Personal Business Cards for Personal Branding
A few weeks ago I was invited to a fund raising event for a non-profit arts organization. This was the perfect networking opportunity especially since I have been thinking about returning to the non-profit arts world. As I was doing my hair and makeup I did a quick run-through in my head of the essential networking guidelines.
- Be friendly and approachable
- Have a good, strong handshake
- Do research on the hosting company and key people
- Business Cards
I was only missing one thing: business cards.
Business cards are like little souvenirs you get after meeting someone interesting. Of course I have business cards from my job, but my current job has nothing to do with the arts or the non-profit world. After all, you wouldn’t wear your workout shoes to a cocktail party (unless you are Mariah Carey and you exercise in stilettos). Different outfits call for different shoes and the same goes for business.
Unless I was trying to start a business deal on behalf of my company, handing out those business cards at the event would not have made sense. My work business cards would have also steered away the attention from myself as a potential non-profit arts leader in the making. I did not want to introduce myself as a member of that company; I would rather introduce myself as someone who likes the theater, volunteers at museums and is eager to return to the non-profit world. I also would not want to receive follow-up emails from people I networked with on my work email because they would not relate to my 9 to 5 job. I faced the same predicament when I recently attended a meeting for an organization called Emerging Arts Leaders. I showed up eager to meet young, hip, artsy soul-searches like myself but found myself empty-handed.
So to all you career girls, who have a 9 to 5 job that is not aligned with your career goals or are looking to make a career switch, or have a passion project outside of your 9 to 5, I suggest you have a set of personal business cards that represent who you are and not what the source of your paycheck is (if these two do not go hand-in-hand).
You may love your 9 to 5 job but as a Generation Y career girl you probably have other talents that you want to highlight. For example, Nicole has a background in banking but she might also have a set of personal business cards that represent her as the founder of Ms. Career Girl. You may also want to have a set of personal business cards if you were laid off and you are looking for employment. Your business card can say your name and the degree you have if that degree is relevant to what you want your next job to be. If you have a blog you might want to have a set of business cards that say your name, email, and your blog url.
Get creative and have memorable souvenirs that will contribute to your personal brand.
Note from Nicole: The picture here shows 3 different business cards I use. The two green business cards are by Tiny Prints. I couldn’t agree more with Aimee’s post!