There is no universal guidance advising you when to get a business card and when to NOT get a business card. As far as Career Savage is concerned, you get a business card if you feel it is necessary to achieve your career goals! You think only employees of corporations have business cards? No. Freelance artists and other professionals who choose to invest in themselves get business cards as well. There have been debates in the career world about when to get business cards. Do you get it right after graduating college or after you have established yourself and your brand? Here is what we think...
If you are a college senior prepping for graduation, first things first have a well-crafted resume. Having business cards and no resume makes no sense. (1) If you have a resume, (2) are 100% certain on how you plan to use your degree, (3) feel business cards will make your life easier at career fairs and (4) have the extra cash, by all means get business cards! Having business cards as a college senior sets a precedence. There are very few if ANY college seniors who have business cards. When you pass your business card to a potential employer alongside your resume they will, more likely than not, be impressed.
Some may be wondering, "What the h*ll does a college senior put on their business card and how are they a business?" Always remember, that YOU are your own brand and your brand represents your "business". A senior graduating with their bachelors degree in social work could get very simple business cards that state the following:
Full Name (i.e. Jane Smith)
Degree (i.e. Bachelors of Social Work)
Optional - University (i.e. Harvard University Class of 2020)
Email (i.e. Your school email or another career appropriate email account)
Phone (i.e. (000).000.0000)
Optional - Statement at the bottom (i.e. Seeking social worker position to aid children and adults in low-income areas.)
We would like to add that by no means should a college graduate order 1,000 business cards. You haven't truly started your career yet and it could likely change as years go on. You can start out with 50 business cards and go from there! As for everyone else, what is truly stopping you from getting business cards? Our guess is nothing and no one other than your own skepticism.
If you are a working professional and plan to advance in your career you should have some. Our advice is to get some separate from your current employer unless you plan to work for someone else forever. If you plan to create your own consulting firm or business get your own business cards. This way when you are ready to venture out on your own, you have already cultivated an individual brand and separated yourself from any already incorporated business you have worked for. If you really do not want to get business cards and prefer to use your employers that is okay too but if they do not provide you with any...you know by now what needs to be done.
Having your business tucked away in your wallet always comes in handy which is why we always advise clients to get them. You never know when you will meet someone and more importantly you never know WHO you will meet! Be ready with a business card so you never have to get ready!
Comment below your thoughts on business cards.