You see them everywhere. These ubiquitous little two by three and one half inch pieces of cardboard typically found tucked away carefully somewhere in your wallet. If you are one of are more organized than most, you have taken these rectangular pieces of colourful cardboard and filed them in a business card address book or Rolodex that is filled with business cards sized clear plastic pockets and are made specifically for this purpose placed. Those of you who are computer savvy have the cards will use a computerized address book to categorized the information alphabetically by company name and cross-referenced the info with either the job description or name of the individual.
Regardless of the method you choose to keep the cards, you need to remember that business cards are simply another form of marketing collateral. The amount of money spent on this form of advertising varies according to the individual, the product or service sold, or the organization. Large companies spend thousands of dollars on the graphics they place upon them and hundreds more dollars on the weight of the cards stock they use on this part of their marketing collateral portfolio. Apart from the fancy graphics and the weight of the cards, all business cards perform in exactly the same manner; they all state the name and contact information of the card’s owner and the name and contact information of the company for which they work.
The interesting thing about business cards is that most non-management types of people do not have them, nor do they understand how valuable a tool they can be, especially if they are looking for a new job.
In an effort to be more proactive in your job search, or even if you are only thinking about changing jobs or careers, take the time to go to your local office supply store and get yourself some business cards. Although most executive job search coaches will tell you that it is absolutely critical that you get yourself the top of the line models with the fancy graphics, lots of colour and the raised print, when it comes to looking for a new job, this is not always possible. It is also unlikely that you will need 250 cards, which is usually the smallest number of cards you can order in a single batch.
All office supply stores carry small packages of blank cards that you can use to create cards on your home computers. These cards come on standard letter sized paper, fit in any type of home printer, and will supply you with ten cards per sheet.
Business cards are everywhere. They are highly portable and can easily and discreetly passed from one individual to another. These tokens of personal marketing collateral are an ideal tool for people looking for work.
Once you have convinced yourself that you are missing a tremendous opportunity to self-market your product or service, and before you take the initiative and exercise your creative side and go ahead and design some business cards for yourself, take some time to study how the pros do it. Look at the wide array of business cards already in your possession. Before you go ahead and think about designing your own personal cards, observe the following:
o The amount of white space on the card [Like résumés, lots of white space is good.]
o Size and style of font [Is the font too small to read without magnification?]
o Portrait or landscape orientation [Use a landscape orientation for job searches - cards the have a portrait landscape will force people to fuss with it to get the information they need. In terms of a job search, it is one more annoyance that your future employer does not need.]
o Use of colour and graphics [Know that the use of colour will always increase the cost of the cards]
o One or both sides of card used [For the purpose of job searches, use both sides! Put your contact information on one side and highlight your skill set on the other side. The "B" side of your business card should be used as a mini résumé]
Once you think that you have created the card that represents you in a positive manner, make up some mock cards and ask your friends for their opinion and input. Take heed of their suggestions and adjust the visuals of your cards accordingly. The next step is to print some up and start distributing them at every opportunity. HINT: Be frugal: Print some ‘test’ cards on plain paper. Then use this ‘template’ to align your cards on the business card stock. HINT: Be generous: Give each contact two cards; one for them to keep, the other to give to a friend. You will be surprised at where your cards will end up. Good luck!