These days, the way in which you present yourself has become more complicated. It’s no longer just about being well groomed with a firm handshake. Your Facebook page, LinkedIn account, email address, business cards and phone number all say something about you. They are all pieces of your personal brand.
One important thing to consider when you’re looking for a job is business cards. If you have a current job, you may already have business cards. If so, that’s great. Use them. If you don’t have business cards with your current job, if you’re a student or if you’re unemployed, this is the time to get them.
You may wonder why business cards are important. Imagine you’re at a party or in an elevator and you meet the CEO of the one company you’ve been dying to work for. It’s a once in a lifetime chance to connect and make a lasting impression. You don’t want to be searching around for a scrap of paper or a napkin to scrawl your name and phone number down on. First, you may not be able to find a piece of paper and second, the experience is messy and unprofessional.
At a bare minimum, your business cards should include your contact information. Include your name, phone number and email address. You can also choose to add your address, your title, your fax number and your company name, but these are not required.
Ensure you’re using an email address that won’t turn off future employers. Email addresses from sites like AOL or Hotmail can give the impression that you’re older or less up to date with technology. My recommendation is to get a Gmail account. Signing up is free, and no one will think twice when they see your email address. Do not include your nickname, favorite sports team, birth year or graduation year in your email address. This gives a less than professional impression and can tip off future employers to your age.
If you’re like most people, you’ve had the same mobile phone number for years – even after you’ve moved. It may or may not be a local Memphis 901 number. If your area code is for a far away place, but you live in Memphis, consider getting a Google Voice number that redirects to your mobile number. This will allow you to have a local phone number printed on your business cards. Future employers won’t have to wonder whether or not you’re a local Memphis candidate.
Keep the card simple. Use basic colors and fonts, and keep your use of photos and logos to a minimum or none at all. Pick a high quality paper for the cards that will leave a positive impression when you give them to others.
Business cards can be purchased online via a number of websites, or in person at a local office supply store. If you purchase them online, the website will have a business card builder that will allow you to fill in your personal details and select paper, fonts and logos. Generally, shipping can take 1-2 weeks, so plan to order the cards in advance.
At the end of the day, you will most likely spend less than $50. This relatively small investment will pay off many times over, as your future manager will know where to call to offer you your new job.
Angela Copeland is CEO/founder of Copeland Coaching, www.CopelandCoaching.com. You can follow Copeland Coaching on Twitter (@CopelandCoach) and Facebook (Facebook.com/CopelandCoaching).