Making Business/Networking Cards
Networking will likely be the most powerful asset you have in your job search. You've crafted a well-written, error-free resumé and are taking it with you on all of your informational interviews. What do you do when it's not feasible to carry your resumé with you, but you meet someone who could be instrumental in your job search? Create a networking business card.
What is a Networking Business Card?
It is similar to a traditional business card, but instead of representing a company, you have the opportunity to provide critical career and contact information to share with potential contacts.
Why Networking Business Cards?
As a college student, you probably don't have a business card. But in a networking situation, offering your card will usually result in receiving a business card from a potential contact. Having cards makes you look prepared in a business situation. However, just handing over your card does not hand over responsibility. It is still your task to follow up with your contact.
What information should I include on a Networking Business Card?
Your name, degree, major(s), minor(s), year of graduation, and contact information, including your address, phone number and email. As with your resumé, remember to double check your phone number and insure that your email address is professional in nature, and not cute or funny. You can also include an objective or a specific industry of interest. In addition, you may add a design, but you are restricted from using the Saint Michael’s College logo on your card, as that would imply that you worked for the college, not that you were a student or an alumnus/a.
If you are job searching in the same geographic area in which you are living, please include your address. It gives a prospective employer the sense that you are "rooted" in a particular area and do not need to relocate. However, if you are searching in other areas of the country or the world, it might be best to exclude your physical address, as that may influence a company’s decision to contact you. Listing your cell phone and email address on the card is always appropriate.
Make sure that your voicemail message is welcoming to potential employers and that you answer your phone in a professional manner at all times. Check your email on a daily basis to insure you are prompt in responding to inquiries.
How do I create a Networking Business Card?
You can have networking cards printed at a local print shop or business supply store, or print them yourself using a word processing program template and special business card paper. For example, Microsoft Publisher has a template for plain paper business cards (one card or multiple cards per page) or for business cards for special paper, like Avery Form 3612 (available in business supply stores).
The design and layout of your cards should be professional, clean, and simple. Choose conventional font shapes (like Times New Roman, Arial, Tahoma, Garamond), use font sizes of 10-12 points, and stay with traditional colors of ink and paper. If you are interested in a job in a creative field, you can be a bit more creative, but for most job-seekers, using conservative design and color choices is the best, just as you would with your resumé.
Once you create your card, keep it clean and crisp to make a good impression when you hand it out. A business card holder will serve the purpose, and is small enough for you to carry with you wherever you go. Handing over a dirty or dog-eared card does not make for the best first impression. You should keep your resumé with you as well, but there will be times when a resumé would be too bulky and awkward to carry.
Networking business cards should never replace your resumé, but in situations where carrying your resumé is not possible, a networking card will help you market yourself to potential employers and contacts. Carry your cards wherever you go - you simply never know when you're going to meet someone who may be able to help you in your job search.
Here are some examples created in Microsoft Publisher.