Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Get a business card for your job search

When you meet people in the course of business, you exchange business cards. When you meet them as part of your job, the card has your work information. When you're "in transition" (don't you love the euphemisms attached to the job search?), you need your own card. When you meet people who can help you, you don't want to hand them your name and contact information on a scrap of paper. Business plans on a napkin? Sure. But your name, contact information, and positioning go on a card.

Dave Taylor suggests best practices in business card design (via Dennis McDonald). I think there's room for interpretation in some of these, but it's worth reading his list to see how some people will evaluate your cards.
  1. Have a Credible Email Address
  2. Avoid Typos
  3. Don't Include Too Much Information
  4. Add Some Color
  5. Leave The Back Blank
  6. Have Business Cards
  7. And A Special Category For PR Folk... "

Business cards are easy to get. I've used VistaPrint twice and been pleased with the results (though buying from them leads to an unending stream of offers and surveys in your inbox). You can design your own card or use one of their templates. I don't think most recipients will care, as long as the card looks appropriately professional for your field.

Once you have a business card for your job search, carry it with you. Once you've paid to make a positive impression with a real card, you wouldn't it to be at home when you meet someone who can help.


At 6/28/2006 11:23 PM, Blogger Dave Taylor said...

Room for interpretation, eh? What do you feel might be up for discussion on my list? :-)

At 6/29/2006 11:19 AM, Blogger Nathan Gilliatt said...

Well, obviously I agree in general, or I wouldn't have quoted you. :-)

In the context of the job search, I think "too much information" (#3) is a flexible concept. You don't want to confuse a business card for an 8 1/2 x 11 brochure, but a few key phrases or even sentences can be useful.

"Leave the back blank" (#5) is also a good rule for most, but in both of these cases, a jobseeker may find value in putting more information on the card. For a job search card, there's no falling back on the company name to provide context, so the jobseeker needs to provide enough information for the card to be a useful reminder to new contacts.

Still, I like your list for most cases. Leaving room for the recipient to write is something to remember, even for those who decide that they need more room to sell themselves. Just as with other guidelines—such as rules of grammar—it's sometimes ok to break the rules, if you know that you're deviating from the norm and have a good reason to do so.


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