Networking First Impressions: Creating the Perfect Business Card
Networking is one of the best ways to improve your career prospects. Knowing the right people at the right time can open the doors leading to an entirely new career. Networking can also help you find new clients and customers. After initiating the conversation and introducing yourself, handing a new contact your business card is one of the first impressions that you’ll make. Creating the perfect business card is a requirement of those looking to expand their contact list, meet new professionals and broaden their realm of career possibilities. Fortunately, creating the perfect business card isn’t difficult. It relies heavily on selecting the right information and conveying it in a professional and eye-catching way.
Required Business Card Information
Before you begin designing your business card, consider what information you’d like your new contacts to have. Consider including the following pieces of information:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Current employer
- Job title
- Company logo
- Company address
- Social networking links
- Links to professional blogs/websites
The above information is quite common on most business cards. You may omit or add some information depending on your industry and career goals. For example, if you received a degree that has a common abbreviation, putting this abbreviation on your business card will help new contacts immediately identify your skills. For example, if you received a masters degree management, you can follow your name with M.M.
Putting It All Together
After you’ve decided what information to include on your business card, it’s time to decide how to display it. You will need to consider colors, materials and photos.
- Consider Colors Wisely – As a general rule, your business card should be printed in color. Some industries may benefit from a black and white business card; however, these are rare. Choose colors based on your business’s logo and the emotional impact you’d like to convey. For example, red conveys power, while green typically promotes relaxation. Top off your color business card with a glossy finish that will help your card stand out.
- Add Your Photo – A business professional interacts with many other professionals throughout the course of a convention or any other networking event. Remembering names can be difficult, but most people are skilled at remembering faces. Adding a photo on your business card will dramatically help new connections remember who you are. Choose a picture in which you are smiling and wearing professional attire.
- Consider Using QR Codes – QR codes are a fairly recent trend that are similar to bar codes. When photographed with a smartphone application, they can execute a pre-set command. This can be taking the user to a website or social media page. It can even go to an online resume that will allow them to immediately review your qualifications. Imagine the simplicity of letting a prospective employer know that you have, for example, an online masters degree in human resources. According to Katharine Hansen, author of “A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Market,” many modern business professionals prefer to store contact information in their smartphones. However, many professionals still prefer a tangible business card for a more personal interaction. Fortunately, you can blend the best of both worlds by using a QR code to make adding your information into the contacts’ address book effortless.
- Choose Quality Material – Don’t use printer paper! The thickness and durability of your business card heavily impacts the impression it will leave. Invest in a firm material when printing your business cards to help create the impression you are a strong and powerful professional.
Use Your Business Cards Effectively
Serious professionals keep their business cards on them at all times. You never know when a trip to the gas station will result in landing a new client—or even a new career. Effectively using your business card means identifying a quality contact and offering your business card to them. You can identify a worthy contact by understanding their industry, employer and role. Determine if this information makes them a meaningful contact. If so, hand them your expertly crafted business card to establish a new connection.
About the Author: Howard Nelson is a contributing writer and full-time graduate student. He is currently working on a book about how to build a career by networking.