The importance of business cards can’t be overstated. They are an essential part of your job search process. Not having a job is no excuse for not having a business card.
One of the most important steps to finding a new job is networking. Successful networking involves meeting new people, and meeting new people involves exchanging contact information. It is far more embarrassing to write your name and phone number on a napkin at a bar (for a potential employer) than to hand them a crisp, new, custom business card.
The card can be simple. If you’re out of work, a student, or thinking of switching careers, start with the following:
- Your name
- Your phone number
- Your e-mail address
You can also add your address, your website’s URL, or your job title (“marketing consultant” for example). Some people even create a personal logo, although I would caution you to not use too many graphics or too much color unless you have a design background. The last thing that you want is a completely homemade looking card.
Once you have an idea of what you want your card to look like, log onto one of the many sites where you can order business cards. A few that I have tried in the past are GotPrint.com, VistaPrint.com, and FedEx.com.
Even nice cards should cost you less than $50. This is more than worth the investment when it comes to finding your next job. Some sites (Vista Print in particular) offer an option to print your cards for free. If you print free cards, Vista Print will put their website on the back or bottom of your card. I would encourage you to try to pull together the $50 to pay for premium cards at Vista Print or one of the other sites. They look more professional and minimize the chances that you’re going to look either inexperienced or desperate for a new job.
Once you have your business cards, TAKE THEM WITH YOU. Everywhere. Do not leave home without them. Ever. I keep business cards in my purse, my car, my wallet, my jacket, and any other place with a pocket. I don’t ever want to miss a networking opportunity, and if you are looking for a job, neither should you.
Last but not least, don’t forget to give your business cards away. Don’t be shy. That’s what they’re for. Most people will give you theirs in return. And if they don’t, it’s probably because they don’t have one and are too embarrassed to write their phone number on a napkin.