Whether you’re a recent graduate looking for employment or a newbie freelancer looking for clients, business cards are essential for networking.
That said, it’s not always easy to know how to create a good business card or use it effectively – especially if you’re new to networking.
Here’s what you need to know about making and using a business card that gets you results.
Making your business card
Before we discuss how to use a business card effectively, let’s talk about creating an effective business card.
Your business card should include:
- Your name
- Your credentials
- Contact details
- Social media handles, if relevant
- Your area of expertise
- The nature of your business or services
Don’t overload your business card with information, but ask yourself what will prompt people to contact you – and use it.
You can use many different materials for your business card. Traditionally, cardboard is used. The cardboard can have a glossy or matt finish, and it can also be embossed if you want an eye-catching finish.
More exciting materials include wood, cork, leather, plastic, fabric, and even metal. Some cards could also have an added function, such as magnets, multi-purpose tools, or USBs. Unusual materials can make your business card stand out among the rest, but it can be expensive and seem over-the-top.
Cardboard is best for traditional industries and is always a safe option. Choose the material according to your own brand, budget, and intentions.
The design of your card should match your website and fit your brand. If you have a logo, be sure to include it. Simple fonts like Garamond and Helvetica are great for most cards. Not confident in your graphic design skills? Invest in your career by hiring a professional business card designer.
Using your business card effectively
Now that you know how to create a business card, let’s discuss how to use it effectively.
Networking events and conferences are the perfect opportunities for using business cards. But you can’t randomly hand them out to strangers, or they’ll probably end up in the bin!
Business cards alone don’t do all the work. For people to actually reach out to you, you need to leave an impression first. Do this by having an engaging conversation.
Unsure what to say at a networking event? Say something like, “Hi there! I see that you’re in [insert industry here]. My name is [name] and I just graduated with a [degree] from [university], and I’d love to talk to you about opportunities to work with you.”
If you’ve done research on the company, start with, “Hello. My name is [name] and I’m a . I read about your company’s work on [project or issue], and I’d love to talk to you about it.”
Throughout the conversation, be attentive, polite, and warm. You can end off a conversation with, “I know your time is limited, so I’ll leave you with my card. I look forward to discussing this further!”
If you have a positive conversation with someone – anyone – in these situations, leave your business card. Even if you weren’t directly talking about your career, they might see your services on your card, remember you, and call you with an opportunity.
At career fairs and recruitment events, recruiters often have sign-up sheets for mailing lists. While it’s great to add your name to these lists, it often sets you apart if you also offer them your business card.
The very fact that you created, printed, and brought a business card shows that you’re prepared and organized – two qualities that employers look for.
Remember to bring some business cards with you wherever you are, as any event can turn into an opportunity to network. This includes social events, reunions, conferences, meetups, workshops, restaurants, and more.
Are you interested in connecting with students & professionals in the “Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics” field? If so, then request to join the STEAM Boston community. You will get the chance to attend events and expand your network.