‘Tis the season for job and internship fairs! And with that comes the onslaught of questions: “What do I wear?” “Does my resume look okay?” “How do I even approach an employer?” But one question that sometimes goes under the radar is “Do I need a business card?” Now that just about everyone in the working world has a business card, students are wondering if they, too, need to jump on board. More importantly, what should it even say?
According to a Fox Business article, contact information should be the main focus of a student’s business card. This includes a student’s name, permanent address, phone number, and email address. It’s also worthwhile to include the URL to any professional blog, personal website, or LinkedIn you may have.
If you want to include your academic background, try formatting it like this:
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bachelor’s Degree Candidate: May 2012
Political Science Major
Business Administration, Religion Minor
Depending on your field, students are encouraged to be creative with their business cards, according to Fox Business. But not over the top! Using clean typography, well-shot photography, and eye-catching designs usually works well in creative fields, such as graphic design or advertising. A general rule of thumb for all fields is that you should make your business card interesting enough to be remembered but not go for shock value. A logo or slogan can make your card stand out above others. But if you’re not interested in this approach, a simple black and white layout on cardstock works fine.
Make sure that your business card is of good quality as well. Cheap cards on thin paper or with ink that smears will not leave the impression that you want. Also, avoid using companies that put their URL on the back of your card. It’s worth paying the extra dollar or two to get a decent business card. Some good, affordable websites to look at are VistaPrint.com and DesignYourOwnCard.com.
Business Card Etiquette
When first meeting someone, do not simply thrust your business card into their hand after engaging in conversation. It is important to know when is a good time and place to do that – usually toward the end of a discussion. Fox Business also warns against asking someone of seniority for their card as it may come off as disrespectful. Offer yours first, and then wait to see if they do the same.
Overall, it is important to make sure you stand out, with or without a business card. Career expert Lindsay Pollak says, “If you’re dreary and boring and unfocused and your card is fabulous, it’s not going to help,” she says. “You have to be the best representative of yourself and your card is simply your information.”