Market Yourself!

Posted by on Aug 26, 2011 in Career Management | 23 comments

In today’s digital world, business cards may seem passé, but networking cards are a great tool for building your professional brand, networking, and generating business opportunities.

Chances are you’ll be looking for a new job, new clients, or to increase your audience at some point in the near future. Don’t wait until you need your network to build your network! Being prepared with quality networking cards lets your contacts know who you are and how to contact you.

Why you need a business card:

You may meet professional contacts in person and a business networking card is a quick and easy way to exchange information. Your website url, name or email address may be difficult to remember when relayed in casual conversation.

As a job seeker, career professional, blogger, or business owner, a diverse and engaged network can help you achieve your goals! A business card is an accepted and professional way to exchange information.

Here are some situations where having a business networking card is useful:

  • Networking events, such as professional association meetings, professional training and seminars, and conferences.
  •  Striking up a discussion with a potential contact on the commuter train or at the airport during a business trip.
  • After answering the dreaded “what do you do?” question at parties.
  • A business partner, co-worker or friend refers you to one of their contacts.
  • Requesting a business card from your interviewer, and providing your business card at the close of your job interview.

Live Love Work Business Card

As a note, ask for your contact’s business card and immediately send them a follow up email and connect with them on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. You don’t want to wait to connect until you no longer remember who they are or where you met; connect right away, offer value, and your network will give back to you when you need it.

Why you need a personal business card:

If you are employed by an organization you may already have a business card for your organization, however it’s a good idea to have your own business networking card for the following reasons:

  • Don’t exchange your organization’s business card if you are not expressly acting as a direct representative of the organization.
  • Organizations are constantly changing and you want your contacts to have stable contact information, such as an email address and cell phone that you maintain as your career grows.
  • You can provide the url to your blog, LinkedIn, and other social networking profiles.
  • A personalized business networking card can highlight your skills and experience, values and goals. Consider including a bulleted list of your expertise.

Designing your personalized business card:

You can create inexpensive personalized business cards using business card templates on popular printing sites such as Vista Print, Zazzle or MOO.

Here’s some important information to consider including on your networking card:

  • Your name
  • A professional email address such as firstname.lastname@gmail.com
  • Your cell phone number (with a professional voice mail greeting!)
  • Your website url
  • Your LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and other professional social network profile
  • A tagline describing your values or goals. My networking card used to read, “Mindfulness and accountability in business”
  • Bulleted list of your areas of expertise
  • A professional photo of yourself

Chrysta Bairre Business Card

Market yourself!

Modern business cards come in bold colors and graphics, as well as printing on the back and front of the card so don’t feel limited by traditional business card designs. Create a card that tells a story about your career. Your networking card should give your contacts an idea who you are and how to get in touch with you.

I love your comments! Do you have a business card? What do you do with business cards given to you by someone else?

23 Comments

  1. Thanks for such a solid road map Chrysta!

    You’ve turned your business card design into an art form! And you also offer several practical uses for them after you craft them correctly.

    What an in depth list of “how to” practical uses. And if anyone is wise enough to implement some of your suggestions and be sure and follow up.

    You’ve probably just discovered a very inexpensive to start generating (either)some new potentially valuable contacts or some new business!

  2. Chrysta,

    I didn’t know bloggers needed business cards. I mean most of my work is online, right? But when I went to Blogher ’11 I was lucky enough to come across a to do list for Blogher attendees and get business cards was on there.

    So I ordered 500. I think I only got 100 or so out but I have them and will gladly hand them out at the next conference.

    ~Allie

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Allie!

      I’m headed to my very first blogging conference later this month, Bloggy Boot Camp, and I realized I needed business cards to hand out at the conference. Once I received my cards I realized they were great for handing out to family and friends, as well as contacts at professional association meetings. I’ve been telling people about my blog but without a link or url, most people have listened politely and that’s the end of that.

      I see so many articles about social media online and it’s easy to forget about offline networking events.

      Thanks again for commenting! Sorry it took me so long to respond, you were caught in my spam filter but I’ve fixed that now. Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  3. Chrysta,

    I have never thought about this… I thought we don’t need them online. As Janet said, business cards are overlooked in this digital age. But I like the idea so much. I think I should do just like Adrienne. Make them myself and print them. I believe I can create good ones. I love designing things.

    I believe you have changed the theme of your blog. I think this is my second visit to your blog. I have to say, it is AMAZING! Love the theme, colors and everything.

