In a slow job market, it can pay to get creative. If there is a company you are dying to work for (or do work for if you are a freelancer) consider putting together a promotional kit for yourself. Here are some ideas to get you started.
What to Include:
Though your approach is more non conventional, you will still want to include a resume. There are literally thousands of websites with lots of information about how to create a great resume, so dive in and soak up all the advice you can and implement what feels right to you. Some of the most basic rules of thumb, however are to keep you resume to no more than two pages, and to make it as up to date as possible. In this case a cover letter that explains your experience, qualifications, and skills is a great idea as well.
Gather some testimonials or short letters of recommendation from employers or clients from your fairly recent working past. If you received any special awards or commendations, feel free to include these as well. Try to keep this section to no more than two pages, and keep the content short, succinct and readable as well, as you don’t want to bog your readers (in this case your prospective employers or clients) down while they are perusing your promotional kit. Bullet points are always a great way to go for brevity and scanning ability.
In a similar fashion, make a list of professional references with adequate contact information for each. A typical resume will not necessarily include this, but since you are expanding into a personal promotional kit, you will want prospective employers or clients to have this information on hand from jump street.
If it is appropriate to the line of work you are seeking, put a few pages of your portfolio in your promotional kit. Copywriters, graphic designers, illustrators, and photographers should include up to 15 samples of their work, color copied in high quality. Since you are creative enough to produce your own promotional kit, feel free to include examples of your work in various genres if you wish. A lot of companies are downsizing and job combining recently, and might jump at the chance to have someone on board that can impressively display a wide variety of different skill sets.
Besides your portfolio, you can also include other visual aids such as charts and graphs that relate to your employment or work history (if appropriate) and even a personal head shot photograph. A great photograph can help to make you a real person rather than a bunch of words on a page.
Printing and Binding
As stated above, your portfolio items will need to be printed using a high quality color digital printer. Your resume and references should be printed on high quality paper as well.
As far as binding, you have a myriad of options. Plastic comb and spiral coil will provide some nice functionality, but those styles are nit the fanciest you will ever see. A nice twin loop bound booklet with a nice thick board cover gives a little more of an elegant look and feel. Better yet might be thermal binding in which you essentially create a hardcover book. The machines that do all of these types of binding are inexpensive and easy to use, and having them on hand gives you added flexibility and the ability to produce however many of your kits you need to on a moments notice.