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After being layed off, I'm now job hunting. And yes after reading the forums, I have just acquired the interviewing series :D

My question is on job hunting tools, particularly business cards.

For a while I have been thinking of getting myself some personal business cards. I do lots of self interest courses and workshops where you meet interesting people, scribble their emails and then promptly lose the scrap of paper.

These will come in handy now I'm job hunting. I'm treating the process in the same light as setting up a small business with me as the "product". The thing is I'm not sure what level of information should go on them. I would want something as professional as possible that doesn't look too "try hard".

Name, degrees, email and phone yes. But should I put my street address? What about landline phone as well as mobile?
Matte or shiny card? Textured or coloured? Black or coloured ink? Type of font?
Layout? Name centred with contact details bottom left or bottom right? All details centred?
Other information?

With the email address, I would prefer to maintain my current email address, which is given-name, initials and has been in use for 8 years. So I "identify" with it. Plus my provider is one of the big Australian telcos so is more "stable" than hotmail or gmail.

Has anyone else done this? What were your cards like?

Linda

jhack's picture

I kept it simple:

First name Last name
address
City, State ZIP

phone
email

That was it. No degrees. No other info. I don't see a problem with two phone numbers. When you need to, you can scribble notes on the back with more info.

It was centered, sans-serif font; matte, off-white stock, black ink.

John

HMac's picture

You're using it as a tool to help them get in touch with you (that is, you're saving them the trouble of scribbling and then losing your particulars). With that in mind, only include information about how to contact you (eg., address, phone(s), email...).

And in true MT fashion, you'll hand them the card saying something like: "Here's my card, so we can re-connect. Would you mind giving me yours?"

(I cringe when I think of a non-MT person sheepishly pulling out a card and saying something like "even though I'm UNEMPLOYED, I made up these busines cards...) :(

It's a great idea Linda - good luck!

lindagc's picture

Thanks all for taking the time to respond. The kindness of the "MT stranger" is delightful to experience.

Linda

sklosky's picture

Linda,

I think this is a great idea.

I suggest you leave the back blank. On the backside of my business card, my organization has a mission statement with white letters on a dark blue background. This creates two problems. You cannot easily write on the back of the card. When you stack the cards together, the blue color rubs off on the front of the card below.

On a related note, I found myself jotting down my personal contact info for family and friends in a mode similar to the one you described. So, I went ahead and got some of the card stock you can run through your printer. I used MS Word and selected the appropriate "Avery" template. A few minutes later, I had a stack of "family cards". Serviceable. Not the highest professional grade, but good enough for personal use. I find these cards handy when supporting events with my kids. Like sleepovers, ball games, birthday parties, etc.

Cheers,
Steve

iann22's picture

This topic reminds me of some advice in a book about making your business cards memorable.

The book is 'It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be' by Paul Arden.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-Not-How-Good-Want/dp/0714843377/ref=pd_sim_b...

If i get a chance I'll review the section and summarise in a later post.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

I'd go with plain white or off-white matt card with black printing of name, address, email address and phone numbers in a sans-serif font. Print one side only. If you can, pay a little extra to go for higher quality card stock.

Colour tends to put the price up significantly (it depends on where you have them printed but in my experience each colour tends to add another 50% of the price of just black to the price) and tends not to improve the look that much.

Are you a member of any professional organisations? Some of them will supply business cards for their members, with the organisation's logo on, at a discounted/subsidised rate. Worth considering but you also have to think about whether the affiliatiion will help or hinder your job search.

Self printing, using microperfed blanks, is probably the cheapest route but the card quality tends not to be the best and I've found that the cards often 'fray'. Avery do some good blanks on light card with a carrier sheet but look at what options are available and try to go for a heavier grade card if you can, as long as it will go through your printer. Use the best quality printer you can beg, borrow or steal (not literally steal, obviously) and bank on having to do a few trial runs to work out the best settings to use.

It's also often a good idea to invest in a small business card box to protect them and keep them clean.

