The business card is an effective tool that you can use in order to promote your skills and value as an employee or employer. Whether you are running a business or looking for a job, a business card can make a great first impression if it is done right. You will be surprised to find out exactly how much information can be included in a card. You might think that resumes are far more effective, but you cannot carry dozens of resumes with you everywhere you go. Here are some tips that will help you maximize the potential of your business cards.
- Take them everywhere with you.
You should look to add the business cards to the checklist that you go through before you leave home: wallet, keys, business cards. You never know when you have a random encounter with someone where a business card could have proved useful. Even while you are going to the store or on you daily jog, you can still run into someone who you could network with. Try to turn carrying business cards into a regular habit.
- Include a business card with bill payments.
Most bills nowadays come with advertisements, so why can’t you return the favor? It might seem very unlikely that the person who receives your mailed envelope will find your card useful, but the truth is that you never know. This is just another example of a networking opportunity that you should not pass up. Learning how to take advantage of each one will be your newfound key to success.
- Learn the etiquette.
You might think that using a business card is pretty straightforward, but there is some etiquette to it. When you give a business card, always ask for one in return. Then, if the person gives it to you, look at the card for a few seconds before you put it away. That way the person will feel more important and you might even find a topic of discussion. You can then write down various topics, notes and other comments on the card that you would want to remember should you follow up with that person in the future.
- Generosity pays off.
Business cards might cost money to print, but you should be generous with them nevertheless. Do not give them out only to the people you are convinced would be useful to network with. Each person is another opportunity to give them out to friends and family, as well. If a person asks for a second card, give it to him because he might pass it along to someone else.
- Use them for referrals.
A business card is a great way to offer your services to another person. It is much more efficient than simply asking them if they require your services or if they know someone else that does. Just giving the card to them and letting them know what you do puts you in a much better position and people will be more inclined to help you out, even using them as referrals to others.
- Take advantage of random encounters.
As said before, you never know when you might meet someone that could benefit you. Even family gatherings or social events are great places where you can meet new people, so always keep a few business cards handy, just in case.
- Put yourself in the perfect position.
If you are looking for a job, you might have been disappointed in the past with the results that you got at a job fair or conference. You should consider doing volunteer work at these kinds of events. It would put you in a much better position to meet important people who you can give your business card to. They are also likely to be more impressed with you seeing as how you are willing to go the extra mile and work more in order to secure a job for yourself.
- Stand out from the crowd.
If you have just taken part in an interview for a job, a very nice touch would be to follow up with a “Thank You” note. You need to realize that in today’s economy you are likely competing with dozens of other qualified workers for the position you want so you will need something to make you stand out. That note could be just what you have been looking for and by placing your business card in there, as well, you are ensuring that your potential employers will take not of you.
- Promote yourself.
Another great situation where you can network with people is when you read in the papers or online about a person that just received a promotion. Send that person a congratulatory note along with your business card. They will be happy to receive the commendation and you just have made another friend that has the potential to be quite useful someday. This is something that you can do on a regular basis as the low price of the stamp and card are well-worth the potential benefits that you could enjoy later on.
- Include a slogan.
This is another clever way to make your business card stand out. The card itself already says a lot about you, but the slogan can be used to add even more information. A catchy phrase will ensure that your card is more memorable, but it is also a good opportunity to show off your greatest quality or your values. Give people a reason to hire you. What you are doing right now is called branding and it is something that companies will pay top dollar to marketing businesses for.