    Mouh
    :)

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting again, Mouh! I think it is easy to overlook networking cards when we’re used to interacting online, but I’m always talking about my blog in offline conversations and having a card is the easiest way to let people know where to go to find out more! I make a point to network on and offline.

      I am really pleased with my new blog design and thank you for your compliments! I’m thrilled that readers are enjoying the new design as much as I am.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  4. Hey Chrysta

    I always thought business cards where a bit old school until I was at a pool party the other day when people where having a great time, as well as networking with one another. They were flying around left right and centre…my details on the other; hand had to be written on old scraps of paper…needless to say these will be lost. Once I have my new site designed, I’ll definitely be making myself some business cards. Thanks for the timely advice

    • Thanks for your comment, Stacey!

      Business cards may not be as popular as they once were, but it only takes one time writing your name and number on a scrap of paper to wish you had some, right? :)

      I especially like the idea of printing front and back and printing a few bullet points to highlight what you’re about. It’s like a mini-bio or mini-resume, depending on what information you choose to include.

      Good luck creating cards for your new site design! No doubt they’ll turn out great!

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  5. Your business cards are lovely Chrysta (although I realize that ‘lovely’ does not generate income).

    I have attended a handful of seminars lately wherein they stress that business cards are not memorable…that we should create a DVD, pamphlet, etc because it is unlikely that people will discard them as they tend to do business cards. I actually like that idea; however, I have not yet implemented it. So…I am still passing out my business cards :)

    • Thanks for your comment, Rachel.

      The suggestion to make a flyer or dvd is interesting! I haven’t heard either of those suggestions yet. The most important factor is to be prepared with professional contact information that can be given to new contacts when networking in all aspects of life. Most of us already have a blog, Twitter or LinkedIn profile, but that isn’t helpful for people we meet offline.

      I’ll stick with my networking cards because they fit nicely in a pocket or wallet. I do think business networking cards can be interesting and effectively build a brand if they are well designed cards. I’ve received many compliments on my networking cards!

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  6. Thanks for the reminder to get new ones printed with my blog url on it. I have some beautiful ones that I got at Moo.com. Mine are used mostly for social connections but it makes sense to market my blog even with those I meet socially. I always enjoy stopping by your blog!

    • I am grateful for your lovely comment, thank you!

      I have as many friends and family interested in my blog as professional contacts, so it is definitely in my best interest to put my blog on networking cards even if I only give them to friends and family! I’ve even had friends pass my blog business card along to someone else they think will enjoy my blog.

      Moo really makes some nice cards, don’t they? I’d love to see what design you pick when you have new cards printed up. You have such an inspiring blog.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  7. Hi Chrysta,
    This looks like one of the most comprehensive guide to how to use a credit card to make the most out of networking situations. I really am not in a habit of carrying cards but I think I should.

    I really like the point where you mention that even though there is a company card, it is a good idea to carry business card. It makes a lot of sense.

    Till now there were not many good online card shops in India. Recently it looks like Vistaprint has acquired one and that means more choices in designs :).

    Thanks for providing such a useful information about business cards :)

    • Thanks for your comment, Ashvini!

      When I was out of work a few years ago I really started educating myself about the new challenges and techniques of job searching and networking. Business cards used to be too expensive for individuals to have, but that doesn’t much apply anymore.

      I really is a great way to give a new contact not only a way to contact me, but a snapshot of who I am and what my skills and interests are. As a blogger, I also love being able to give people my url. Many people I meet offline are intrigued by the idea of blogging and don’t fully understand what it’s about.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  8. Its great Christa that you are talking about marketing oneself. I would look it more like building a brand around oneself. Once you are able to build a brand around yourself. Then that Brand will market itself, and you will start to build authority and dominate your area of expertise. Lovely read Chrysta.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Eddie!

      I agree having personalized networking cards is all about building a brand. A networking card can provide so much more value than a phone number and email- it says what is important about the giver of the card.

      While I often think of building links and followers online, I meet many people offline who are interested in my blog, too. Even my husband has been telling people about my blog and handing out my cards. And when it comes down to generating business opportunities through my blog, I want to build credibility and authority both offline and on.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  9. Great post Chrysta and I also agree with everything you mentioned here.

    I have some I made up myself, yep printed on my home printer. I need to break down and have themprofessionally done and I will. I have found myself at different places and when people ask me what I do and I tell them, they of course want to visit my blog and check it out. You are SO right, give them a business card and it’s all conveniently there for them. Nothing to remember.

