Your networking business card tells a story and helps people remember you.
The Tagline – Your Headline
The tagline identifies you and compels interest. Like mission statements, shoot for no more than seven words (some say eleven tops). It is your headline! Think of it as the condensed version of your elevator speech.
You can start by writing several short paragraphs and then take them to the distillery. Select key ideas and work to get down to the heart of the matter.
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Vital Information to Include on Your Card
- Address – this can be a general local, you may not want to use your street address
- Phone number(s) – best number(s) to reach you
- Email address (see below for a story of my mistakes)
- LinkedIn URL – (see below for a story of my mistakes and important advice on this link)
- Personal website address
- Additional social media links
You can pay to have one designed or go cheap. Using Google, you can search for images that are free to use:
- Click on Images.
- Click on Settings.
- Click on Advanced search.
- Enter words in the Find images with… field(s).
- Scroll to the bottom and select the dropdown on the usage rights: field.
- Select one of the free to use options.
- Click on the Advanced Search button.
- Select the image you want for your card.
QR codes allow smart phone users to go directly to your LinkedIn, website, etc. Just Google “QR codes” and you can make one for free.
Some people include a photo of themselves.
The Back of Your Card
Some argue you should leave it blank. The reason: people may want to write something on the back. If you go with this school, you want card stock that isn’t shiny or hard to write on.
Some like to have an additional tagline or quote on the back. You can do this and still leave enough room for writing.
Some treat the card as a mini-resume and detail significant achievements on the back.
As in all things career related, ask ten people and you will get twenty opinions.
Best advice I have: Do what makes you happy and go for the cleanest design possible.
Designing and Getting Your Card
There are plenty of places to get your card: Vistaprint.com is a popular online site. On the advice of a friend, I use Staples.com. You can design it online and generally pick it up the next day. The price is good, too.
Just Google “business cards” to see a full range of providers.
My First Attempts at Business Cards
- One piece of advice I learned too late was not to use a “vanilla” account (gmail is most often recommended) for your email address.
LinkedIn URL – No Good Out of the Box
Another piece of advice I learned too late was the recommendation that your LinkedIn URL contains your name without any dashes.
You should ditch the automatically generated code tacked onto your URL. Lop that code number off now in LinkedIn, or you are there for all the world to see as a novice LinkedIn user (thanks, Lynne Williams).
At any rate, I went through several iterations of cards before I nailed these intricacies. Perhaps I have spared you some time and money.
Further on LinkedIn URL’s
If you are the only Jill or Joe Jones on LinkedIn, you get first dibs on jilljones or joejones.
If you come second to the party, you have a decision to make: jillianjones or josephjones.
If that isn’t available, try using your middle initial: jilliangjones or josephtjones. You get the idea.
You want one that doesn’t have numbers in it, unless you are Joe Jones, III.
If you are cursed with a common name, I hope it is a short one. I am cursed with a longer name, and that has created many issues on forms with tiny signature lines over the years. We all have our cross to bear.