You probably meet new people every day. But do you know who they are, their skills, their network? With business cards, everybody can share their main activity, skills and address, even if they met only 2 minutes ago. Which other way do you have to give that much information and create potential opportunities? Business cards are great tools to share basic information and address, but when you leave a company most of the network you created can’t reach you anymore. This is something you have to avoid!
Having personal business cards is important because, even if you are committed in your your company, there are times when you want to promote you and not your employer. As a final year student, I have just made mines in order to improve my personal branding and potentially find a job. So let’s review how you can create and design your own personal business cards.
Why you should have personal business cards
- With a personal business card on you, and if it has been well thought, you have a real resume at anytime. Who never felt that not having a CV while meeting some people was too bad? But obviously you can’t have your A4 resume on you all the time.
- Business card… It is even in the word. It is definitely a professional tool. So, having personal ones shows that you are professional and business oriented. Who can reproach you that?
- It is a very convenient format. Business cards are very easy to carry, in a wallet, in a back-pocket, in bag, their weight won’t bother you. Just, make sure to always have them on you, otherwise there is no benefit creating them.
- It is very easy and a common thing to share them. Whatever the occasion is, a business card is always welcomed.
- There are business card printers in every cities. It also exists a lot of websites offering that service. I did mines on the famous VistaPrint website. I don’t know if it is the best quality / price ratio, but it is efficient and so far, I have been quite satisfied with their services. I bought 250 business cards, customized and color front and reverse side, normal paper, for $32 (with a discount, which is very often, and including $13 shipping fee). So the price can’t be an excuse do don’t have ones.
What information should appear on your personal business card
Before designing anything, you have to answer all the following questions.
- To whom will I give them?
- Where will I give them?
- What will be my expectations when I will give them?
- What is the image I want to give?
Once you have done this, you have a global idea of the purpose of your personal business cards. Don’t forget, that these answers are the reasons why you are making cards, it is not for fun and no element on them will be there randomly. Remember also, the objective is to:
- Be contactable
- Be noticed
Avoid dates, locations, or anything which can make your personal business card irrelevant in one or another context. Don’t forget that your situation can evolve. My case is ideal to explain this point. I’m currently in Canada for my final year internship. I’m in Toronto for 6 months, but I have no idea where I will be 1 year from now. That means that some information is uncertain, and I can’t use it: address, phone number, or even the language. Should I write it in English, in French, both?
First of all, name and address are not enough to know who you are: remind your skills. Think as you were a recruiter with the personal business card of a random guy in your hand. You remember that he looked professional but you don’t remember its skills. Then you flip the card and you notice that he had the great idea to write its main competencies on it. Indeed it is interesting to write your main skills on your card. Unlike a usual business card, you can’t write your position, so you have to remind what you are good at, your added value.
But even if you write your main skills, your card can’t replace a resume. If your contact wants to know more about you, give him a way to see your LinkedIn profile. In my case I put a QR code. It shows that I’m aware of new technologies, and it is nicer than a complicated URL.
I also strongly encourage you to give any other way to know you better. So if you have a blog, or page on internet that you made for public eyes, it is a good place to promote it while giving a professional image. Same, if you have a twitter account on which you share interesting stuffs, show it. But if you only share pictures of your lunch, checkings at McDonald’s, or your political point of view, avoid its promotion here.
Email is probably the easiest way to contact someone; free, quick, worldwide… So it is primordial that you leave your email address. Of course, avoid address like « firstname.lastname@example.org ».
If you are sure that your phone number won’t change, and if it don’t bother you to be contacted on your personal phone, give it. In some cases, it is more accurate than the email: you don’t wait for answers, and it is easier to talk by phone about complicated or important subject.
If your contact is also on Twitter, it can also be a way to contact you. It is less formal than an email or a phone call. It might be less engaging, and so less scary.
Once you gave all ways to contact you on your personal card, the goal is to be contacted back for some opportunities. So you can friendly remind to your contact, that it is not a simple cardboard with your name, and that he is invited to contact you.
- To be remembered, your card will not to do the job, it is your job! First impression is not on a card. If you look like a homeless, speak with no charisma, or had a lack of respect for your contact, the most incredible business card won’t help you.
- As a student I already have a bunch of business cards, but I can’t remember the face of most of people who gave them to me. As a job seeker, you should put a picture of yourself on your personal business cards. Same as always, it have to be professional, such as the one on your resume, or on your LinkedIn profile.
- Finally, the global design of your card has to reflect your personality, and matches your expectations. So if you are like me, not a creative, and not seeking for a creative job, keep it simple. But if you are seeking a job in a specific field, it might be interesting to add graphical stuffs related to the activity.
Did I miss something? Let a comment.