Job seekers are constantly told they have to network for an effective job search. That is true, and yet so many people don’t do it… or when they do, they do it poorly.
There is plenty written on this site and so many others about how to become a better job search networker. One aspect that’s not often covered, however, is the importance of having networking business cards! There are many reasons that networking business cards are a critical part of the process, however, a great many job seekers don’t have them, or don’t use them.
Ponder these factors…
Lead opportunities are limited without them.
While it’s terrific to meet someone and chat about who else they know or opportunities they may be aware of… they are often very likely to think of other information for you after you part ways. If they didn’t already know you beforehand, how will they reconnect? Leads are often missed because the person with the opportunity didn’t know how to reach you! Giving them a business card is no guarantee, however, your odds are greatly improved that they may re-contact you with new ideas, advice, referrals or leads if they have a card with your contact information!
Still the most dependable form of information transfer.
Smart phones, tablets, smart watches and other forms of new media transfer and storage can be tremendous tools to trade contact information. The reality, however, is that we are still in an age where only a small percentage of people have the appropriate tools, apps, or knowledge of how to use them effectively even if they have them. If you only rely on opportunities to trade information by smart phone, you will miss out on sharing contacts with the vast majority of people you meet.
Greater likelihood of getting theirs if you offer yours.
Ideally, you obtain the contact information from everyone you meet so that you can be the one to take the initiative to follow up… always thanking contacts for their time and consideration, and making sure you include your full contact information in an email you send them. Human nature, though, can be funny at times. Simply asking someone for their business card, will often be met with reluctance or skepticism. Offering yours and asking for theirs in exchange, however, will much more likely be met without resistance at all. If you don’t have one yourself, it puts you at a distinct disadvantage.
Very little excuse not to.
Professional-looking networking business cards can be had very cheaply… or often even free. There are multiple online and local printers that offer free business cards in limited quantities… especially for job seekers. Do an online search for “free business cards” and you will find a plethora of options for networking business cards. You can even take advantage of multiple offers to have a variety of styles or customized information for various audiences or occasions. When they are easy to get, and very little, or no cost, it’s hard to say it’s not worthwhile.
While networking business cards are certainly not the ultimate arrow in your quiver, they are a vital tool for effective networking and follow up. As you’re preparing for your next networking meeting, informational interview, or chance meeting at the grocery store…
In summary, ya gotta have a card!