Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Make your own business cards

Have you ever been in a situation where you met an influential person in your field of interest and he/she asked for your contact information, and your only option was to quickly and unprofessionally jot down your information on a scratch piece of paper?  If you answered yes, there is an easy solution to this problem – BUSINESS CARDS!  Having and distributing business cards may seem unnecessary or too advanced for many college students, but the truth is you don’t have to be a high-powered business executive to distribute information.  The most basic level of networking involves distributing your contact information. Subsequently, having a professional business card available at all times is a great idea. You’ll never know who you’ll meet. 
Business cards can include everything from:
-       Name
-       Company name (if applicable)
-       Title (if applicable)
-       Personal/Business Address
-       Personal/Business Phone Number
-       Personal/Company Website
-       Personal LinkedIn (or any other professional social networking source) Account Web Address
-       Blogs
How to Make/Buy Business Cards
In order to design and obtain personalized business cards, you can be as simplistic as designing and printing them on your own or designing them on an easy-to-use professional business cardwebsite.  If you choose to make your own business cards, there are free templates available in Microsoft Word.  Overnightprints.com and Gotprint.net also offer affordable business card templates, or you can design your own and have them printed at a local printer such as The UMC InkSpot.
Text Message Business Cards
For those of you who are tech savvy, you may want to consider text message business cards.  Contxts (www.contxts.com)  is an online service and smart phone app that allows you to send and receive mobile business cards through SMS text messaging.  When you register either on their website or through the smart phone app, you choose a username and enter in any contact info you want to appear on your SMS business card – email address, phone number, social networking sites, and more. 
Once you have saved your SMS business card, there are two ways to exchange it with someone that you meet.
To send your recipient your contact information
To send your SMS business card to someone, text “send theirnumberhere”, replacing “theirnumberhere” with your recipient’s 10-digit phone number.  Shortly after, your recipient will receive your SMS business card.
To exchange information with each other
  1. The person you want to send your SMS business card to texts “yourusername” to 50500, replacing “yourusername” with the username you registered on Contxts. 
  2. Shortly after, you will receive a text message asking you to confirm that Contxts should send your SMS business card to your recipient (that is, unless you have turned off this feature).
  3. After confirming, your contact will be send your information, and you will be able to save their number through the confirmation text message.
Business cards are one of the simplest, yet most important tools you can use when you're networking, so make sure to bring them with you when you're going to an event; you never know who you'll meet and want to exchange information with.  Be sure to bring some of your business cards to hand out to new professional contacts at Career Services' Annual Networking Night on October 26 from 5:30-7 p.m. in the C4C Abrams Lounge. We'll see you there!