When in Doubt, Pull Your Business Card Out

Posted by George Southworth IV on Mar 29, 2023 3:58:47 PM

This is an image from the film American Psycho, where Patrick Bateman is holding a business card from Paul Allen.  He is inherently jealous of Paul Allen, since he believes his business card is superior

"Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark..." (American Psycho, 2000)

Business cards, aside from resumes, are the pinnacle of follow-up discussions with potential customers, teammates, employers, etc. It opens the door for possibilities down the line, and it makes people easier to find. Everything from the creation, design, contact information, and delivery of the card is crucial. Standing out amongst competition may be difficult, but following these tips will put you ahead in your best career in no time. 

Concept of a Business Card 


Let's start with what a business card really stands for. A business card contains information about an individual 
or a business. It shares contact details, such as a person's name, job title, company name, phone number, email 
address, and website. Its main use is for networking and making connections. Whether it's in the business 
world or in the social world, a business card simplifies the connection process! Exchanging business cards is 
the beginning of a newfound relationship. Its exact delivery is understood differently across cultures, 
emphasizing the interpersonal exchange and presentation. Business cards come in different designs and styles, 
ranging from traditional rectangular cards to digital landing pages. Regardless of design, a business card is a 
statement of its owner, and physical symbolism of professionalism and personality. 

Digital Cards or Paper Cards?

This is a picture of a standard business card with a custom design.  You can see that a custom design goes a long way of showing creativity and professionalism.

With that in mind, which is a better representation of you? A digital or paper business card? Look at the facts. 
Digital and paper business cards both share your professional information. However, they are very different 
when you distribute them. Digital business cards are easily created, stored, and shared on any platform. They 
also store media items that can present a portfolio of past work. On the other hand, paper business cards offer a physical piece of information, adding to the exchange and experience. They can be customized with different 
designs, materials, and imagery to create an exclusive interaction. However paper cards fail where cards 
require start-up costs, need storage space with finite amounts to distribute, and can be easily lost and/or ruined. In the long run, choosing your medium of business information is a matter of choice and situation.

What's on a Paper Business Card?

A paper business card is contained most of the time between three and a half by two-inch margins, leaving a 
small space to put your most important professional information. When designing a business card, it needs to 
include relevant information that represents your profession, such as your name, job title, company name, and 
contact information. The design of the business card needs to be appealing and accentuate your professional 
style. When considering the layout, make sure that it is legible and easy to read, making the spacing and print 
visible regardless of the reader. Some amazing printing services are Vistaprint, Overnight Prints, and Staples. 
An excellent business card establishes trustworthiness and helps in the long run with possible employers. 

What's on a Digital Card?

This is an image of possible digital business cards, made on platforms Popl, Blink, and Dot.  These platforms are easy access and allow you to show multimedia content in a professional setting.

"Why didn't somebody tell me he had one of those things?" (Batman, 1989) 

A digital card is a game-changer for applicants and businesses with visual representations of completed work. 
An excellent place to start is choosing a service to host your cards such as Popl, Dot., Doorway, or Blink. Some 
services include devices, price cuts, and different display options. It's important to find the platform you find 
most visually appealing. After setting it up, the landing page must include all the necessary information that 
someone would need to contact you (just like a paper card!), such as your name, job title, company name, 
website, email address, and phone number. Below your picture, you may want to include a couple of lines or an 
explanation of yourself/your business. Next, link your social media accounts and make sure they are 
professionally friendly! Don't link anything unrelated to your field of work. This helps potential employers get 
a better picture of your personality and professional style. If you have visuals of your completed work or links 
to achievements, link them to give a better idea to employers about work experience. Finally, list blogs that you 
have recently read about industry trends, showing that you are up-to-date about what's going on. 

Card Distribution and Etiquette

This is an image of two people exchanging a business card.  They demonstrate the upmost professional manner as they exchange the card, and the card demonstrates an exquisite design.

Now you have your cards, and it's time to give them out. It is important to consider these items before you 
distribute them. Your card is a personal extension of you. Don't hand out your cards to someone you haven't 
met or had a memorable interaction with. At the end of your conversation, if you are not directly requested for 
a business card, offer it to them. Chances are they will accept it, but if not, it's important to remain respectful 
and understand their decision.  With that in mind, here are some networking methods you can use to distribute your card: 
1. Carry your business cards with you at all times. Any time is the best time to have a card on you. Make 
sure that you are ready for any social opportunity. 
2. Introduce yourself. Make sure you tell people your name and profession to make a memorable impact. 
3. Follow up. After you have handed out your business card, make sure to follow up with the person. Whether it 
is by email, call, or letter. 
4. Network. Attend networking and social events. This is the best way to meet people in your related field and 
see industry trends. 
5. Use social media. Social media is the most widespread method of distributing your card. The most popular 
method is by using LinkedIn, but other professions make calls for different platforms. 

When you're feeling social and want to stay in touch, hang onto your cards cause they'll come in clutch. 

Navigating the world of business cards can be pretty difficult, but it's so much more simple if you understand what they mean and how to use them. These cards are an extension of your professional self and guide you toward people in your profession and/or new opportunities. There are all sorts of designs, styles, and mediums, but each one is determined by which way best represents you. A paper card holds a physical place in a person's hand or pocket, whereas a digital card explores more multimedia-level ideas. What works best is up to the distributor, and the preferred method to deliver your card. All in all, when it comes to what to use for business cards, how to design them, and where to distribute them; the choice is yours. 

Make your cards today and change the way you network!


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Topics/Tags/Categories: Networking, First Impression, Career, Job Search, First Step, Job Fair, Selling Yourself, Dream Job, Business Card, Personal Branding

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