Things I wish I knew as a student, #1 – invest in decent business cards
These things will appear in the order that I am near a computer when I remember to write them, rather than in order of importance. That said, business cards are pretty high up the list of things I wish I’d known…
One of the first things I wish I’d known was that it’s really useful to have some simple yet professional business cards made up. All you need on the cards is:
- Your name
- Your email address
- Your contact number
The less that is on there, the less you’ll need to update if you move. Plus, you can use these cards if you ever find yourself between jobs.
Make sure your email address is a professional sounding one. If you’re not ready to give firstname.lastname@example.org, you can always set up a forward from your new, professional email account to the wangawooza one. Just make sure that you set up the reply address properly, so people who email email@example.com don’t get a reply from wangawooza. Might not be the impression you’re after…?
Some email addresses are going to be taken already. Try using initials, middle names or a combination. Please double check what it looks like in text before you sign up! If your name is Adam Roger Sedly, but that AdamSedly@email is already taken you may not want to sign up for ARSedly, etc. It sounds daft, but from time to time we get so focussed on what how we read things, we forget to double check how other people read them.
The transition from being a student to being in the working world can often involve a geographic transition as well. In light of this, probably best to keep the number a mobile number.
The goal of these cards is to make you look professional to as many audiences as possible. If you get into sector specific designs, there is a chance that the design may not translate into another sector in quite the same way. What would look great in the private security sector might not appeal to the organic artisan market. With this in mind, go for a simple and classic layout. Keep fonts classy. If you’re feeling fancy, have a look online to see what font combinations are recommended. (Pinterest has quite a lot on this.)
Where to buy?
I’ve been through quite a few boxes (four?) of VistaPrint business cards over the years, with varying quality levels as my disposable income became more or less disposable. If you haven’t got much money to spare, they definitely get the job done for not much money. A simple VistaPrint business card in the hand of someone you want to add to your professional network is worth all the super fancy, super classy cards you have yet to order combined.
I have used both their templates and the ‘build your own’ and I think, for the purpose of simple cards, I prefer the latter. It gives you more freedom with regards to the layout and style. Don’t feel you need to keep your font centred or at the top of the card – have a play around and see what you like.
The best thing I got from Vistaprint was a metal business card holder. It was bundled in at a reduced price with some of the cards I got and I didn’t think much of it at the time. But over the years, I’ve pulled that little case out of my bag countless times and have received a surprising number of compliments on it! It’s very useful for keeping cards crisp, clean and in one place. One of those good investments that seems like a gimmick at the time…
About a year ago, I met a lady at a conference and when we swapped business cards, I was so impressed by hers! I had to ask where she got it from and she told me about Moo. There’s nothing too crazy to it – they just do really, really nice business cards.
Please check them out here – http://www.moo.com/share/jsj9wj
That’s my unique referral code – if you use it to sign up, I get credit and can get me some new cards!! And then you get your own referral code and can pass the joy on!
I honestly don’t think I’ve been excited about business cards before, but I was excited about getting my own Moo cards and even after 10 months of handing them out, I still secretly enjoy it. They’re just really nice cards!
I got cards with quotes on the back and tend to hand them over to people quote up. You can select which of the quotes in a pack you want, which helps make the quotes more relevant to you and your sector and goals.
You can check out their designs here – http://uk.moo.com/design-templates/business-cards/
I really love my business cards and would definitely recommend Moo. For me, the slightly higher price was definitely worth it, as it is part of my brand.
Moo also sell some pretty fancy business card holders – http://uk.moo.com/accessories/business-card-holders.html
When you’re setting yourself up as a professional individual that is worth knowing and doing business with, a business card is a great place to start!