Stephen

ramiska's picture

Sklosky wrote: [quote]I suggest you leave the back blank.[/quote]

I agree. My company supplies a beautiful business card but I have the same problem with bleeding ink and no place to scribble notes.

iann22's picture

[quote]This topic reminds me of some advice in a book about making your business cards memorable.

The book is 'It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be' by Paul Arden. [/quote]

The book is written by an Executive Creative Director from the advertising industry and the advice is based on giving yourself some spin.

The advice for business cards is that you could either (i) state what you are or (ii) be more ambitious by stating how you want to be perceived.

"Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have" Quote from the book's prologue.

To give some examples; two versions of the same person which will be perceived differently…

[u]Example One[/u]

John Doe
[b]Pump Attendant[/b]
Or
John C. Doe
[b]Petroleum Executive[/b]

[u]Example Two [/u](for my own role)

John Doe
[b]Project Manager[/b]
Or
John Doe
[b]Project Management[/b]

[u]Example Three [/u](from the book)

Arthur Edburg Jnr.
[b]Deputy Vice President with Special Responsibility For Sub Section 2[/b]
Or
[i]Art Edburg[/i]
[b]Director[/b]

I would love to hear what the community thinks of this advice…

TomW's picture

If you list a title you don't have yet on your card, you're being dishonest and opening yourself up for trouble in an interview (if you even get one after they see your resume).

That pump attendant who suddenly claims to be a petroleum executive on his card is going to be seen through as soon as his resume gets in front of someone and I'd bet they wouldn't take too kindly to the exaggeration.

Resumes and job titles are not the place to creatively describe what you have not done by implying you have done more than you actually have.

You're better off actually achieving results that you can be proud of and base your ambitions on than making up ambitious but false job titles.

jhack's picture

...and no, it's not about how good you want to be. I may want to be an Olympic Gold Medalist, but....I'm not. Ideas like that explain why advertisers are held in low repute.

Putting your goal as your title is deceptive and dishonest. (Project Manager -> Project Management, OK, that's not deceptive).

For a personal card, just forego the title. By the time you're exchanging cards, you shouldn't need to "spin."

And the very best don't need a title: Bono, Steve Jobs, Neil Armstrong. So if you REALLY want to shoot for the moon, just put your name.

John

lazerus's picture

There are several online vendors for biz cards, and I'm not plugging any vendor specifically, here, but an example is www.vistaprint.com. At these web-to-print places, your cards are dirt cheap and you can pretty much design them however you like, right online.

Having said that, if you have a resume done MT style, why do you need business cards for a job search? Business cards are made to go along with your identity as a company. It could be confusing for the recipient to discover your "personal" card among their business contacts. I think this changes your recipient's perception in a negative way. Unless you mean to use this as a networking tool ONLY. I still think it would seem a bit odd and "self-important".

My opinion.

bflynn's picture

[quote="TomW"]If you list a title you don't have yet on your card, you're being dishonest and opening yourself up for trouble in an interview (if you even get one after they see your resume).[/quote]

Not to mention the fact that you're limiting yourself to that job. What's the chance the potential employer will say "Gee, he'd make a great account manager with us, but he says he's a product manager. Too bad."

The same reason not to have an objective on your resume.

Brian

stewartlogan's picture

I wouldn't call these "personal business cards" so much as I would calling cards. And I can't see why you wouldn't want to use them during a job search when you don't have business cards.

For that matter, I can't see why you wouldn't use these when networking for a new job rather than using your current companies business cards. Seems me professional to me due to the forethought in the process.

terrih's picture

[quote]There are several online vendors for biz cards, and I'm not plugging any vendor specifically, here, but an example is www.vistaprint.com. At these web-to-print places, your cards are dirt cheap and you can pretty much design them however you like, right online. [/quote]

Only trouble with VistaPrint is if you get the "free" (S&H only) business cards, they print their own promotional info on the backs. :? Just in case anyone was tempted...

stewartlogan's picture

[quote="terrih"][quote]There are several online vendors for biz cards, and I'm not plugging any vendor specifically, here, but an example is www.vistaprint.com. At these web-to-print places, your cards are dirt cheap and you can pretty much design them however you like, right online. [/quote]

Only trouble with VistaPrint is if you get the "free" (S&H only) business cards, they print their own promotional info on the backs. :? Just in case anyone was tempted...[/quote]

Be sure to opt out of their email notifications. Unless you REALLY like getting an extra email or two per day.

joealon's picture

If you are looking for an on-line design printing products web site - visit http://www.dcp-print.com and take an advantage on their temptating deals.

lindagc's picture

Thanks for all the advice. I found a printer near my home that does cards in lots of 250 (some only did 1000).

