A funny story I tell my workshop attendees is about how I ordered 250 personal business cards on www.vistaprint.com, only to find when I opened them that I’d spelled my occupation wrong: “worksop facilitator.”
There went 250 personal business cards into the trash. I’m ashamed to put this in print, but I’m making a point; make sure you spell-check your order before submitting it. This is hardly the point of this blog post, though.
Read about electronic business cards.
The overlying message is that, as a job seeker, there are seven reasons why you need personal business cards and seven facts you must include on them.
Why you need personal business cards.
- Networking events. Perhaps the most obvious reason why you need personal business cards is at events where everyone will have them. Not having personal business cards will separated you from the other attendees…in a bad way.
- Job fairs. A great way to introduce yourself to companies for which you’d like to work is by going to job fairs. Impress company reps with your personal business cards attached to your résumés.
- Social gatherings. Even at family gatherings you’ll want to carry business cards. Help your family and friends remember you’re in the job search, but don’t go from person to person shoving your cards in their hands.
- You come across as professional. Remember when you were employed and had company business cards? The company required you to have them to represent it. Now you’re representing a company called Me. Inc.
- They’re a calling card and smaller than your résumé. You don’t want to carry around your résumés because they’re bulky and hard to keep flat. Think about other networkers and how they’d feel carrying your document around.
- They may create opportunities. Related to #’s 1 and 2, people may not recall someone with whom you can speak or of an opening at a company; but when they get home or are at their office, one of your personal business cards may cause light bulbs to go off, leading to phone calls.
- They’re a call to action. When someone has one of your personal business cards, they’re more likely to call you back than if they have a piece of paper with your name and number on it. Similarly, when you have someone’s personal business card, you’re more likely to follow-up on your encounter.
What to include on your personal business cards.
- Contact information. This is the most obvious information: your home address (optional), e-mail address (make it professional), and telephone number (home or cell). No surprises here.
- Include your social media accounts. Along with your public LinkedIn profile URL, you can also list your Twitter handle, Facebook account, and website or blog. This will lead people to more information about you and your social media savviness.
- Major areas of strength. This is one of the most important bits of information. I’ve seen personal business cards with only contact information on them. As a potential networker, I’d need more information. Let’s say you’re in Marketing. Four areas of strength might include, Social Media, Public Relations, Web Content, Trade Shows. Keep it short and sweet.
- A logo. I’m not a big fan, but if you have a professionally designed logo that truly represents what you do, brands you; go for it. No cheap logos from Google Images or ones from templates from personal business card providers.
- A photo. Again, not a big fan unless you’re in the proper occupation, like real estate, modeling, acting, and others where your appearance is your calling card. IT or finance or medical tech? I think not.
- A branding statement. This may work well if it is short and descriptive enough to show value. Something like, “I fix things that break” is not descriptive because many job seekers do this. However, “Creating marketing literature that generate sales and increases visibility,” is clearer in terms of what the person does.
- Extra hint: leave the back bare. That’s right. You might be tempted to provide more information on the back, but this is valuable real estate for networkers who’d like to take notes about what you discussed. Make sure to carry a pen with you so your new-found networker can write on your card.
My faux pas with my order of business cards is only superseded by a dear networker I know who misspelled his last name on this business card. It goes without saying that you must carefully edit your business card template before having it produced by a brick and mortar company or online. Most importantly, don’t be caught without a business card.
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Bob, related to #7 about keeping the backside blank, I also don’t like business cards that have a dark color on the back. It makes it difficult to write down notes.
Great point, Rich. Perhaps leaving 3/4 of it blank. The point being is that if you’re having a great conversation, you want the person to be able write a note or two. Thanks.
Excellent article Bob .I love the vistaprint story of a misspelled card. I too suggest vistaprint to my job seekers but the ultimate product you get always looks a little “cheap” . I used them to get my new workforce position cards, and i was disappointed when they came. I even ordered some additional features.
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I have printed a QR code on the back of some of mine that I keep in my wallet in case I run out of cards. The QR code goes directly to my contact information that a person can store on their phone rather than take a piece of paper.
You can do it so it leaves plenty of space if you need it too.
Great advice, Jim. It’s not only convenient for your networking partner, it shows your technical savviness.
How do you do this? I think this would be a great component to add and I am currently working on creating a business card for myself.
There are a number of QR code generators out there. Google search them, then create a code that has your contact info in it. Once it is generated, just download the image and print it on cards, flyers, brochures, website, where ever
You threw away 250 perfectly good small note cards / bookmarks! (I use old business cards from former jobs for quick notes / shopping lists.)
