|  March 12, 2014

Do you need a business card for your job search?

Do you really need a business card for your job search? And if so, what should be on it? I’ve gotten a few questions on this topic lately and am excited to share my thoughts.

One reader asked: What information should I put on a business card to send to possible organizations?

Another asked for her daughter: Do we put the college’s logo on the networking/business card? Or a photo? And how much information should we add? At what point does the card start to look like a mini resume?

So before we get into what the content of a business card for job seekers should be… let’s first cover…

When do you need a business card in the job search?

In terms of the application process, if you are applying online or in person, you’d still be submitting your resume. Attaching a business card to it doesn’t help the recipient learn anything else about you.

As far as the interview process goes, I’ve definitely been handed some business cards at the end of the interview or sent with a thank you note. Of course it wasn’t a big deal, but I was always left wondering why. If someone has just interviewed you, they too already have your resume, which means they have all of the information on your business card (and more).

I guess what I’m saying is that for most parts of the job search, the business card is duplicative. Recruiters track almost everything online in an ATS (Applicant Tracking System). They’re probably not going to take that card and throw it in a Rolodex – that just seems very old school to me and even if someone did have a Rolodex, it’s probably to keep track of frequently needed business contacts.

However, when the business card is helpful for a job seeker is on the networking front. Maybe you’re attending a networking event with those in your field. Maybe you’re actually just out for lunch with friends but end up meeting someone who works at your dream company. Those are the situations where you’ll be glad you have a business card on you. Because carrying copies of your resume around constantly is unrealistic and could be a little weird.

So what should be on a business card?

Here’s my advice – keep. it. simple. Business cards are small, and they’re not the place for your life story. I also think if you are going to hand one of these out they should look really nice and presentable. A tiny card flooded with content is overwhelming and not well-designed.

business cards for job search

Business cards from Minted.com (one of my favorite stationary sites)

So what should be on it?

  • A headline (optional) – How do you want to describe yourself overall? Maybe it’s “Student at New York University” or maybe it’s something like “Human Resources Professional”. If your job search is broad, don’t get too specific here. If there isn’t a logical headline that comes to mind, just use the best headline there is – your name.
  • Contact info – As with any business card, the point is to figure out how to easily reach you. Phone number & email should be prominently displayed.
  • Your LinkedIn URL – In my opinion, the best way to link your work experience and the skills you bring to the table is via your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you customize your URL on LinkedIn and ensure the info you want people to see is set to public (people you’re handing out your cards to may not already be connected to you on LinkedIn). This is so much better than trying to find a few things from your resume and squeeze them onto a tiny card.
  • Website or Portfolio of work – If you do have a professional website or a site that hosts samples of your work, this is a great thing to include as well.
  • Social media (only if used for business) – Share any social media handles IF you feel are appropriate and if you use them for business reasons (i.e. you tweet about the industry you work in). If you only use your social media for personal reasons, you probably don’t want to send potential employers over there. Same thing goes for your blog – unless you are writing about professional topics, you may want to skip it (related article here).

Hope this post was helpful and thank you all for your questions! If you’d like to ask a question to be covered in a future post, you can do so here.

All images from minted.com

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