Networking Card: A Business Card For The Unemployed 8

Business cards are key to successful networking because they provide a small “reference sheet” that helps your new contacts remember your basic information.

The Need

Normally, business cards work perfectly for networking. However, a problem arises when people are unemployed or (as with many students) yet-to-be-employed.

What type of card should an unemployed person use?

Although this can be a challenging dilemma, the solution, once known, is simple.

The Solution

When unemployed, a man should use a networking card.

A networking card retains the basic layout of a business card while exchanging individual components.

For example, instead of listing his job position, an unemployed man would record his area of expertise.

A networking card has a number of advantages in job hunting:

  • Shows you area of expertise
  • Lists your ideal job type
  • Shares your personal branding statement (more on this later)
  • Provides your contact information

With this information on hand, your contacts are much more likely to recognize a good job opening and notify you than they would be if they did not know your expertise or interests.

In fact, I can think of a few personal friends and acquaintances who I know are currently looking for work. Unfortunately, I do not know what type of work they are looking for, so I am unable to help them in their job hunt.

A simple networking card can solve that problem.

Designing Your Card

Creating your networking card is not very difficult, and you can probably finish it in five to ten minutes.

A normal networking card contains five components:

#1 Website

Explanation

With the advent of the internet, normal activities are changing. In the past, most job hunting was completed using only paper resumes. Now, online resumes have also been added to the mix.

Although online resumes do not yet (and probably never will) completely replace their paper counterparts, resume websites do give you an important advantage in today’s competitive job market.

Your online resume can be anything from a simple html file to a more complex website/blog combination.

For an example, you can look at the resume site I use: www.NateDesmond.com.

Position

When and if you build your resume website, you should list its address at the top of your networking card.

#2 Name

Explanation

Obviously, your name should be included on your networking card.

Position

Your name should be placed two lines below your website. Use a larger font and bolding to make it stand out.

#3 Expertise

Explanation

Instead of recording your job position, you should list your area of expertise. This will help your contacts think to let you know if they hear about any related job openings.

Position

This information should be communicated in one to three descriptive words just below your name. Use italics to set it apart.

#4 Branding Statement

Explanation

Your personal branding statement should be a condensed description of your vision and expertise. In one sentence, explain your past experience and your future plans.

For instance, a website developer might say:

“Internet communications developer with heavy WordPress theme design experience.”

Try to balance the amount of jargon in your branding statement so it can be understood by industry outsiders as well as people in your field.

Position

Insert your branding statement two lines below your name and expertise.

#5 Contact Information

Explanation

Your contact information is obviously a necessary part of your networking card, just like it is on your business card.

Included these three pieces of information:

  • Phone Number
  • Email
  • Fax (If you have one.)

Position

Your contact information should be located two lines below your branding statement and stacked in such a way that the remaining space on your card is neatly filled.

Printing

Although you can have your networking cards professionally printed, you can produce them just as well at home. With the high costs of professional printing, this can save you some valuable money.

Just buy a sheet of business-card stock in the right color (probably white, but it should match your resume), print the cards on your home printer, and carefully cut them out using a pair of sharp scissors.

You are now ready to start networking!

What are your thoughts on networking cards (and business cards)?

8 thoughts on “Networking Card: A Business Card For The Unemployed

  1. Reply Jason V Mar 19, 2010 6:17 AM

    These are probably a good idea even if you’re currently “gainfully employed”.

  2. Reply Stefan | StudySuccessful.com Mar 20, 2010 12:57 AM

    I’ve printed my own business card with MOO.com, which prints awesome cards. They look really cool and I get only nice reactions.

    What is on it? My name, phone number, email and Twitter. And of course my personal site.

  3. Reply Stormbringer Mar 20, 2010 5:51 AM

    This reminds me of a card for job seekers that was presented to a class I attended in 1985. Your material was typed up on an index card (remember, 1985, no printing software or desktop printers that we get so cheaply and take for granted now). It included a kind of mini résumé and the expected contact information. This card went further, because it was a script; you would call someone you wanted to work for, read it off and impress them with your skills. I watched a guy do a cold call and get an interview, so they did work. Not only were they your script card, but you were to attach them to your regular résumé or application. Hey, gotta do something to stand out from the crowd.

    While there are some good things I retain from those days, this approach you have described is more appropriate for today. For one thing, I believe people have even less time that they are willing to spend on a potential applicant (or a sale, for that matter). Using places like Vista Print, I have cards made for various purposes. These days, it’s a good idea to have this job seeker card ready to go. Not only could you stumble across a new job, but your current one could close its doors. Be ready.

  4. Reply Men's Playbook Mar 21, 2010 2:31 PM

    I have always had a “networking” card since I started projects and websites apart from my full-time job. Great way to pass along information and stand out from the crowd.

  5. Reply Niels Gouman Apr 11, 2010 12:46 PM

    Might be nice to include a picture of yourself on the card, it makes it easier to remember who you are

  6. Reply Nate Desmond Apr 12, 2010 10:47 AM

    @ Niels – That is an innovative idea! I wonder if the costs would be higher (for more color ink)…

  7. Reply Stormbringer Apr 12, 2010 11:22 AM

    Things have changed since the years that I was involved in printing. In standard setups, the more color, better paper, quantities and so forth all affected the price. Getting just a few, with full color, would be prohibitively expensive.

    These days, you can go online to places like Vista Print, upload a picture (usually paying an upload fee) and not have much of a price difference between black only and full color. Get color printing on the back and glossy print, then the price goes up. Otherwise, it’s quite reasonable. I’ve done it.

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