Dockery Presents a Presentation on Presenting Yourself and Your Work

Dockery Presents a Presentation on Presenting Yourself and Your Work

Now that’s a mouthful. On 4/8/2015, Tyler Dockery lectured to the GDA about Presenting yourself, your portfolio, and your work.

Click here to download Tyler Dockery’s presentation presentation

In the first portion of the lecture, we discussed presenting yourself and the idiom that first impressions, interviews, and presentations are really 90% Perception and 10% Follow-through. We viewed several images of individuals and then tried to get an idea of their strengths and weaknesses, powers and abilities based solely upon their appearance. While we all agreed that this was stereotyping at best, we also agreed that certain visual archetypes helped us to judge and perceive without knowing everything.

Then we discussed clothing and personal ornamentation, and what that means, achieves, etc. For instance, Tyler Dockery worked with a design firm, Generate Design. At generate design, every designer wore a shirt and tie every day. The firm had a waiting area with posh design furniture, large iMac computers in plain sight, and Design magazines all around. This created a sense of upscale designers working in a strongly designed environment which was worth the estimates proposed.

Similarly, students entering one of Dockery’s classes for the first time will admit that they see him as someone who is particular, a stickler for the rules, no-nonsense, and needs things to be completed as quickly and professionally as possible. Students work hard, and provide good work. They also are pleased when they are not held at arms length, and find that classroom banter can be both personal and  professional at the same time.

Within the presentation, we discussed how resumes can be used to give an instant impression of your skills and talents. We discussed using the single page resume as a typographic and visual assignment to quickly show people what you know and how you do it. We discussed portfolio designs briefly, and what those said about you and your level of skill.

Within the presentation discussions, we talked about do’s and don’ts for your portfolio presentation, and three most common types of portfolio layouts: The front-heavy design, the front-back design, and the tentpole design.

  1. A front-heavy portfolio uses all of your good pieces at the beginning in an attempt to show all of your best work up front and really WOW the viewer. As the pieces trickle off at the end, they will keep that strong first impression.
  2. A front-back portfolio uses several very good pieces at the beginning (at least 3) and then the remaining good pieces at the end. This allows students to have a few strong pieces to WOW the viewer in the beginning, and then some strong pieces at the end to take their mind off of pieces in the middle which may not be so great.
  3. A tent pole design uses 1-3 strong pieces at the front, 1-2 strong pieces at the end, and then puts a strong piece between weak pieces. This lets a weak piece be followed by a strong piece and makes it seem even stronger in comparison. This also distributes good pieces throughout the portfolio, so that no sections seems weakest, and that a feeling of strong work stays throughout.

We ended our discussion with quick tips on how to present your work to clients when competing for money. Presenting to large groups is an important part of most design businesses, and Tyler Dockery managed to give out some quick hints (about 5-6) with recommendations about why these will be helpful in your presentation and perception throughout the design process. Some students thought that some of these methods seemed a bit underhanded, but business is occasionally war. Presenting is important, but never forget that you are presenting to win.


Open Letter to Students from Tyler Dockery

Dear Students,

I’d like to share a short email I exchanged with one of our non-GDA students. The question was a simple on: What do you do when you have no experience?

From: Student X
To: Tyler Dockery

Mr. Dockery,
I just have a small question about our resume that we have to create. I’ve only had one job and it doesn’t relate to graphic design. I had that job about a year ago and was wondering if I should just make something up for the sake of the project? If not, what should I put?


Student X

Student X,

Good question. If you don’t have experience, then what do you have? DO NOT fake on your resume. If you send it by mistake, you’re in big trouble and can get blacklisted on public service listings that headhunter and other agencies use. Avoid that.

I’ll send you a follw up email shortly


Dear Student X,

1) Do you have volunteer experience? This could be school related, club related, organizational, girl scouting, etc).
2) What qualities did your last job have that are good? Did you do customer service and problem solving? did you work with money and you are trustworthy and detail-oriented? Did you answer phones and route information? Did you carry out production work which allowed a company to work smoothly?
3) Are you currently an active member of a school or community group, such as the GDA (graphic Design Associates) here on main campus or the TIMA (triangle interactive media Association), or a networking group like Coffee and Contacts?
4) Do you have certifications that can pad your experience so that people will see your graduation date for 2015 or 2016 and understand you have strong design connections? If not, consider looking for and completing one or more free certificates on their site.
5) Are you currently an intern? Should you seek one if not? Have you listed all of your skills in software and programming?
6) Do you have your online website set ( if you don’t have one).
7) Have you sought out the career services office on Main campus (etb building hallway with our offices) and discussed your resume?

If all else fails, fill your resume with a face picture, vector images, photomanipulation, whatever will show your skills and talents.

I hope that helps. Research some Resumes and CV online and see what they’re showing. Revisit the resumes you felt were good examples and see what they have. I know you can do it.

Tyler Dockery
919-866-5383 Office

From: Student X
To: Tyler Dockery

Mr. Dockery,

Thank you so much, this really helped. I’ll have some work to do, and some stuff to research.


Portfolio Critique presented by Julie Evans, Carla Osborne, and Leslie Solomon

Portfolio Critique presented by Julie Evans, Carla Osborne, and Leslie Solomon

On Tuesday, Feb 17th, Marsha Mills and the GDA team were given an opportunity to have their work critiqued by Julie Evans, and Carla Osborne, Wake Tech Advertising and Graphic Design Faculty as well as Leslie Solomon, Adjunct Instructor of Advertising and Graphic Design.

“This was a great opportunity” mentioned Lynette Williams. “I got some feedback and I’ll make some changes.”

Several students will be participating in the AIGA portfolio reviews, and many students are working on their final portfolios. This represented a good chance for students to put their work into the hands of experienced designers outside the classroom.

“I think we’ll be well prepared for the AIGA review this year,” added Club Faculty Member Marsha Mills. “We’ve got some strong candidates and they really seem to be listening. Some students were a little disappointed with what they heard, but that’s really what a critique is all about.”

Many students showed their resumes and business cards as well as their Leave-behinds as part of this review. Faculty member Tyler Dockery pulled aside a few students and asked them about their thoughts.

“Everything you present will be scrutinized,” said Stan Mallard. “If your resume is boring, you must be boring. If your business card is amateurish— Surprise, they’ll see you as an amateur. If your work isn’t good, you won’t be a good hire. We’re really pushing ourselves to stand out.”

“I want to get a good job. That means ensuring that every piece in my portfolio is as good as it can be. But when the interview is done, this leave-behind will hopefully keep me on their mind.” said Ashley DiFabrizio. “This AIGA portfolio review will be a great networking opportunity”.