The Dos and Don'ts of Business Cards

When you’re starting out in your career, business cards can seem like just another formality in your networking attempts and just one more thing to manage when you’re busy enough with work and life in general. However, business cards aren’t just necessary — they’re an incredibly useful tool that can serve many purposes beyond your initial interactions with other professionals. Here are some tips on how to maximize the power of your business card by making sure you get the most out of it.

How much information should your card contain?

Try to keep your business card content to a minimum. These cards are about connecting, not advertising; it’s not about giving out as much information as possible, but giving just enough so that people have a way to connect with you later on. Remember: Just because you can put everything on a business card doesn’t mean you should. A few pieces of key information is more than enough for an effective business card. The most important details include your name, phone number, e-mail address, and any social media information connected to your business.

Why you need multiples

The conventional wisdom is that you should always carry two business cards with you: one to hand out, and one for your own record-keeping. More than just a nice gesture, it’s an effective tool—giving you an easy way to stay in touch with people without having to take numbers or remember names. The more cards you hand out, though, the higher your odds are of landing quality connections.

What you should write on your card

The most important thing to write on your business card is your title. If you are a mid-level employee in a company, don’t list your entire job description. It is best to use words that will be clearly understandable without running out of space on your card. Since you will be handing these cards out to clients or contacts who are not familiar with what you do, it is important to keep them concise. The size of your business card may play a factor in what information can be conveyed on it. Most businesses have their contact information on both sides of their cards, but again don't overdo it.

How to hand your card over

Handing your card over to someone is a chance to make an impression so be aware of how you present it. Since most business cards are handed over by shaking hand, so remember to avoid limp handshakes. Also keep in mind that some people may not want to take your card, so be gracious about it—and don’t pester them about it afterwards. And if someone asks for your card directly, give it without hesitation; they want that information now!

Why business cards are important

Handing out business cards is more than just an opportunity to make a good impression; it’s one of your most valuable marketing tools. As often as you swap them with others, make sure you know what they are made of, where to get them (there are many online card services) and how to use them wisely. Keep these dos and don’ts in mind for more professional looking cards that help build relationships.

Whether you’re headed to a networking event or meeting an important client for lunch, your business card is your chance to make a great first impression. Spend time thinking about how you want people to perceive you and convey that across with your business card. Make sure it’s clean, concise, and includes all pertinent information so it’s easy for others to reference later. It should say something about who you are while also allowing them to reach out if they need more information on your professional services.