How to Effectively Use QR Codes in a Networking Context

You’ve seen QR (Quick Response Code) codes all over the place – but wait, what are they?

A QR code is a type of two-dimensional bar code.  It looks like a square code composed of black and white boxes.  First designed for use in the auto industry to track parts during the vehicle manufacturing process, QR codes are now used all over the map for a variety of different uses. Lately there have been a lot of innovative marketing efforts utilizing QR codes, you may have seen the People’s United Bank’s creative use of QR codes to promote its checking account services or Toys ‘R’ Us’s use of QR codes to allow customers to access additional information about their products before purchasing them.

Though great for People’s United and Toys ‘R’ Us, QR codes can also be used to market YOU as a potential employee by greatly aiding in the networking process. If you are networking at a function and pull out a business card that has a tasteful QR code next to your name, individuals are able to immediately scan the code and import your personal information such as name, phone, email, or blog site address  immediately onto their mobile devices.  This eliminates the very human possibility of misplacing business cards and also sets you apart as a technologically savvy potential job candidate.

The possibilities continue, you could do the same thing with your resume.  You could include it in the banner at the top next to the traditional array of contact information or tuck it neatly into a corner to save space. You are not limited to using the code for your contact information but could also use it to link directly to your written or video blog, or your LinkedIn profile.  Potential employers can scan the code and be taken directly from your offline resume and portfolio to your online version.

Do make sure, however, that the landing page (page that will open when the code is scanned) is mobile-friendly in the sense that there are no crazy images or massive amounts of content to prevent it from loading properly.  Make sure to label the QR code as to what it is linking to, most people will not take the time to scan it if they do not even know for what it is meant to be used.

This leads to an important point, never assume that someone knows how to use QR codes, they should always be an added bonus type of thing. For example, do not replace the contact info at the top of your resume with a QR code because there are many people, especially those of the age to be hiring you, who are not quite on board yet. Some may be familiar with the concept but have not yet downloaded the application for their mobile device. Make sure your professional portfolio and resume sans QR codes are still great – they should simply be more enhanced with the codes.

Some other things to keep in mind when you are creating your own QR codes:

  • Make sure to test that your QR codes function correctly with several different types of readers and devices
  • Make your codes at least one square inch large
  • Don’t use the codes on highly reflective surfaces

Two recommended sites for QR code creation are ScanLife and ItsMyURLs. Go embrace your creative techie side and you’ll blow away the competition at your next networking event.

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