    The only one of those services I’ve known about is Vista Print but I never found any templates I liked personally. I might have to check out those other two you mentioned so thank you for that.

    As always, wonderful information you have shared with us today. I’m going to write that on my “to do” list. Get some professional cards made now.

    Adrienne

    • I appreciate your comment, Adrienne!

      VistaPrint has a lot of designs, but I found Zazzle and Moo had more unique and interesting designs. All three are very reputable companies!

      I had my new blog business cards designed for me and simply had them printed. Business card printing has come a long way and the color and cardstock is high quality and truly gorgeous! I also love that my cards are printed front and back in full color. There are so many options!

      I look forward to seeing what you do with your cards. I love your new header, by the way, and I will probably mention that over on your blog. Nice work!

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  10. Hi Chrysta,

    I agree with absolutely everything you say about “networking cards” – Hurrah… love that name as opposed to business cards.

    I think having a card also strengthens one’s confidence in a way. You look, feel and are professional when you have a card and it also communicates a message to ourselves that we take what we do seriously.

    I have to admit I just love spending time on the Vista site playing around with designs and ideas. In fact I get far too carried away with this on occasions but then I am happiest being a creator!

    ~ Marcus

    • Thanks for your comment, Marcus!

      I prefer the idea of networking cards to business cards, too. Networking cards opens up more possibilities and gives room for creativity, as well as adding credibility.

      I meet people offline that aren’t very knowledgeable about blogs and are interested in my blog, but not enough to remember to look up the url without a direct link or address. I like building credibility for blogging in general!

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  11. Chrysta, aloha. What a terrific post topic because I would say the importance of cards is overlooked far too often in this digital age. A person card is a reflection of the person who gives it so people need to make sure the card makes the statement about them that they want.

    Your list for items to include was excellent. More and more people are including QR codes which I think is a very smart move.

    Also, as you pointed out, it doesn’t make sense to hand out and to collect cards. You need to do something with the information. Most people are impressed when they receive a note after meeting. The social media connections are an excellent way to extend the conversation.

    Chrysta, well done. Best wishes for a terrific weekend. Aloha. Janet

    • I am grateful for your lovely comment, Janet. Thank you!

      One of my favorite elements of a personalized business/networking card is choosing a design and content that is unique. When we think of business cards, most of us envision the traditional organization business card with a company logo, name, title and contact information. A business card can be so much more! It can truly set be a reflection of the owner of the card, and that stands out during in person meetings.

      Of course, as you said, it’s important to connect after receiving someone else’s card. Sending a message after meeting someone builds on a relationship that might otherwise fizzle after an initial introduction. Most of us need more than one interaction with someone to remember and connect with them.

      I love how wonderfully our posts fit together today! I bookmarked your post so I can link it in my blog in a future post about networking.

      Be grateful,
      Chrysta

  12. I absolutely love this idea, Chrysta! I’ve had tons of awkward moments where I want to give someone my phone number and we can’t find a pen or a piece of paper. =P Lately, I’ve also been conducting a lot of interviews for my article writing and it would so help to be able to leave my contact information with someone. Since I’ve developed an online presence, it would be the perfect way to keep in touch with all the people I meet! =)

    I’m imagining having networking cards (love this term!) in Spanish and English and including my What Little Things website link. Thanks so much for the idea, friend! =)

    • I appreciate your comment, Sam!

      I just received business cards for my blog and one younger person told me, “I’ve never had anyone give me their phone number on paper before!” and thus my idea for writing this post was born. :)

      I’ve been telling people about my blog for months, and before I had my blog business cards I wasn’t following through on attracting new readers. Plenty of people I’ve met in person are interested in my blog, but very few of those people will remember the blog url or look up my blog from a scrap of paper that might be confused with trash- let alone the awkwardness of searching for a pen and paper on the go in this digital age.

      Before I started blogging, I had networking cards which were great for “drop in your business card for a free lunch” promotions, exchanging information at networking events, and to leave a reminder of my name, contact information and skill set with potential employers. (Companies I interviewed with were very impressed with my networking card and I received several job offers before accept the offer that was right for me!) It’s so much more natural to have a card that is well designed, professional and builds my brand when meeting people in person.

      Have you ever added a new contact directly into your cell phone only to not call right away and then have a hard time remembering where you met and who they were? Maybe it’s just me but this is another reason a networking card can be beneficial! It doesn’t only give my name and phone number, it tells the recipient something about me.

      Thanks again for your comment. I better stop before I write another full-length post in the comments!

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

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