The back of mine is slightly more than 3/4 blank but includes a few things that didn’t fit well on the front. The front is “business” (email, linkedin, “what I do”). The back has my home web site and my Twitter info. Still, plenty of space for jotting notes.
On the topic of leaving space on the back to jot notes, do NOT get cards that are shiny on both sides. Gel pens will smear.
Great advice about the paper stock. Matted sock is best for writing on. Thanks Vicki
Bob, excellent points. However, your perceived faux pas only shows that basic QA has gone the way of the mimeograph. I can understand if a person’s name is spelled wrong, but “workshop”? Companies should take responsibility for things like that, that’s why they’re called professenal – ah, professional.
I must confess being embarrassed by committing such a faux pas. The blame lays solely on me. Thanks for your support, though.
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I spoke with someone who had a typo on their _truck_. He said that the company that painted it paints exactly the copy they receive. They don’t review, proof, or comment. They accept what used to be called “camera ready copy”.
That was 20 years ago.
Great thoughts, Bob. As a “lab rat” for many years, I likely gave away fewer than 100 cards over the years. This advice sounds like a good way to use business cards and sell myself.
Thanks John. If you’re out of work, you’ll want to give out more cards than you have, but the key is to be selective. Don’t pass them out like candy.
Now I’m imagining candy business cards. Perhaps a card attached to a card-sized rectangle of fine dark chocolate, or a wafer-thin mint…
I think they are still useful. One of my colleagues in RMU’s Doctoral Program wrote his thesis on why they still are used, especially by small business owners. Now we need an app, so our smart phones can capture the info on a business card and put it into our contacts.
Evernote does this very well. Will take a picture of the card, and put it into contact format in Evernote.
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Great advice, thanks for sharing.
However, I do feel compelled to point out a typo appears twice in bullet point 7. It says “cared” instead of “card”. Kind of ironic with the “worksop” snafu.
Thanks, Jeri. And thanks for pointing out the snafus.
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Great article..Some of your suggestions did not occur to me..
Interesting article, Before reading, business card is normal. after reading, I notice the effectiveness and need to distribute if it is need. Thanks
#6 Photo on Card: I love it when people have pictures on their card.. even if it’s small. When I go to a networking event, or a convention where there are 700 of the same profession, I will remember the FACE of someone I spoke to. I know there are other tricks to keeping the important cards separate or marked, but for me, seeing the face is the biggest trigger.
P.S. Yes, my photo is on my business card 🙂
Excellent article!!! Everyone needs to have a business card. People forget that in this day and age of disposible jobs and disposible employees, YOU are marketing YOU, not the company that you work for! Electronic age? I don’t think when it comes to business cards!!! I have proof. I receive so many business cards on a daily basis that I need to purchase a new business card binder, which I keep in my brief case. For those who are not familiar with this product, It is a small, long and thin or rectangular mini-binder with plastic holders (about 4-6 per page) that house client/networkers/business associates/vender or any business card that is handed to you. Great tool in this electronic age!
Please take a look at our new Interactive Business Cards ‘Kwikcards’.
Fully Brand designed, Updateable across all installed instances.
Share your card installation link by Email or Text!
Perhaps Things Career Related may consider doing a post on them!
If so we would be delighted to help out.
Perhaps in exchange for a free personal business card. 😉
If you complete the individual card details and then press send I will receive all of your details. (Just dont make the paypal payment!! 🙂
I will follow your instructions and test out your product. From what I see, it looks really cool.
Thanks for sharing with us such an informative post.
I am glad that I found your post. I want to know the concept of QR code on a name card, but now I have some idea how its work. SO, thank you so much for shading some points on the name card.
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My brother is thinking about making some business cards for himself soon, so thanks for sharing these tips. I like your point about including a photo if you are in an occupation like real estate or modeling. I can see this being a big help for people who struggle to remember faces.
Thanks for the comment, Derek. I appreciate you taking the time. Generally I’m not a huge fan of a photo on a personal business card, but the electronic business card is different.
I never knew that business cards could be this helpful. I like how you said that even during family or friend gatherings, they might be useful. It makes sense that being prepared for work wherever you are is a good idea!
Thank you, Silas. Job seekers should have business cards on them wherever they go. At a social gathering, they might run into someone who is a hiring authority at a company they’d like to work for. Is this highly likely? Probably not, but it only takes one conversation.
I have gained decades of volunteer work experience much of my life and want to know if business cards are necessary?
Definitely, Emeldrid. Even if your work is voluntary, you want to show off the skills you used/developed.
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Very informative Sir! Well said. Business Cards is so very helpful to your business and you must need one. Thank you for sharing this facts.Keep it up.