by Alyssa Aalmo
The business card: a small, understated piece of paper that every professional has in their arsenal. At networking events, happy hours, and off-site meetings as well as during business and even personal travel, you should never be without it. Why is this 2 x 3.5 inches of paper so important? Aside from having a memorable personality, it is the only way people can follow up with you and, more important, keep in touch. An exchange of business cards presents an opportunity to expand your network, which can come in handy immediately or in the future for job advice or possibly a career change.
Many people get business cards when they enter a company, but anyone can have business cards made. If you are an intern, a freelancer or even between jobs, get cards that display your contact information and maybe your business interests, such as journalism or history. This could be the gateway to a new job.
Business Card Tips:
Include an office and cell phone number.
Make your business card social media friendly by adding your Twitter handle.
Make sure the font is legible.
Consider including a QR code.
After you are done networking and collecting cards, don’t leave them lying all over your apartment. We live in a digital age and naturally, there is an app for that. Forget the rolodex; here are a few efficient app recommendations to store the data and ways to follow up with your new contacts.
CardMunch: This LinkedIn app allows the user to take a picture of a business card and upload the information to a contact listing. From there you can add the contact to your phone, connect with them on LinkedIn and send a follow-up email that will refer them to your LinkedIn profile. This is a great way to showcase your business accomplishments and expand your LinkedIn connections.
QR Droid: This Android application scans QR codes and uploads the information to your smart device. A QR code holds specific information created by the designer of the code. You can create a QR code to put on your business card, and people who have the QR Droid app can quickly save your information to their contact list.
Bump: Available for the Android and iPhone, this application allows you to “bump” phones and exchange contacts, photos and other data you wish to share. This application is better for close friends and colleagues rather than with new business contacts.
Get out there, make some connections and don’t forget your business card!
Alyssa is a public affairs coordinator at Apollo Group Inc., a Fortune 500 company and parent company of University of Phoenix. She specializes in crisis and issues management and supports the grassroots and government affairs team. Alyssa has a master’s degree in business administration from University of Phoenix and earned her undergraduate degree in journalism and mass communication from Arizona State University. Follow Alyssa on Twitter: @ally_aalmo.