I went with good quality, heavy weight white card, black print in Century Gothic font (a "round" sans serif). Details centred. Name 14pt bold, address 10pt, mobile and landline in 12pt and email in 10pt.
Clean and clear with space to write on.

kmtone's picture

 Hello, I made some with the clean perferated paper from Staples. The instructions said and there are templates by Avery under labels in Microsoft Word. Took a minute but they are done.

Shahar's picture

Business card is a brand identity of any company so on it's design, I would like to keep company logo, contact number, contact person name, email and website. As HMAC mentioned early, I think it is wise only  to include information about how to contact you. It helps to crate clean and user friendly business card. About fonts, I would like to see font used in logo. These simple idea really helps to built overall brand of company. While designing my business card, I created a contest in 99designs.com, designers community. Many professional designers came up with different unique ideas. It helped me to do multivariate testing by showing different unique business card designs to my co-workers, friends and family within a reasonable budget. I hope my story will helps to design best business card for you.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Remember the lessons on presentations, and how PPT is not your presentation, YOU are?  You are the expert and when you are networking, YOU are the presentation.  Keep your cards simple and easy to read.  You are not making a statement with your card.  You make the statement with your energy and confidence and personality when you meet the person. 

If they don't remember you later on (assuming they have a reasonable memory for these types of things), it is just like the interview introduction.  You didn't rock their world enough to make their short list and some sort of funky card is not going to change that.

Bottom line - your behaviour during the meet is what gets you a chair in the worth talking to again slot in their brain.

*RNTT

carljhay's picture

I think I would agree. Business card is not a big deal at all in job hunting. Just a simple one would be enough and besides, simplicity is has much impact for most employers and what's most important is your performance during interviews. The jobless rate has been going down in the United States, but over 13 million are still out of work. It is a competitive industry, and job hunters have to be on their game. A successful interview is the key to winning a job. But those who go to an interview prepared have a lot better probability than those who do not. Better check this out: Preparing for a job interview.

alexisrois's picture

Many individual believe that business cards are intended for persons who are currently working in any company. But the fact is that they are also useful in marketing circumstances when you are jobless. It’s much easier to hand someone a professional-looking card than trying to keep in mind somebody's name or create down your e-mail on a scrap of document.

I hate my job

davidlin911's picture

I understand that you should put Name, Phone, and E-Mail, but why do we put our own home address? I really don't think anyone will come by my door to ask me something or introduce me. Or maybe it's sort of a way to stay in touch when you travel/move to different locations and the address reminds you of the person you met (ex. Montreal or New York).

What do you guys think?

rwwh's picture

@davidlin911 coming by your door is not the most important use of your home address. Someone may want to send you an old fashioned letter?

davidlin911's picture

@RWWH I think that's a very good reason for having it on a business card. Thanks for replying.

GlennR's picture

I've just scanned these posts so I may have missed it. I agree with just about everyone above. To sum it up:

  1. Keep it simple--the purpose of a calling or business card is for the recipient to know how to re-contact you
  2. It doesn't have to be expensive.

What about the URL to your LinkedIn profile? A friend of mine was just hired for a senior position at an international company. They came looking for her and found her on LinkedIn.
 

Also, for those of you who are active for business purposes on Twitter or other social media platforms, you may want to include that info as well. I do quite a bit of communicating around CRM and customer service issues on Twitter. I'd have no problem listing my username. (My Facebook profile is strictly personal so I wouldn't list it.)