Making The Most Of Business Cards: Advice For University Graduates
Many university graduates find it hard to get a job, particularly in a difficult financial climate. As such, it's vital that graduates spend time networking with potential employers, and a business card is still an invaluable part of this process. If you're looking for your first job out of university and designing your first set of business cards online, follow these steps to make sure your business card stands out in the crowd.
Include all the right contact details
A business card is a great way to close a conversation, and gives the other person something that may prompt him or her to call you at a later date. To initiate this kind of follow-up, it's crucial that the other person can get hold of you, so include all relevant contact details on your business card. Your full name, preferred telephone number and email address are all essential. Don't feel that you need to include multiple phone numbers. Most people will only try to call you once, so it's better to choose the number you're most likely to answer.
Choose your email address carefully, too. Indeed, many university graduates set up a brand new email address solely for the purposes of business networking and job applications. It's easy to miss crucial business emails in your personal account, and many personal email addresses are unsuitable for a business card. A comedy email address isn't a good way to start new business relationships, and is unlikely to create the right impression.
Add a career aspiration (and not a job title)
A conventional business card normally shows somebody's professional job title, but if you've just graduated from university, you won't have a role to show on your business card. As such, graduates should add a line that describes a career aspiration. For example, you can't tell people you're an 'established project manager' but you can say you are an 'aspiring project manager' or a 'project management student.'
Add appropriate links to web pages
A physical business card is a good way to direct people to find out more about you online, so it's often useful to include links to websites and profiles pages. You can add links to your pages on social networks, but it's important to choose sites that highlight your professionalism. Don't direct people to a page on a social network that is in any way controversial.
Similarly, your personal blog or website is often a good way to showcase your insight and talents, but make sure the content is relevant to the audience. You can save space and time by adding a QR code. Not only will this make it easier for people to scan your card and go straight to the relevant page, this object will also show that you are tech-savvy, which could send a powerful message to a potential employer.
Recruiters and employers are likely to receive a lot of graduates' business cards, so it's important to find visual ways to make your card stand out for the right reasons. For example, an unusual shape will quickly draw attention to your card, but if the design is too outlandish, recruiters may find it difficult to store or hold on to your card.
Strong images can convey a professional edge, and can also showcase your talents in certain fields. For example, if you're looking for a career in photography, you should choose the most striking photo you have ever taken. A famous quote or motto can also help people learn more about your work ethic, but you should choose a short phrase that doesn't take up too much space.
After a face-to-face conversation, some recruiters may find it difficult to remember who a card belongs to, so many people now add a face photo to their business cards. Avoid cropping an image from a group shot, as the finished product rarely works against the stark background of a simple business card. Indeed, it's worth paying a professional photographer to create an image for you, as this will help you create the best impression.
Don't underestimate the value of business cards. It's increasingly difficult for university graduates to quickly find a full-time job, and a business card shows a potential employer that you are fully committed to your career.