If you see a woman with a purse full of business cards, stop and take copious notes. You can almost guarantee that she is on a mission of success and she means business.
Business cards are typically the first source of visual branding that others get to take as a reminder of your interaction with them. How you present yourself through your confidence, clothing, and communication may determine how others perceive you at that moment, but a business card will determine if the relationship continues beyond your conversation.
So, what if you just received a pink slip from your employer and don’t have any business cards readily available? Get some business cards at your earliest convenience; it can be the difference between days in the unemployment line and an instant job connection while you’re waiting for your peppermint chai tea latte at Starbucks.
If you’re still not convinced that you should own a business card, keep reading. Don’t think you’re exempt from having personal business cards if you are happily employed. You always want to be prepared to articulate who you are beyond your 9-5 responsibilities.
If you are serious about not having to beg for another job again, check out these three reasons why you need to have personal business cards.
1. Opportunity Waits for No One
Unless you are a psychic, I can bet you a million dollars that you can’t predict the next encounter that could potentially lead to your biggest deal ever. It can be on the elevator to your best friend’s apartment or in the restroom while you’re refreshing your Ruby Woo lipstick. These brief encounters only give you a few minutes–or even seconds–to share who you are.
If someone wants to do business with you, you don’t want to say, “Find me on LinkedIn when you get a chance!” Since most people have short-term memories and use visual content to help them make connections, you may miss out on a potential job opportunity.
When someone is looking through their purse at their Rolodex of business cards collected, they will keep those people in mind for opportunities that arise. You may have been more qualified than the next person, but someone else might have been better prepared with business cards, giving them the opportunity instead.
2. You Can Direct Potential Clients to Other Pieces of Your Professional Portfolio
There is only so much that you can say about yourself in a 5-minute conversation, especially since you don’t want to gear the conversation only about yourself. The person on the receiving-end would probably try to avoid you at all costs if you were the main subject of each conversation.
Use your business card as a way to promote other sections of your professional profile that can’t be discussed in a regular interaction. Grab your vanity URL from LinkedIn, and add it to your business card. If someone adds you on LinkedIn, they may realize that you went to the same school, worked at the same company in the past, or volunteered at the same organizations as them.
Similarities connect people and help others to form an instant bond; that link may lead to a referral for a new opportunity.
3. Your Worth is Not Tied to Your Job Title
You need to be able to articulate who you are beyond the job title given to you by your employer. You can’t escape this requirement, even if you are living under a rock on Pluto. If you don’t know how to articulate your value, you will never rise above the position you have now.
The words you choose, the colors you use, and the format of your business card all tell a story about you. If you are a creative entrepreneur, your business card should not be anything less than magnetic.