In the age of digital, it’s how you represent yourself that sets you apart – whether that’s online or in person, it can be the key that opens the door to a world of employment. So, whether you’re the internet savvy journo with a head full of html, or the one with a head confused by the world of social media, here’s a guide to my experiences in how to present yourself.
See, I’ve always thought guides were a little patronising – telling you a ‘seemingly appropriate’ route and the best ways to get yourself in the pages of newspapers. But realistically, in an age where everyone’s in competition for the same staff roles or features positions, it’s a revolutionary attitude to the art of journalism that can set you apart.
For me, an idle 18-year-old, with a background in graphics and web design, I thought an application of using those skills might be a good option. So, within a few week of setting up my twitter account – @robbieflash – I made myself some visuals to match the iconography I wanted to set myself with my tweets. I was always bold, perhaps too much so, riffing at any corporations I could about the exploits they undertake to undermine potential young journalists.
And that probably gave me a bad reputation – which is not what you want – especially at the start of what I hoped was a long and prosperous career. But, how could I expand those early visuals, thoughts and ideas into a set of principles that I could send off to editors to best show myself off? In searching for the answer, I built myself a brand.
And so, the FLASH brand was born – and before long, I became known for the name/alias I’d invented myself, leading editors to start searching for my work. I built a positive reputation to counter the negative one, just by being savvy in the way that I presented materials online.
To many, the idea of ‘a brand’ might sound a daunting prospect, but it’s just about being clever. Think, how would you want to perceived online? And in what nature would you like to be known? I wanted to be audacious, bright and recognisable, so I built a brand to match.
So what exactly did it give me? Well more work for one, and a better reputation than the one I’d set myself at the start of my career. People began to understand who I really was, what I stood for and how I worked. All that – just for being a little bit creative in the way that I represented myself.
Anyone can do it – it’s not hard. It’s just about being savvy with the way you approach things. It’s about knowing how people absorb your work, and it’s about knowing what potential employers are looking for in a journalist.
Your brand doesn’t have to be as in your face as mine ever was – (my main profile picture on twitter, is a branded photo of me snarling at the photographer, more hair than face) – it can be whatever you want it to be. Just make sure you relate to yourself – so when you meet people, you represent the brand you’ve set online.
Keep it clever.
Having left school at 16 to take to the streets for his education, Robbie has a unique background and an education direct from the hand of the Occupy movement. While helping establish a number of independent record labels, he’s also contributed columns to the Guardian on his experiences outside the system of education. Now, at 18, he is contributing to the Evening Standard, NME, Guardian and Independent – he’s a name to watch. You can see some of his work here.
Photo on the home page by loop_oh
- Coca-Cola enter the world of brand journalism Journalism is currently going through a transition. As this transition...
- 12 questions from a young journalist (a la Carrie Bradshaw) Like many other young journalists, or indeed now old ones,...
- Cardiff and Guardian to launch a new Journalism MA – but will it be good for young journalists? The Guardian have announced a new partnership with Cardiff University...
- How to get ahead in radio: tips from an aspiring broadcast journalist. So, you know you want to get ahead in radio?...
- An Interview with Emma Cossey: Freelance Blogger and Social media journalist | Part two We spoke to Emma Cossey on Tuesday about how she...
After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look