Presentation Styles

If you listen to the noise from the cyber crowd, sooner or later, you’ll run into the clique of people who use buzz words like, “personal brand,” “positioning,” “global market” and “unique value proposition.” Branding gurus now populate blogs and hold educational courses that teach strategies to savvy professionals looking for the best ways to leverage their credentials and relationships. Culturally, we have gotten accustomed to tuning out jargon and buzz words – even the helpful ones. But there’s something to be said for knowing your value and taking the time to document it.

Woody Allen is credited with saying that 80% of life (and success) is just showing up. Sometimes showing up has to include showing off. Dr. Oliver Myers, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering at Mississippi State University, has been gracious enough to give access to his professional portfolio so that you can get a good look at a few of the pieces you can craft (or have crafted) to represent you.

Represent You, Inc.

It is easy to overlook the importance of maintaining an updated portfolio of your professional, educational and personal experiences. Typically, we use our portfolio only when necessary to secure gainful employment. But change your focus. A professional portfolio is an up-to-the-minute representation of your achievements and value and it is a great tool for leveraging new opportunities in your field aside from your day job. Your portfolio should represent who you are, what you have done, what you are doing and where you are going.

The Overview.

Begin with an up-to-date Curriculum Vitae (CV). The CV is an all-inclusive outline of your education, professional work history, research, published works, presentations, keynote opportunities, professional affiliations and community involvement.

See an Example: Active CV.

Publish or Perish!

It’s a common refrain amongst doctoral candidates and like it or not, it’s mostly true. Where is that flagship publication that cemented your place in science, research history? Now’s the time to get it out and include it in your portfolio.

See Examples: Piezoelectric Morphing, NDE MSP.

Onward and Upward.

Dr. Myers includes several documents including current projects and proposed studies that support and build on his previously published works.

See Examples: Future Research, Final Copy, Numeric Modeling.

Stay Ready – Deliverables

All relationships are based on deliverables, professional relationships in particular. Most of us are familiar with the concept of merit pay increases wherein pay raises are calculated and given based on performance (of the individual, team, department or branch). Always think in terms of deliverables. Intentions rarely count for anything where production is concerned.
Your portfolio is a short record of all the times you’ve delivered in the past and a description of the areas you plan explore in the future. Build your portfolio and place it on a jump drive so that when an opportunity presents itself, you are always ready. Dr. Myers, recommends that your jump drive should have 3-4 topic item groups:

  1. Resume or CV – give your academic and professional “life-story”
  2. Research Summary Charts – one page, graphical executive summaries of your current research and proposed research directions. If a manager, executive, etc does not have time to thoroughly go through your resume and/or journal publications, this will give a good snapshot of your work.
  3. 2-3 Journal Publications – writing samples and verification that your research is peer-reviewed and credible.
    And lastly make yourself a business card – with up-to-date contact information.