Whether you are attending a job fair, a career networking event, or meeting a contact one-on-one, it's a good idea to have a career-focused business card, so it's easy for people you meet to follow up with you.
Keep business cards on hand even if you're not attending a job search-focused event. Networking can happen anywhere: You might meet helpful contacts during parties, on trips, or at other social events.
Before you leave an event or end a conversation, hand out your business card and express your wish to keep in touch. This will often prompt people to reciprocate by sharing their own business card, too. Having a business card available helps you appear professional and prepared. Plus, unlike a resume, it's easy to carry business cards around at all times. Read on to find out more about what information to have on your business card, as well as where to get them.
What to Include on Your Business Card
Today's job seekers have the opportunity to present more than just the basic contact information traditionally included with business cards. A business card provided by your employer will include your name, job title, employer, phone number, and email address.
For your own personal business card, you can leave off your job title and employer. Instead, of a job title, include a broad description of your work, such as writer, accountant, marketing professional, designer, etc. If you use a two-sided card, you will be able to include additional information and avoid cluttering the front of the card.
Be Sure to Include Links: Incorporating the address of your LinkedIn Profile provides the opportunity to showcase accomplishments and recommendations. A link to a business-oriented personal website can also convey professional information.
For many career fields, a link to a portfolio site can be an effective way to showcase designs, writing, or other projects which will prove to prospective employers that you have the right stuff for your target job. Whichever link you choose to include on your business card, make sure it's short and easy to type into a browser.
Consider Adding a Tagline: Some job seekers include a tagline on the second side of their card like "A technology consultant with a cutting-edge grasp of networking strategies and a proven record of completing projects on time and within budget." Others will use the backside of the card to list three to five key skills or knowledge assets which they offer to employers.
Think of your tagline or top skills as being like your elevator speech. You want to share a quick look at your skills and background, and help people remember you once they're back in the office after an event.
Design Tips for Business Cards
It's a good idea to use a template or hire a professional designer for your business card. Most sites that print business cards have templates available. Here are a few design guidelines to keep in mind:
Leave Plenty of White Space: There is a lot of information you can include, but it's important not to clutter your card. Leave plenty of white space, so it's easy to read. Think about what information will present your candidacy most effectively before you start designing a business card.
Consider a Headshot: While it's generally not recommended to include a photo on your resume, it is appropriate to include your photo on your business card. The decision is up to you, but note that including a photo may help people recall your conversation later on (faces can be easier to remember than names). Just be sure to use a professional image: the photo you use for your LinkedIn profile is a great option.
Keep the Design Clean and Simple: Opt for a standard font, and avoid using several fonts on your business card. Use a reasonable, readable font size — too small, and people will have difficulty reading your business card.
QR Codes on Business Cards: You can also include a QR code that can be scanned by a smartphone and is linked to a website URL so the viewer can get more information.
Where to Get Business Cards
There are plenty of low-cost, even free, options for getting business cards printed. Some of the most popular online options for low-cost business cards are Moo, Zazzle, Overnight Prints, and Vistaprint. Most companies offer templates, which help steer you through the process and ensure that you wind up with a readable, well-designed option.
You can also use Canva's free business card maker to design your own card.
Google "free business cards" for a list of companies that will give you free cards, but be aware there may be a fee for shipping and for add-ons. You can also find free templates online. Another option is retail stores like Staples where you can get help with the design as well as printing.