Are you in transition? Do you have a business card? What does it say about you? Why do you need a business card, what should you put on it, and what should it look like?

With over 80% of jobs being landed through networking, business cards are often your first exchange of information when you meet someone in your job hunt. But what message are you giving people when you give them your business card? Does it say you are a value added solution or just a commodity on the job market? If you are at a networking event, how many other people there have the same design card?

At the most fundamental level, a business card allows you to exchange contact information, so that in networking, you can continue to communicate, develop a relationship and leverage each other’s connections. At a higher level, the business card will inform your network of your target position and industry as well as your skills and experiences that qualify you for the position. Finally, the card reflects your professionalism, and the standard with which you view yourself. With this in mind, what components go into a well developed business card that represents your brand and value?

  • Name
  • Target Title and industry if applicable – not necessarily your most recent title, but where are you headed?
  • Tag line/ Career Theme – What do you do for companies? What is your impact on the companies? Why do you do what you do? What are you known for?
  • Cell Phone
  • Professional e-mail address – it is easiest to base it on your name
  • Social Media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and WordPress
  • Core competencies on the back

Remember, that since the card represents you as a professional, you want your card to stand out. Yes there is a site that prints “free” cards, you just need to pay for shipping. But all that says is that your brand is not worth distinguishing. You are branding yourself as a commodity. If you are worth a company investing in you, than invest at least a little bit in how you present yourself. Print your cards on heavy stock. This shows pride in who you are, and confidence in your value. Have color! Work with a graphic designer to come up with a design and layout that represents you and your quality. After all, your business card is your first impression.


This post is by Greg Johnson of Above The Rim Executive Coaching

  1. DanTrojacek says:

    Great article!. “Good” cards are readily noticed and go a long way in self branding and promotion. I’ve collected a lot of cards, and there certainly ones that stand out. They are easily distinguished.


  2. Great advice! I followed Greg’s instructions and have gotten a great response from my new business cards at networking meetings, both at the meeting itself and through follow-ups.

  3. I know so many people who just randomly pick a style, use the least expensive card stock and virtually ignore a powerful potential branding statement about themselves. Greg, I still remember your discussion about the Japanese business people and the “presentation of the card”. A sense of personal commitment to “the card” can go a long way towards establishing ones identity in a very crowded marketplace. Great read!

  4. Kathy Hallmark says:

    I’d love to see two sample business cards: one for someone who is a senior nearing graduation and one for someone who has recently been laid off. Do you have samples posted somewhere on a website?

  5. […] or business card to let people know what you are looking for. There is a lot of good information on what you should have on your card, as well as what you should avoid on your […]

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