Recently the Toronto Globe and Mail featured an article on a creative way to seek work. It seems that a job seeker decided to use a business card as a way of handing out a mini-resume to prospective employers. He developed one that looked like a folded business card and featured personal contact information as well as a short list of his education and accomplishments. The card served as an introduction and eventually got him hired. How do you do it, how do you use it, and what do you place on the card?
Use top quality paper and thicker card stock for a better “feel” when handing your cards out. Use colour—it’s eye catching. You may wish to use the services of a professional printer rather than use the thin perforated “business card paper” you can buy for your home computer. Use standard size business cards—two by three and a half inches—they fit more easily into holders. You don’t need to use folding cards. Watch the font size—7 point fits well on a business card.
The front should state your name and contact information—some experts suggest your email and cell phone number are the only pieces of contact information you need. Include a brief “tag line” of your skills. Martin Buckland, president of Elite Resumes, suggests using a “personal brand statement”—something that “quickly and effectively communicates the kind of role where you might make the best fit in the organization.”
Use the back of the card for up to four bullets. These should state your strongest skills or best qualifications and accomplishments. You will need to really think about this one as space is very limited.
Prevent your cards from becoming dirty or bent by using a card case or placing them in a card holder or a portfolio.
How and where to hand them out? Hand them out in networking situations. And yes, there is proper etiquette involved in handing out and receiving a business card. Hand the card to the recipient with your name facing them so they can read it. Always acknowledge receipt of a business card by respectfully taking time to read it and then place it in a secure place–don’t stuff it in your jeans pocket.
While you can’t hand out your entire resume in networking situations, Mr Buckland suggests that “a striking business card just might entice potential employers to ask for your resume.”
While business card resumes are common in the United States they are not in Canada so get an edge on the competition with a stand out card. It’s just another way to make potential employers aware of your skills and availability.