertaining & Events' magazines online or at the library. Start to learn the top event planner's names and companies in any city you live in. Reach out to them to see if they hire during the summer or accept interns.
Create a unique Instagram ___ where you will post only your Event Experience and work. (NOT your skateboard adventures... that's for your personal social media). Start hash tagging and tagging event companies so they will learn about you and your interests and take notice!
Just like Jennifer - FOLLOW your favorite restaurants and event companies on Facebook. Comment on their awesomeness and when you see a Job Posting - go for it or ask them about an internship! Here's the Briar-Group's Facebook page!
Work your way UP! Many great event planners, chefs and restaurant owners started at the bottom. Once you have a dishwasher job or start bussing tables - you are on the INSIDE. You'll be the first to know when the restaurant you work for needs new staff and you can talk to you manager about giving you a shot! Ask to fill-in or shadow a team member on your day off. #ImpressTheBoss !
"The people in the restaurant industry are the nicest people you'll ever meet... the trendiest people you'll ever meet, most personable you'll ever meet - those are her people! Jennifer Cleary
"You can really find a job anywhere - once you have that experience in the 'Service Industry'. Jennifer Cleary