Think business cards are just for company employees? Think again. They're great networking tools that you should add to your job-seeker toolbox. These tips will help you produce cards that are professional, polished, and memorable.
What to Include
A personal business card should provide the contact information necessary to get in touch with you. Your phone number and email are most important, but you should also include links to your relevant social media profiles like LinkedIn or Twitter. And if you have a website or blog, consider including its link if you think it will help you impress employers.
Don't over-clutter the card. Stick to the basics, and leave off these extras:
- Your address
- Your specific job experience
- Your fax number
- Multiple phone numbers (stick to your main number)
Options like these may help you stand out:
- A tag line: How do you summarize yourself professionally in a sentence?
- A photo: Pictures can help people remember you.
How to Design Them
The font should be readable and consistent. Don't go for cute, or your card will be thrown away. If you have a personal logo, include it, but make sure it's not so distracting that people are turned off.
Paper choice is important. If the card stock you use is too flimsy, it cheapens your image. Opt for thicker stock, look at different textures, and consider matte versus glossy when printing.
Business cards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Simply displaying the information vertically makes your card a bit unique. You could also play around with skinny business cards (about the size of a stick of gum) and foldouts.
And speaking of design, it's important to determine your budget for creating the cards. It's easy to get carried away with all the options. If you're on a shoestring budget, go with Vistaprint.com or Moo.com, which offer basic templates you can customize. If you've got a little bit more to spend, try 99designs.com, which has designers vying to create your cards, all at a modest cost. If your budget is even higher, work with a graphic designer who can help you customize what you want to portray with your business card.
Putting Them to Good Use
Bring plenty of cards whenever you attend a networking event. In fact, bring more than you think you'll need to err on the side of caution. Practice good exchange etiquette and don't be a business card bomber. In other words, don't shove cards in the hands of everyone in sight, without bothering to engage.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.