The Plucky Business Card ...

It's Wednesday, and we have another post from co-Job Stalker, Gordon Dymowski … this time addressing his use of business cards. It was probably a good subject to revisit, since it's been nearly two years since I did a post on the subject (it shocks me to think I've been looking for a new job that long!). While Gordon and I both stress the importance of having professional business cards, we're approaching this from different angles. Anyway, here's what he has to say on the topic:

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This is Gordon with another guest post to the Job Stalker, and my area of concern right now is a job search and networking tool that is a must-have in the job search, yet there’s little focus on it.

I’m talking, of course, about the plucky business card.

(Disclosure - links to Moo.com are referral links, and if you become a new customer as the result of clicking those, I receive a small discount on future products. Want to be sure I’m meeting the FTC Guidelines)

We’re all familiar with how career coaches, professional experts, and pundits of all types will regale us with tales about how to use Linked In, or what should go into a resume (renewing my call for resume sanity)....but very little attention is paid to this small square piece of paper that can mean the difference between a connection or a failure.

Actually, I exaggerate somewhat - thankfully, there’s been a slight resurgence in interest about the business card. Some have used QR codes to post their resume or Linked In profile on that sheet of paper; others have used it to show off their photography business, or have unique ways of presenting their information. But this is a must-have not just while working, but when job seeking - it’s a basic way to get across contact information.

Most business cards seem to follow a format pattern - name, e-mail, phone number, fax number, and a short slogan or description of services offered. In short, it’s kind of a business version of a Lou Reed song - you know musically, it will always have the same three chords, but  what  you do with those chords can make it a masterpiece.

Now, I’m one of the few individuals who has two sets of business cards - one for my professional/networking endeavors, and a set of mini-cards (via Moo) for my blogging and more pop cultural-efforts. For my professional cards, I use Staples Online Printing Service- it’s relatively inexpensive, and provides some really nice graphic options for formatting and presentation. (It also allows you to create a PDF proof if you need to review). It’s a also much more customizable in terms of font, provides value for the money, and thankfully, ordering in bulk and having delivered is actually much less than in-store pickup.

(But you’re probably thinking - Gordon, what about VistaPrintor printing off your own? I’m not a big fan of VistaPrint, since their templates look a little too...well, they look very basic. I like having a much wider range of visual styles, especially since I don’t have an eye for design. Plus, printing off my own via laser printer....well, the edges always seem to be a little too flayed, my print format never seems quite to fit....even though it may be a little bit of an expense, having a nice set of cards formally printed often leads to greater success. Even if that success is a compliment on my nice business card.)

Since I often find myself networking with other bloggers, I have a business card that contains information pointing to my blog and home page (which will be revamped in the next few months) which I’ve created via Moo Cards. In fact, I use their mini-cards, which are half the size of conventional business cards. Combine those with certain images from my flickr feed, and I have a series of distinctive cards that allow me to network and engage on a semi-professional level.

(Which begs the question - why not just use the same cards for both? Different audiences - I’m not a comics industry professional (at least, not yet), and being able to provide different information for two different audiences is critical. Plus, my business card contains some more personal contact information...information I may not necessarily want to give someone who wants to argue whether Superman could defeat the Hulk in a fight. But I may be wrong, and welcome your thoughts).

Yes, dear readers, this column is the result of much thought, an incredibly busy week (including a full-on day trip to the far northwestern suburbs), and copious amounts of coffee....but I think the business card needs to get some serious props. It’s probably the most concise, underutilized tool in our job search....but what do youthink? Please feel free to leave me a comment down below, and as always, thanks for reading!

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