Getting hired in the broadcasting industry requires more than just a conventional resume. You need to showcase your skills through a compelling demo reel and carefully selected work samples. In other words: a portfolio.
But how do you make a broadcasting portfolio that resonates with employers and gets you the job you want?
To find out, we turned to Bev Edmondson, a veteran of the broadcasting industry with more than 25 years of experience. She also happens to teach the Broadcasting and Media Communications program here at Herzing.
Read on for expert advice on how to make yourself stand out to potential employers.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Key Elements of a Broadcasting Portfolio
- Showcasing Broadcasting Skills
- Creating a Compelling Demo Reel
- Personal Branding for Broadcasters
KEY ELEMENTS OF A BROADCASTING PORTFOLIO
A broadcasting portfolio should have three basic components:
- Resume: If you don’t have much experience, try a functional resume format that emphasizes your education and skills as opposed to your employment history.
- Writing samples: Show off your storytelling capabilities with samples of scripts, blog posts, or other copy you’ve created.
- Demo reel: Your reel should include snippets or full segments that highlight your skills in different aspects of broadcasting.
However, this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. "A portfolio is a specialized tool. You don’t send the same portfolio to apply for all jobs,” says Bev.
“You might have 20 different items for a portfolio, but you only include the pieces that pertain to the position you are applying for. For instance, if I’m applying for a journalism job, I will not include my promotional and copywriting scripts."
So what should you include? Select samples and radio clips based on the role and job description. Bev has specific tips for those looking for different broadcasting positions:
Copywriter: “You'd probably want to include about 10 pieces of your best copy. You want a combination of hard sell and soft sell commercials and some slice of life stuff, where the announcers are like actors in a spot.”
Social media coordinator: “You want some stylized graphics and maybe a video of yourself talking about yourself. Include some video, some photos, some graphics, maybe some headlines or one-liners, a couple of blogs, and maybe even a link to a podcast.”
Audio producer: “You don't have to have voiced the spots; you have to have put them together. So in that case, you want to include a combination of different kinds of commercials. You want to include what we call imaging—that's internal promotion and branding of the station, like when you hear, 'You're listening to Power 97, Winnipeg's best rock.' Personalizing a public service announcement is also a good idea for a radio portfolio because every radio station does public service announcements."
Click the link below for an example of an audio vignette. This one was researched, voiced, and produced by Herzing student Tom Brown.
SHOWCASING BROADCASTING SKILLS
Your resume or website should clearly list your broadcasting skills, such as copywriting, on-air announcing, or video editing. But your portfolio needs to show those skills in action.
To do this successfully, provide links or embed samples of your best work: full interviews, news segments, event coverage, or any other broadcasting projects you’ve been involved in. It’s important to choose pieces that demonstrate a range of skills. For a broadcast journalism portfolio, that can include live reporting, on-location interviewing, and studio work.
Bev says context and details are key. “For each sample you include, say where it was used and if it was successful. A lot of people don’t do that, and that’s what employers are looking for. If you did a great social media campaign, note that it increased hits to the website by 20 per cent or whatever. Metrics are really important.”
Positive testimonials can also be a great way to verify your skills and boost your professional credibility. Ask for recommendations on platforms like LinkedIn and showcase them on your website.
CREATING A COMPELLING DEMO REEL
If you’re applying for anything on air, you need to have a demo reel.
Be picky about what goes on your reel. If possible, use stories that have already gone to air. Always focus on quality over quantity, and make sure you lead with your strongest stuff.
“Your best material has to go at the top because you might send two minutes and they might listen to 30 seconds of it,” says Bev. “It needs to be fairly current material, and it needs to flow.”
Think about the target demographic of the station you’re applying to. A demo for a country radio station aimed at older people is going to be different than a demo for a pop station whose audience is primarily young adults.
Finally, focus on what’s around you. “Local is really important on a demo tape,” says Bev. “We’re never going to do some things as well as Sirius does, and the rural stations aren’t going to do some things as well as Winnipeg does. So what everybody has to do is reflect their community back to themselves.”
The video below is an example of a broadcasting project by Herzing student Kelsey Sutherland. It showcases local hangout spot The Forks.
PERSONAL BRANDING FOR BROADCASTERS
Personal branding can help you stand out in a competitive job market. Use your portfolio to tell a story about your broadcasting journey, highlighting key achievements and showcasing your versatility when it comes to independent reporting.
Craft a unique persona. Whether it’s your voice, style of delivery, or on-air presence, aim to create a memorable and authentic character that resonates with your target audience.
“Your brand is extremely important. You can be conservative, or you can be a little bit out there,” says Bev. “You could be funny, although funny has a short shelf life, so you want to have a good sense of humour and an open mind as opposed to being a joke teller.”
Remember that personal branding is an ongoing process, and it should evolve as your career progresses and as you develop new professional goals.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO MAKE A BROADCASTING PORTFOLIO
Students in Herzing’s broadcasting program develop practical skills in reporting, announcing, copywriting, audio and video production, and more. They create a variety of broadcasting projects and complete a six-week internship at a local media outlet.
Training is delivered online and takes just 12 months.
Need more info? Reach out to admissions. An advisor will be happy to walk you through the program and answer any questions you may have.
Click below to get full program details and chat live with an advisor. We’re here to help!