July 20, 2011

Job Search Tip: Order Business Cards

You may dream of one day having that posh job with a fancy desk and your own company business cards to hand out to others…but the fact of the matter is that business cards shouldn’t be something in your future. You should have them right now. When used correctly, a business card can actually help you get a job.

Business cards allow you to follow up with a personal connection to network and find that job you really want. For example, let’s say that you’re attending a career fair. Along with many of the other attendees, you’ll likely take with you a stack of resumes, shake a lot of hands, and wait patiently (or not so patiently) by the phone afterward, hoping to get a phone call from one of the people you’ve met.

Most people will never get that call. However, if you hand out business cards, you make a more personal connection – plus, you’ll likely get a business card in return, meaning that you can follow up after a job fair instead of just waiting. The ball is in your court, which is always much better than relying on others.

Business cards also give you a chance to start up a conversation. In other situations, when you’re networking and want to talk to someone, you can ask for their business card as a way to break the ice. Talk about why you want it – that you’re looking for a job and would love to reconnect with them to learn more about their company.

But what should you put on your business card if you don’t have a job? “Joe Smith, unemployed” doesn’t have a nice ring to it!

Instead, simply include your contact information without any kind of job title, along with a link where you resume can be found online. Adding your picture can also help, as it gives potential employers a reminder of your face, making it easier to recall conversations you’ve had. Keep in mind that people who take your card might talk to hundreds of others, especially in a job fair situation, so it’s easy to forget the name that goes with the conversation.

Make sure your business card is professional, but also don’t be afraid to show your personality a little. For example, if you’re trying to get a job as a graphic artist, you might want to but a doodle on the back. Another pro tip? Make sure the background of the card is light enough for someone to write on it. Recruiters and others who take your card might want to jot down a few notes about you so they remember to follow up with you later.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on your business cards of even order a huge quantity. Just make sure you have a few on hand when you need them, even if you print them yourself. It’s better to have them and not need them than to not have them as wish you did!

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