Not an Ordinary Business Card!

Meet Ryan Skolny (the horizontal dude above) from Reading, PA.  He’s one of the many emerging professionals I met at ASLA’s annual meeting in Phoenix last month.  I met so many enthusiastic people – it was awesome!  I heard from many that they’d taken advantage of the portfolio review service and found the advice very helpful.  I was really glad to hear that and would encourage job seekers considering attending in Boston 2013 to sign up for this service as soon as sign-ups are open as it sounds like the slots fill up fast.  It has taken me nearly a month to get ready to post about the event(s), and I see from my inbox that some other people took the same amount of time to get it together, too. 

I was excited to see something this year that I assume is the revival of a very old tradition (they used to be called visiting cards or calling cards).  These little marvels are almost business cards, but if you’re not currently “in business” (i.e. unemployed), having these seems like a pretty great, inexpensive answer!  What’s the big difference?  The information.  I collected a few; one student made a point of telling me that it was not a business card, but a “contact card”.  Whatever you call it, seems like a good thing to make with the rest of your marketing package. 

So that got me to thinking – not only about what to put on your would-be business card, but what do you do with it, and what about all those business cards you wind up with from an event like the ASLA national conference, and also, how does one go about networking at one of these shin-digs?  I’ll tackle the first question here, and the others in the next post(s).

Of the (specifically non-business) cards I gathered from emerging professionals, the information on the cards was pretty consistent.  Most had a name and email address with one or two other pieces of information and a graphic element.  That was it, but what you include is up to you:

  • Name: this is a must, sorry
  • Email address: NOT a .edu email address, not current job email (and nothing creepy like “sexxxy_pants@
  • Phone number: or not if you think handing your personal phone number to strangers is unwise.  You can also try using Google Voice
  • Website: for your portfolio or a blog address (if you have one)
  • QR code: for said website or blog (consider still including the web address written out for folks without smart phones like me)
  • School: where you’re a student or your alma mater and degree you’re working on or have earned
  • Mission statement: what you’re looking for, a quote, or some other splurb about you
  • Graphic:  logo, doodle, image

Remember, these cards are not ordinary business cards; they’re tiny little design problems looking for your design solution.  They should have some graphic element in common with your other marketing materials (resume, portfolio, letters, etc) and need to be as nice as you can possibly make them.  They should include enough information that someone can find you, and hopefully remember who you were when they met you.

I personally think it is clever to leave enough white space that someone can jot down a note on the card to remind them who you are, or what you said.  This doesn’t work so well if your card has a shiny finish that smudges, so watch out for that.

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