Having business cards is a useful part of your professional profile, especially if you are on the job market or are in college and anticipating going on the job market. I’ve asked Nicki Karimipour, a doctoral student at the University of Florida, to talk about decisions to be made in creating business cards.
by Nicki Karimipour
As a graduate student currently enrolled in classes, the last thing on your mind might be getting a job. But the day you begin perusing job postings and connecting with potential employers will come sooner than you may imagine.
Building your personal brand early on is important. Consider creating a LinkedIn profile to increase your visibility, connect with current colleagues and seek out future opportunities. Creating your own professional website is an easy way to display your portfolio, résumé and/or curriculum vitae.
A business card is another viable, tangible component to your personal brand. They are important because they serve as a first impression—consider them as visual representations of what you are trying to create Here are some tips and considerations when creating your business card:
1. Determine your personal brand
Before you begin pondering color schemes and fonts, it’s important to think about your personal brand. Who are you professionally? Better yet, who do you aspire to be professionally? Representing yourself in a way that gets you noticed (in a good way) and showcases your skill set and abilities is an integral part of building your personal brand. In Mass Communication Teaching (MMC6930), graduate students are required to create a professional website as part of an assignment. On this site, students can display their curriculum vitae, teaching portfolio, research interests, professional background and more. Think of your business card as a small extension of your professional self.
2. Design your business card
Some people will want their business card to be memorable and stand out, especially if they are in creative fields. On the other hand, some individuals would like a business card that is aesthetically simple and clean. Some opt to display logos or a photo on their card, which may be appropriate for a person who is affiliated with a business or is a photographer. There are many fonts and types of paper to choose from, which can help set your card apart from the crowd.
3. Decide what contact information to include
Business cards give you the freedom to include basic contact information such as your title, affiliation, address, phone number, email address and more. However, some people are choosing to integrate social media in to their business card by including their Twitter handle, LinkedIn profile URL or personal website/blog URL.
My biggest piece of advice for creating an aesthetically pleasing but classic business card is to make it timeless. As graduate students, information such as your local or work address may change frequently, so consider leaving out this information Additionally, including the name or class code of the course you teach may be unwise, especially if assistantship assignments are subject to change. To avoid reordering business cards, I opted to include my title (Ph.D. student and teaching assistant), affiliation (University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications), cellphone number, university email address, and Twitter handle, as I know these will remain constant in my time at UF.
4. Purchase your business card
There are many websites from which to choose, and the process of creating a business card from start to finish online is easier than ever. I used Vistaprint because I found their prices to be the most reasonable for the amount of cards I purchased, but there are other sites such as Zazzle, Minted, Moo, GotPrint and many more. Some websites also run specials and have promotions that can help offset the cost. Local brick-and-mortar businesses in your area also will be able to create and print your business cards.
5. Remember to distribute your business card
Once you create and receive your business card, you’ll find many different situations in which it would be appropriate to use them — conferences, professional gatherings, trade shows, seminars, panel discussions, to name a few. Whenever you meet a new person, consider giving them your business card, especially if you’re interested in collaborative work or a potential career or internship with them or their company.
Nicki Karimipour is a doctoral student at the University of Florida and a student in Mass Communication Teaching (MMC6930). She is also a lab instructor for two sections of Multimedia Writing (JOU3109), an undergraduate course requirement for journalism and public relations majors. Check a previous post for more tips for creating business cards.