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A funny story I tell my workshop attendees: Once, I ordered 250 personal business cards from Vistaprint — only to find when I opened them that I’d spelled my occupation wrong: “worksop facilitator.”

There went 250 business cards into the trash. I’m ashamed to even type this, but I’m making a point: Spell-check your order before submitting it.

That said, my point today is a bit bigger than that. The real message is: You, as a job seeker, need your own personal business cards.

7 Reasons Why You Need Business Cards

  1. Networking events: Perhaps the most obvious reason why you need personal business cards is to make a good impression when networking. Most attendees of any given networking event will have them. Not having your own will separate you from the pack — in a bad way.
  2. 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 by attaching personal business cards to your resumes.
  3. Social gatherings: Even at casual gatherings with friends and family, you’ll want to carry business cards. This will remind people that you’re on the job search. That said, don’t go from person to person shoving your cards in their hands. Only give out cards when it makes sense.
  4. You come across as professional: When you were employed, your company probably gave you business cards to help you represent it positively. Now, you’re representing a company called Me, Inc.
  5. They’re easier to hand out than resumes: You don’t want to carry resumes everywhere you go. Plus, the people you’re networking with will appreciate a business card’s convenience over a full-size resume.
  6. They may create opportunities: People don’t remember everyone they meet at a networking event. Your personal business card serves as a good reminder — and it tells them how to get in touch with you if they want to talk more.
  7. They’re a call to action: When someone has one of your personal business cards, they’re more likely to call you back. Similarly, when you have someone’s personal business card, you’re more likely to follow up yourself.

What to Include on Your Business Cards

  1. Contact information: Your home address (optional), email address (make it professional), and telephone number (home or cell). No surprises here.
  2. Your social media accounts: Along with your LinkedIn profile URL, you can also list your Twitter handle, Facebook account, and website or blog, if appropriate.
  3. Major strengths: This is one of the most important bits of information. A personal business card with only contact information is of little value. As a potential networker, I’d need more information about you. Let’s say you’re in marketing. Your areas of strength might include social media, public relations, web content, and trade shows. Keep it short and sweet.
  4. A logo: I’m not a big fan myself, but if you have a professionally designed logo that truly represents what you do, go for it. No cheap logos from Google or templates from personal business card providers.
  5. A photo: Again, not a big fan, unless you’re in an occupation where such a thing is standard (e.g., real estate, modeling, acting). IT or finance or medical tech? I think not.
  6. 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 enough. Many job seekers do this. However, “Creating marketing literature that generate sales and increases visibility” is a much clearer statement of someone’s value.
  7. Leave the back blank: 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 you. Make sure to carry a pen with you in case your newfound connection needs one.

This post originally appeared on Things Career Related.

Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center.



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