As a professional in any field, it’s important to always be on the lookout for networking opportunities. Business cards are a perfect way to be prepared in the form of a tiny, compact resume.
With the right information and strategic use, personal business cards can be your ticket to achieving your next career goal.
How to use personal business cards
First let’s clarify the difference between personal and professional business cards.
Professional business cards are typically provided by your employer and include the company name and logo along with your name, title, and your contact information associated with the company.
Personal business cards identify your line of work and expertise and include your personal contact information.
These cards are essentially a personal advertisement. They’re great if you’re actively looking for a job, seeking new clients or partnerships, or simply keeping your options open and building your network.
Keep them handy during any conference, job fair, alumni event, or even informal gatherings like happy hours.
What to include on your personal business cards
There’s no room to waste, so stick to these basics.
Okay, this should be obvious. But, make sure your name is printed clearly and legibly. Hint: no novelty fonts or hard-to-read colors.
If you go by more than one name, you use the one that is more prevalent online or used most often in your professional life.
If you have a personal logo, include this as well.
Area of expertise
Identify your general industry title area of expertise with a simple phrase or title, such as Graphic Designer, SEO Strategist, or Sports Apparel Sales.
You might also list a few specific skills or a brief tagline.
Include an email address or phone number or both.
Do not include your home address. You might include an office address if it’s outside your home and expect to hold client meetings there.
Links and social handles
Include a short and simple URL to your website or portfolio.
Add social media handles or your LinkedIn profile URL only if they’re related to your professional work and only if you update and maintain them regularly.
A general rule of thumb is that less is more. The idea is that you want your new contact to know what you do and be able to easily find you or contact you.
Where to order
There’s an abundance of online sites that allow you to design and order your cards easily and quickly. These include Vistaprint, Got.com, Moo, Jukebox, or Overnight s.
If you’re down to the wire and need your cards ASAP, try Walgreens or Staples, which provide convenient same-day pickup at local stores.