Do’s and Don’ts of Business Cards

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As a PR practitioner, you are your most important client. Having business cards is an essential tool for marketing yourself for your career. It is a simple, inexpensive way to connect with influential people you meet, such as future employers. In public relations especially, business cards are extremely important because there are many methods of communication in which employers can keep in touch with you. Through email or social media outlets, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, communication with possible employers is much easier. All it takes is discovering a simple way to give people this information all at once. Simply handing out business cards after meeting with influential people in the industry, or after an event, can lead to furthering a conversation and, hopefully, furthering your career.

Business Card Do’s:

  • Include important contact information. At the least, your business card needs your full name, email address, website (if you have one), and phone number(s). In public relations, it is also common to see people include links to their professional networking accounts, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
  • Keep it simple. There is no need to include everything on your card. While it might be tempting to list out all of your skills or accomplishments, those things are best saved for your résumé or website.
  • Make your information clear. When formatting your business card, use one or two readable fonts. Using too many fonts makes for an ugly business card. Choose simple, classic fonts to make sure your information is clear and easy to read. Also, make sure you don’t cluster all of your information on the center of the card. It is more appealing to the eye to see a balance of text.
  • Be creative. Recently, creative business cards have become a way for people to express themselves and tell other people more about themselves than just the given information on the card. Let employers see another side of you. This tactic is a good way to make an impression. For example, someone in the music industry may have their information on a business card that looks like a cassette tape, just as the image above shows. Would you be more likely to remember and call someone who handed you a plain white business card or a business card designed to mimic a tape? I think the answer speaks for itself.
  • Write notes on the back. Want someone to remember something specific that’s not on your card? Write a note on the back before handing over your card. This tactic is used a lot in sales and marketing to convince people to buy a product. If you had a special conversation with someone, leaving a quick note might inspire future contact.

Business Card Don’ts:

  • Be over-the-top. Even though creativity is a style choice for business cards, make sure that it makes sense. Don’t just add designs and patterns that have nothing to do with what represents you. It might be strange, but think of yourself as a brand. You want to make sure your business card is an accurate representation of what you are selling.
  • Include too much information. As stated above, keeping it simple is best. If people want to know more, they’ll contact you.
  • Keep outdated cards. If your contact information changes, don’t just scratch out the phone number or email address. It looks tacky and unprofessional. Instead, order new ones, or if you are in a time crunch, make your own.
  • Forget to carry your cards with you. Whenever you are going to an event, whether it is a conference, interview, lecture or anything else where you might be meeting important people in the industry, bring your business cards. Since they are small enough, you can stick 10-20 business cards in your wallet or bag. That way you are always prepared!

How can you get your own business cards? There are several websites that offer students free cards. But be sure to remember these tips when creating your own.

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