JSM Career Coaching has been undergoing quite a face lift! A new move, a new city, a new website and branding (currently in process), and now new business cards! How do you like them?
Recently, I’ve read online that some think business cards are obsolete. Not so!
True, they are not the generic address and phone number cards they used to be. And yes, we all have so many online ways of being found and finding others. But, how do you make sure others can actually find you when first they need to remember your name? And if you’re in a job search situation where you are counting every penny, should you spend money on those little pieces of paper that are so often thrown away?
First of all, you need them, period. You need to be able to hand them out at networking functions (of which you know I am a huge devotee!). Not only do they contain your illustrious contact info and LinkedIn and Twitter URLs and professional blog website, they are also a signal. They say I am a professional. They say I mean business.
Business cards don’t have to be expensive! There are numerous deals online from cheap to free! (I got mine with a great deal at Staples.com.)
Business cards can also be an extension of your personal brand! No, you don’t have to go for the full color on both sides cards if you don’t want, but today’s technology can help you create a unique and memorable business card with minimal fuss and cost.
What should the cards say? Well, if you are currently in a position, you most likely have business cards from your company. I encourage you to also have your own personal cards that list your unique contact information. It’s always a shame when one of your favorite contacts leaves their current company for greener pastures and you have no way of reaching them for that great opportunity you just heard about. Do you want that to happen to you?
So, I suggest listing your personal professional contact information. A phone number that is not going to change, your LinkedIn account URL or your Twitter account if you have that as well. Remember, the idea is that you are networking and building contacts for life, not just for this week! Also, if you have worked with a career coach and worked on branding, adding your personal tag line or title might be a great way to help that contact remember you from the fifty other “John Smiths” out there.
But all the networking in the world and all the business cards in the world mean nothing if you don’t FOLLOW-UP and BUILD RELATIONSHIPS. One thing I personally like to do is write notes to myself right on the business card – how/where did I meet this person? Did I promise to send them a specific bit of information? Was there an idea I wanted to follow up on with them? Is there a contact of mine I’d like to introduce them to? The following day after an event I always make sure I reach out to those I have met. While the 3-day rule might work for dating, I personally subscribe to a 24-hour rule in business.
Another silly little tip: When at an actual networking event, I keep MY business cards in my right pocket and put the cards I take from others in my left! A small trick that keeps me from fumbling around in front of someone I want to impress! I also keep a pen in my pocket for making those notes on their business cards immediately.
(Do you notice a subliminal message happening there? If you have a business card to hand someone, they are much more likely to hand one of theirs back to YOU! And that is the whole point! To get their information! Put yourself in the drivers seat of building the relationship.)
No, a business card will not get you the job anymore than your LinkedIn profile or your resume will. What business cards will do is get your name out there, build your networking community, and get you a phone call! After all, how can you get an interview if no one knows how to contact you?