Recently I was doing a presentation on Job Search Strategies at a community college in Dallas, TX. I was telling those in attendance the necessary things they should do to successfully “brand” themselves and get job leads. One of the things I mentioned was networking and getting business cards from others and having yours with you so you can follow up with those you come in contact with. One of the students named Lenesha L. said, “You mean you don’t have to have a business to have business cards?” How profound! I have never thought of putting it that way, but the answer is emphatically NO!! You do not have to have a business to have business cards.
A business card is like a mini resume. It should list the most important things about you that you think an employer would be interested in knowing. Think of it as a way to entice them to find out more about you….sort of something to “hold them over” until you meet again or until they get your resume. Having business cards makes you look more polished and professional. You never know who you might meet that may have an opportunity you’re interested in. While you are networking with them and you have their attention, you want to be prepared to sell yourself and a business card is a great way to do that.
What you list on your business cards is completely up to you, but here are some suggestions:
2. Contact information – phone number and e-mail address
3. Bilingual language skills
4. Years of experience in a particular area
5. Education – degree, university name, graduation date
6. Particular position you are seeking
7. Career goals and interests
8. Professional Affiliations/Student Organizations
9. Volunteer Work/Internship
10. Professional picture of yourself or industry image
11. Your personal slogan or philosophy
You can put information on the front and back of your business cards. A good idea is to put a QR code (www.qrstuff.com) on the back with a link to your online portfolio, website, blog or LinkedIn profile. This will come in handy when networking as the other person can pull up more information about you right on the spot.
You can get business cards very inexpensively. I have often used www.vistaprint.com which has several templates to choose from. You can design your own cards in no time. Also you can create them in Microsoft Word or Publisher using their business card template. Once you have created your template, save it to your flash drive and take it to Office Max or Office Depot and tell them to print them on business card paper for you. They will cut them as well.
So, don’t ever think you have to actually be employed to have business cards. It is your mini resume that you should have with you at all times so you will be prepared when you come across that next great opportunity!