One of the difficulties in making introductions at the entry level is that you lack the standard "business card introduction" that most businesspeople rely upon. However, there is a valid alternative for the entry level job seeker—the Networking Business Card.
Before attending job fairs or professional association meetings, you may want to develop your own personal Networking Business Card. You will have ready information to hand out to any contact at any time when making an introduction. Networking Business Cards are different from standard business cards in that they provide information about you independent of a particular employer. They are ideally suited for the entry level.
A Networking Business Card gives you a distinct competitive edge in the entry level job market. Why? Because virtually none of the other grads you are competing with have a business card yet. Why would they? We usually receive our first business card along with our first professional job. But as you will see, the Networking Business Card can be vitally important in your search for that first job.
Have your information printed in the standard business card size (3.5" wide by 2" high), but with the following "kicker" format:
The "kicker" is the second line, which can provide descriptive information, such as "Java Developer" or specific job search information such as "Seeking Retail Management Position" or other "Seeking…" information. This line replaces the standard title line on most business cards, and stands out in the eyes of the receiver.
You can develop this card format using a business card template with most major word processors (such as Microsoft Word). Avery sells business card forms which work with most laser printers. You can also have them printed for you at Kinko's (they can set it up for you) or any other print shop.
A great addition to your networking business card is the shortened URL to your web resume here at CollegeGrad.com. Any contact who likes what they see on your business card can easily view your full resume content, which helps further sell them on you. If you haven't yet created your web resume, take a few minutes to enter your resume info into our generator and begin sharing your full resume with just a link. Perfect for business cards, email signatures and social media.
The Mini-Resume Card is similar to the Networking Business Card in that it is contained within a standard business card size using the same format on the front (name, "kicker", home address, city, state, zip, and phone numbers). But the back side of the card becomes a "mini-resume" in that it provides a summary of the high points of your resume. It is comparable to the Summary section of the resume. Don't feel you have to be comprehensive—this is just a "hook" to get a potential employer interested. It takes more effort than a one-sided business card, but the impact is worth it.
Networking Business Cards and Mini-Resume Cards will get you noticed, and they have an additional advantage in that they are often filed differently from other job search materials. Resumes often get locked away in the "candidate vault" or scanned into a resume database and may never again see the light of day. Business cards, on the other hand, are often difficult to get rid of. Most professionals will not throw away a business card until after entering the info into their contacts.. The uniqueness of this format is part of their appeal. Once you have them, you will wonder how you ever marketed yourself in your job search without them!
Another easy and simple way to "get the word out" on your job search is to modify your standard email signature to include your "Seeking…" information. Since it's email and not restricted by the physical constraints you might have with a business card, you can be very specific, including job type, industry and geography.
Most email websites and programs allow you to set a standard signature to your emails which is automatically inserted or appended to the end of your email. It saves you time, since you don't have to enter your personal information each time.
Most people just put in their name and possibly their email address in the signature. However, this signature space offers an excellent opportunity for adding additional exposure for your job search.
Setting up a signature differs slightly for each website or program. You can typically find this feature in the Settings or Options (it is often found with the Composing or Addressing options). Set your account to add your signature at the end of every outgoing message and then enter your signature in the field provided.
Here is a sample signature to show you what one would look like:
Accounting Major, Graduating May 20xx, Illinois State University
Seeking Auditor position in the public accounting field in the Chicago area.
Please send any and all job leads to my attention!
The last line is your "impassioned plea" to help others understand your call to action.