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Business Cards: a Must-Have in a Networking Event

When looking for a job, you may think that a business card is not useful at that point. Think again! Business cards are an easy way to leave a mark in a networking event: they make it easier for the people you meet to connect with you and remember you after the event. They also make you avoid explaining yourself when someone gives you their card and you don’t have any to give them back.

What contact information should be on your business card?

The basic information that everyone states on their business card consists of:

Your name

If you don’t have an English-sounding name, it may not be easy to spell or pronounce for the person you’re talking to. Your business card will make it easier for them to really understand and remember your name. Note that the usual way to write your last name in Canada is to capitalize the first letter only.

Your phone number

You should have a Canadian phone number before you order your business cards. Phone plans are expensive in Canada, don’t forget to check our article on the subject!

Your email address

Emails are the most common way to get in touch, which is what you are looking for when you hand out your business card. Make sure your email looks professional. Don’t put the spare email address you use for your spam or a funny email address you use as a joke with your friends. It is strongly recommended that you avoid using a domain name finishing by any other extension than .com, .ca, .co or .io.

At this point, your mailing address is not necessary and would waste some precious space on the card.

What professional details should be included?

As a job seeker, you want to make it easy for the reader to find more professional information about you:

Your job title

If you’re looking for a job, state the position you’re interested in.

Your LinkedIn profile

Even though everyone’s unique, there’s probably someone else with the same name as yours on LinkedIn. Adding your LinkedIn profile on your business card will allow people to find you more easily. As business cards have limited space, you can actually shorten your LinkedIn URL. If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile yet, make sure you improve it in 5 simple steps before you order your business cards.

Other social media

Depending on your activity, you can add other social media accounts but make sure they relate to your job search.

How to stand out with your card?

In a networking event, you know that the people you talk to will receive a good number of cards. The trick is to make a difference while still looking professional. There are different ways to accomplish that:

A photo

Including a photo of yourself on the card will help people match the name with the face. Although it may sound unusual to Europeans, it is very common here in Canada.

A logo

You can create your own logo but it can be very time consuming and you need to take different steps to ensure intellectual property. In the creative or freelance field though, it is an option that you will want to consider investing time in. Don’t hesitate to work with a professional on the subject.

A tagline

A tagline is a short sentence which sums up your job search and your assets. You probably have an elevator pitch ready; the tagline is a shorter version of it that should say it all. If you haven’t created one already, take some time to think about it as it can also be used on LinkedIn.

A QR code

As mentioned above, including a link to your LinkedIn profile is important. You can either shorten the URL or add a QR code linked to your profile. There are plenty of free QR code generators online; don’t forget to put the LinkedIn logo in the center so that people know the type of URL they are scanning.

There are many other ways to make a difference and you can get really creative. Above all, don’t forget that the business card should reflect your personal branding.

How to design an efficient business card?

By browsing templates or the web for inspiration, you may come across a good number of colors, layouts and formats you will be attracted to. If you mix them all you may end up with a card that will lack consistency and lose its objective: to leave a good impression.

If you have professional skills in designing business cards, now’s the time to use them. If you don’t, there are a lot of solutions out there you can use.

The main option is to use an online designing tool. If you’re not sure yet where you are going to order your business cards, a good website you can use is Canva. They have plenty of business cards templates for you to get inspired and start easily. Most of the designs and add-ons are free. You can then create your own design on their website and download your work to get it printed wherever you like. Feel free to explore all their tools! While you’re doing that, you should keep a couple of things in mind:

  • Colors. Don’t use more than two colors. To make sure that the colors match, you can use some online tools that will help you with your idea. If you found a picture with tones you like, you can also use this tool to pick them.
  • Space. Leave some blank space on the card. It will come handy if you or the person you hand it to want to write further details on the card.
  • Size. The regular card size is 3.5 inches by 2 inches. You can pick another size, like mini business cards or square business cards, or even go with a different shape. Every option has a cost and should be aligned with your professional project.

One sided or two-sided?

If the cost is an issue, stick to one-sided cards. But if your budget enables you to get two-sided business cards, there are a few options that you can consider.

As a bilingual worker, you can show it off on your business card by using one side for each language. In that case, you should minimize the redundant data and keep personal info (email, phone number…) at the minimum. It will enable you to state the job you’re looking for or your tagline in different languages. This option is particularly interesting if you are looking for a job in a bilingual environment.

Another option is to have one side with your name and tagline, and the other side with a short resume.

How to hand out your business card?

This may be the trickiest part of the whole process. In a networking event, everyone is there to meet new people and expand their connections. Find a person you feel comfortable approaching. Start the discussion with some ice breakers that you will have prepared and be the perfect networker by keeping the conservation going for a moment. The business cards exchange is the perfect way to end a conversation.

There are multiple ways to do make that happen:

     They hand out their business card to you

It’s your lucky day! If the person you’re talking to initiates the move by handing out their business card or asking for yours to keep in touch, it makes it easier for you to give it.

     You ask them for their business card

Make sure you find the appropriate time to ask someone for their business card. It should not sound greedy but rather like a request linked to your conversation. For example, if you just offered to share an article on a topic you were discussing, asking for their business card makes sense in order for you to send it to them. Even if they don’t ask you for yours in return, they will have your email address as soon as you send the link.

     You offer to give them your business card

Don’t just take out your business card and hand it to them. Make sure it’s fine for them by asking if they would like to stay in touch or connect through LinkedIn. If they agree, give them your card and ask if they have one for you in return. It ensures that you will be able to get in touch if they don’t.

Keep in mind that Canada is a multicultural country; the etiquette for giving and receiving business cards might be different depending on your interlocutor being from Europe or Asia for example.

When you collect business cards, you can write some notes on them about your conversations. It makes it easier to follow up or to write personal messages to connect on LinkedIn.

Our advice: step away to do so and use CamCard to save the information on your phone.

If you want to optimize your budget, become a member of BC Talents : our perks include discounts on business cards prints and on headshot photos.

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Marie Lacrampe grew up in France. Passionate about languages and culture, she has lived in Madrid (Spain) and London (UK). She arrived in Canada in January 2018 and she is part of the community. She is curious about people and loves to help and share information and ideas.