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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