Jerry S. was laid off from his job working in a call center five months ago due to a reorganization of the company. Since that time, Jerry has been doing a lot of things right in his job search – he developed a clear and decisive job search plan, has been applying to jobs that he has researched, and he has been putting himself out there at networking meetings, job fairs and career-related seminars. But, the one big mistake that Jerry has made is that he does not have a way for employers to remember him – he had no networking card to leave behind.
A networking card is a form of a business card that simply has your contact information on it that you can hand out when at a networking meeting or a job fair. It is more professional than leaving your name on a piece of paper and it can position you as prepared and ready for action. It actually could be a deal-breaker if you so happen to meet a hirer, like a recruiter or a manager. Here are what should go on your networking card:
- Your telephone number(s)
- Your email address & LinkedIn address
- A short statement of your specialty job area, skills or brand – something memorable about you
You can either print them yourself or go to a store; if you do them yourself, make sure that you have a good cardstock, I recommend glossy, minimizing any details that could be distracting, and with a 12-point font so it is easy to read. If you go to a store, such as Vistaprint or Staples (Staples actually is a Vistaprint vendor so you can order them in the store and they will print them there without the wait or shipping), be sure to pick a design that is simple and not overused, so plain may be better; be sure to edit the back before you print. You can typically get 250 cards for $10-15 dollars, which is definitely worth the investment.
A problem that I see with people who are in job search mode is that they don’t realize they are missing the boat when they do not have a networking card, or one that is not attractive or stands out. Do you really want to get lost in a sea of small strips of paper with a multitude of other job seekers or do you want to present yourself as a confidant and prepared job seeker, that knows his/her skills, what they have to offer and is ready to do so? This is particularly critical considering that job seekers are being scrutinized on all levels – get prepared and stand out from the crowd!