When you’re job-hunting, there’s nothing less professional than having to write your email address on a dirty napkin or someone else’s business card. Here’s what you need to know if you’re on the market:
1. You’ve Got To Have A Business Card—Even Before You’re In Business This is one of my cardinal rules. The response from recent grads and other job seekers is always the same: “But what do I put on it? I don’t have a job.” How are you going to get one if people don’t know how to reach you to funnel opportunities your way? Having a card reveals that you consider yourself a professional, whether you are currently employed or not.
2. No Frills—Just The Facts
All you need is your contact information, simply presented: Your name, cell number, and email address. You can print cards yourself on your computer if you use good card stock and make sure the edges are clean and perforation-free. Otherwise, order them from the internet (the free ones often have a logo on the back but if that’s all you can afford, so be it) or use a service bureau like Kinko’s. No fancy designs, no curly-cues. One website that provides lots of cards for very little cost is Vistaprint.
3. Be Professional Make sure the email address is professional: no firstname.lastname@example.org. Also leave out years that might indicate when you graduated from high school, college—or might be your birth date. Additionally, don’t put two phone numbers on the card. I need only one number with a professional voicemail message where I may reach you…and expect to be called back within 24 hours unless the message tells me otherwise.
4. Indicate A Field of Interest Or Expertise If You Have One If you have an area of interest or expertise you hope to use in the job you’re seeking, put it on the card. Be as specific as you can. Don’t just write “marketing” if all you’re interested in is sports marketing. Be sure you can back up the title with an instant anecdote about your experience in this field, whether it’s through an internship, course, paid or volunteer position. HINT: If you’re not engaged in one of these activities while you’re job-hunting, get with the program. Make sure that the content on the card is true, and a job may be in the cards sooner than you think.
To see some of my favorite business cards, click through our slideshow!