With a freshly updated resume, you're ready to impress your next great employer, partner or client. However, cramming that beautiful resume into your wallet makes for a crumpled presentation. Consider instead carrying a "mini resume" - also known as a business card.
Even if you're not a frequent visitor to networking events, a business card can come in handy anytime that you're meeting with people face-to-face - at your kid's soccer game, at a cub scout meeting, at your place of worship, or at your local gym, to name a few examples. Perhaps while browsing your grocer's produce aisle, you'll bump into an old boss or co-worker who happens to be hiring soon and wonders what you're up to. You just never know.
Although your resume can be stored on your blog or social media page - how will people know how to find it? A business card can list all of your web pages.
Faces and Names
Including a photo on your business card could be a great reminder to someone you've recently met in person, who might struggle later to recollect your name. It's a networking tool. However, don't confuse this with including a photo when applying for a job - a possibly detrimental and politically incorrect move, at a time when your first impression should detail only your relative skills and experiences to an audience you've probably never met.
Business card photos, on the other hand, are used by many professionals - especially those in sales and new media - as a way to personalize their branding message after a meeting. It could be the same photo from one's website, blog, and/or social media pages. Tip: if you're going to include a photo, dress conservatively and get your photo taken by a professional. If you're the least bit uncomfortable with a photo on your business card - don't include one. It's completely optional and, frankly, it's not all that important.
Here's your chance to sum up your resume in concise phrases. Keep your contact information and a photo (if you're including one) on one side, and your bulleted "personal brand" message on the other. So what is a personal brand? It should capture some or all of these:
- Work ethic
- Achievements and certifications
Keeping this brief is not an easy exercise. You'll need to start with a big list and whittle it down to just a handful (or fewer) of quick phrases. Look for action verbs that underscore your career essence, such as 10 years in Educational Leadership, Award Recipient 2005-09, or CPA.
Fancy or Plain
A simple text version of your business card will often suffice. But if you're in a career where design matters (and some would argue that it always matters), hiring a firm to design your business card may be worth the slightly steep investment. Often they design your personal or small business brand and throw the business cards in for free. Either way, your resume remains wrinkle-free and easy to access.