By Jessica Barnard
Business cards have often been hailed as fast, efficient ways of networking. However, many people are beginning to wonder if business cards are a thing of the past. Increasingly popular online resumé tools serve the same purpose as cards and are far more accessible now that many professionals are operating from home. Also, it goes without saying that any object passed from hand to hand can spread germs. Even after the current pandemic, using paper cards could cause environmentally conscious employers to view candidates in a negative light.
This doesn’t necessarily deem business cards things of the past. Business cards are quick, easy tools for networking with other professionals, and they can be designed to fit your unique identity as a writer. As a traditional option, business cards are just one of many resources available. Now more than ever is the perfect time to explore alternatives to use instead of, or along with, business cards.
Online resumé tools
Websites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, and Ziprecruiter each serve a dual purpose: helping users search for jobs, and helping companies seek out potential employees. By uploading a virtual resumé and/or filling in the websites’ questionnaires, employers can get to know you at their convenience.
These sites can’t guarantee a response, but in such a fast-paced world that’s been largely moved online, resumé display tools such as these are great ways to network. To compare, business cards take up far more room than a link, and if the employer loses your card, they also lose their way of contacting you. Along with this, business cards require employers to take the extra step of emailing or calling you for additional information about yourself. On websites, your list of professional experiences is only a few clicks away.
If you use these sites, be sure to update your information on them regularly. This will ensure your profile is as full and accurate as possible.
Attending career exploration events online or in person is a surefire way to connect with professionals, whether it’s companies you’re interested in working for or other professional writers whose positions you would like to learn more about. These fairs are a chance to introduce yourself directly.
Be polite, professional, and of course, prepared. Some employers may be interested in viewing your resumé or taking your contact information. In this case, a business card may come in handy, but don’t rely solely on the card to make an impact.
Besides career fairs, be sure to check out your university’s list of visiting writers, guest lecturers, and career center events.
Making a Business Card Work
Business cards are still viable today. While they are becoming less common, using one may actually help you stand out compared to professionals who exclusively use other tools. As you make your name as a professional writer, you may still wish to brand yourself on a business card. Here are a few techniques you might try as you develop one:
- Do your research: like any other design piece, business cards have style expectations that change with time and culture, so check out samples before designing yours.
- Keep it simple: the space on the card is limited, so only include brief, necessary information about yourself, such as contact numbers and your professional title.
- Be creative: your card should be unique to you, meaning preset templates will need some tweaking of layout or color themes in order for your card to stand out.
Ultimately, business cards are networking tools that showcase individuality. While designing yours, consider who your audience is and what sort of tone you want to communicate. This article by Deanna deBara “38 unique business cards that will make you stand out” offers business card design suggestions in greater detail.
While business cards are not things of the past, we are living in an ever-changing world. Today, the best method of sharing your name as a professional writer is to use as many methods as possible. Immerse yourself in the act of networking. There are a number of ways to make your name known, from virtual tools to in-person conversations, and engaging with these as often as possible will keep you fresh on the minds of future employers.