By Isabel Pulgarin
Who are you? What is your story? What are your ethics? What is your craft? What is your brand? These are existential questions asked and pondered over during adjunct communication professor Stephanie Bertini’s Oct. 17 lecture on how to package yourself in the real world.
Although for aspiring media professionals, her insight on personal and professional branding is invaluable to all majors. She talked about the importance of analyzing your experience and what you stand for to make up your brand.
“When I talk about looking at your brand objectively and standing outside of it, you need to look at it as a thing. It is a you, it is a person, but it is a thing,” said Bertini. “In the world that we live in, branding is multi-layered and multi-functional.”
Bertini is an award-winning broadcast journalist born and raised in Toronto to an Italian family. She is an award-winning storyteller, having covered all the topics under the sun, except for sports.
“I started in Canada, and my dream was to be a reporter in New York City and all my professors were, like, ‘That’s not gonna happen. You’re Canadian. ... I remember I was three years reporting at a Canadian station, and I went to New York, and I was knocking on doors—I couldn’t get in, I couldn’t get an agent. ... I’ve lived this; I’ve heard nos. And what did I do: I kept working on my craft, working on my brand.”
As a student, here is your plan of action according to Bertini:
“You got to put in the hours. You gotta put in the time. Don’t complain. Ask questions. Be consistent. Be inquisitive. Do more. Go the extra mile,” she said.
First, create a goal binder. Starting every semester, or even every year like Bertini, make big personal and professional goals and map out the subgoals to get there.
Next, mold your resume for the job and career you want and are applying for. Attach an appropriate cover letter that molds your experience and any notable projects with every job. For media professionals, always have a working demo reel or portfolio of past projects that you’re constantly updating as you work on your craft.
“What are you bringing to the table? You need to go in as a learner, but also with some skills that you can contribute,” she said.
Headshots, headshots, headshots. She was strict about these: take headshots every two years with different cutoffs around the chest and hips to accommodate wherever you upload it.
“For everybody in general: solid lines, clean, no patterns, bright colors, professional. Polished, polished, polished,” she said.
Then go through your social media with a fine-tooth comb. Your prospective employer will look likely you up online for your reputation. She said the main profiles that are worth the upkeep are Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
Also, make sure to also have a refined LinkedIn account for job and intern opportunities. Students use this as a more professional Facebook, if you will.
“LinkedIn is basically your online resume. It should be polished, it should be professional, it should have a professional headshot,” she said.
And when you do seek out jobs, internships, volunteer work, and any other opportunities, be intentional about your time. All your experience and skills will make it to your resume so mold your capabilities how you see fit.
Lastly, make content and updates on your craft and brand—they merge into one at the end. You’re going to make your work your life—at least that’s what Bertini hopes—so be in it to feel fulfilled and to be a constant student of the craft.
Laura Blanco is one of Bertini’s senior practicum students this semester. As a TV and Digital Media major minoring in journalism, she has been working with Bertini to help package her for the tough market of sports journalism.
“She has helped me refine my application materials and given me great advice on how to approach the job search,” said Blanco.
For those with questions and concerns you’d like to clarify about entering the big world of career building can email Bertini at email@example.com.