In the course of my various job searches over the past decade, I’d spent a goodly amount of time and money working with “career management” groups which never quite seemed to manage getting me placed in a job. However, I did pick up a couple of very useful tools from these folks, and will be sharing one of these with you today.
Now, I hope you already have some sort of networking card that you’re using. I’m always amazed when I go to a networking event and folks there don’t have cards … and it happens more often than one might think. Why are you going to that networking event? You want to make contacts with people, right? And you’re hoping that when the event is over, you will be remembered if the folks you met find themselves in situations where they have information that would be helpful to you.
Unless you are remarkably memorable, you are likely to only be a hazy nameless half-memory for most of the folks you’ve met unless they’ve received (and kept) your card. Think of all the people you chatted with at the last professional gathering you attended … can you recall the details of who they were, how to contact them, what they were interested in? Probably not unless you got their card (and took notes on it).
This is why it’s essential to have a good card for the job search … something more than just contact info. Here’s the layout of my current card. On the front are three basic areas, name and e-mail (my preferred contact mode), my phone numbers (home and cell) with my mailing address, and a link that goes off to a web site with a searchable HTML version of my resume (along with other social media contact info). Now, except for the web page, none of this is unusual, and can pretty much be adapted from any template on a business card site (I’ve used VistaPrint for years, and if you get on their mailing list you’ll get special offers all the time, deeply discounting their prices).
What is often not appreciated is the idea of using the back of the card for more information. One of the things that I was “coached” to create was a version of my “elevator speech” (a brief condensed statement of what you offer and what you’re looking for in your search) to go on the back of my cards. I have two short paragraphs, one “Who I Am:” and one “Looking for:”, outlining the basics of those subjects. I have heard, time and again, people say what a great idea this is, and I, obviously, agree.
With this information on your card, when the person you met pulls that handful of cards out of their pocket or briefcase a week after an event, they will know who you were, and what you were offering and looking for in your job search. You have instantly become many times “more memorable” than most of the cards in that stack!