by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Here's what every job-seeker should know: the value of a strong and flawless resume and the power of networking in finding a new job. When you're job-hunting, take your resume with you wherever you go -- and use every opportunity to grow and strengthen your network of contacts. But what do you do in situations where passing out a handful of resumes is not feasible? Use networking business cards.
Networking business cards, which have the look and feel of a traditional business card, give you the opportunity to provide critical career and contact information with people you meet in social and professional situations.
Why Networking Business Cards?
Business cards are the currency of meetings, but if you're a typical college student you don't have any business cards, and if you're a career changer you probably don't want to use your regular business cards. For a minimal investment, you can print networking cards.
If you are serious about finding a job, you already know the importance of networking and marketing yourself.
Keep your networking cards clean and crisp and bring them EVERYWHERE you go -- to networking events (obviously), career and job fairs, professional meetings, social gatherings, parties, weddings, and anywhere else you may run into potential contacts ... everywhere. You should keep copies of your resume handy as well, but, of course, sometimes a resume is simply too awkward to handle.
Designing and Printing Networking Cards
Networking cards are the same size and shape of business cards (3-1/2" wide and 2" high), contain key contact information the way business cards do, but instead of listing a company and job title, a networking card focuses on your unique selling proposition. Be sure to include all your pertinent contact information, including your name, phone number, email address, postal mail address; and Website address, cell phone or fax numbers (if you have them).&
You can get your networking cards printed at a local print shop, at numerous places on the Web, and even print them yourself using special business card paper (Avery 3612) and a template that most word-processing applications supply. When designing your networking cards, remember to keep the design and layout clean and simple, use "normal" fonts, use font sizes of 10-11 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 most job-seekers should keep the design and colors conservative (just as with your resume).
Once your cards are printed, be sure to purchase a business-card holder to protect your cards and keep them clean and crisp. What's the point of going to all the trouble of designing and printing great networking cards if you let them become soiled or dog-eared? Remember that people are always making assumptions and that in job-hunting, impression management is critical.
Now that you're ready to create networking business cards, it's time to perfect your resume and cover letter. Check out our resources to learn insider tips.