So, you’re about to graduate college and looking at student business cards to improve your chances of finding your first stable high paying job. Well, you’re not alone, there are thousands of students in your position which means that you need a way to stand out from the crowd and make yourself known to your prospective employers.
Keep reading to learn all the tricks that savvy students use when creating their business cards and how this converts to more job interviews.
1. Spend Time Planning Your Design
Sure, using a template student business card design will work just fine, but it is exactly that – a template. A template should be used as a starting point, not the end design. It’s super important to think about what you want to achieve with your business card and how you will go about it.
Ensure Elements Are Evenly Spaced Out
There’s nothing worse than getting a business card handed to you and seeing that it’s spaced differently on the top, compared to the bottom. It looks unprofessional and hurts the eyes of OCD people. It also hurts your image and shows that you’re impatient and don’t pay attention to detail.
Do you want your prospective employer to think that about you? Of course not. Spend time double checking all your spacing not only to ensure that all the contact details are centered, but that there is even spacing between fields (phone, email, website etc). A business card is a direct image of your personality and work ethic so knowing what information to include on business cards is important.
Use High Quality Images
An image can make or break a business card design, especially if it’s low quality and lacks the required resolution. I recommend designing business cards using at least 300DPI. If you use a low resolution image, it will come out looking all grainy when printed. So, before adding an image to your design, ensure it’s very high quality to avoid disappointment.
The photo you use is completely up to you. However, most people either use a professional photo of themselves, an cartoon photo of themselves, or a photo of whatever they were studying at college. For example, a student that studied criminology might have an image of the lady justice symbol, handcuffs, or something along those lines.
Experiment With Color Combinations and Fonts
Chances of you nailing the color and fonts on your first attempt is slim to none. Design takes time and practice, and that means patience, too. If you’ve created something that you think looks great, look at it again in 24 hours and see if you still think it looks good. I spend a lot of time designing email signatures and business cards, and sometimes looking at a design a day later can completely change your mind about it.
Using something as simple as a color wheel can dramatically help get the colors looking right. Also, experiment with what fonts you want to use, because even changing from serif to sans-serif fonts can make a huge difference to the look of a business card. Google fonts is a great resource for downloading free fonts to your computer.
2. Print Quality Matters
Designing your student business card is only the first step. The next step is printing the card.
Here’s a tip: Don’t print it yourself!
Seriously, just don’t. Not even if you have a good printer. Business card printing companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars buying a printer just for printing business cards correctly. So, what makes your think your $29 Walmart printer will do a better job?
Many students make this crucial mistake thinking they are saving money, but in the long run, they are actually losing money in lost opportunities. Home printed business cards look terrible and are usually printed on very low GSM paper. A business card printed by a printing company will ensure it’s printed on the right paper weight and will generally look much better.
Printing your business cards at home might be enticing as a student because of the cost saving, but believe me when I say this, people will notice that your business cards were printed at home. That speaks volumes about the way you conduct yourself and it won’t look good to prospective employers.
3. Include Your Qualifications
Prospective employers want to know what you’ve done with yourself in the past few years. If you’ve just come out of university, you won’t have a job position and close to no relevant work experience, so you shouldn’t put a job title on your business card. Instead, you can list your qualifications, for example “Bachelor of Science (Electrical Engineering)”.
Generally, listing qualifications on business cards is mostly done by accountants, doctors and engineers in order to increase trust with their customer. However, in this case it pays to include them on your card so prospective employers know what you studied…which leads me to the next point.
4. Your Business Card Should Show That You’re Seeking Opportunities
Although you don’t want to seem desperate for a job, you need to let people know you’re looking for opportunities. And this means putting a clever, but subtle note on your business card.
Here are a few example notes you could put onto your business card if you’re seeking work opportunities:
“I’m seeking work opportunities. Let’s talk.”
“Looking for my first job. Please consider me.”
“I scored 10/10 on my final exam. You should hire me!”
If you’re networking in a room full of managers and supervisors, you want them to consider you the next time they are looking for talent in their line of work. You want your name to be first on their list. An easy way to let them know that you’re looking for a job is to hand them your business card which explains that you’re looking for job opportunities and also mention it verbally.
5. Use a Professional Email Address
Ditch the “email@example.com” email address. It doesn’t belong on your business card. It’s an email address that screams “AMATEUR” throughout the hallways of the HR office. This might be the email address you’ve used since you were 12 years old, but its time to retire it. It’s not professional.
There are many free email platforms such as Outlook.com or Gmail where you could register a new email address that reads more professionally, such as “firstname.lastname@example.org”. It sends a much better message to your employer and the HR representative won’t laugh when confirming your email address on the phone with you.
6. Add Social Proofing
It’s no secret that when your resumé hits the human resource managers desk, the first thing they do is look through your social media accounts to see who they are really hiring. So, the lesson here is to clean up your social media accounts before even considering adding your social media profiles to your business card.
On the flip side, social media platforms such as LinkedIn can greatly enhance your chances of getting hired if you update all of your profile details regularly. Adding your LinkedIn profile to your business card allows your prospective employers to learn more about you and your work history without even asking for your resumé.
Having social media accounts which are clean shows a more transparent story on who you really are, and this is a huge bonus when companies are making a decision on who to hire.
7. Include a QR Code
Including a QR code on your business card can be very valuable, depending on the situation. If you’re working in the tech industry, adding a QR code to your business card is basically compulsory. QR codes are super efficient at transferring contact information, especially when they are set up as a vCard which automatically imports contact information to your phone.
Having a QR code on your student business cards can also show that you’re tech savvy and this helps to show that you’re keeping up with the latest trends. QR codes allow you to transfer an enormous amount of information in a very small amount of space, and this is what makes them so appealing for business card use. Creating a QR code is super easy by using a QR code generator.
8. Use a Good Tool to Make Business Cards
Not all tools are made the same. There are many tools out there that promise the world to you, but very few of them actually deliver. You could make your student business cards in Adobe Photoshop (which has a huge learning curve) or you could use a tool for making business cards that has all the features you could ever need.
Using the right tool for the job makes a huge difference to the end product you receive. Start by using the right tool, and you’re much more likely to end up with a really good business card design at the end. Gimmio is rated as one of the best online tools for making student business cards and is used by thousands of people.
BONUS: Business Card Etiquette
The way you conduct yourself when networking with others says a lot about your character. There’s an art to exchanging business cards that most people learn from life experience. However, this art can easily be categorized into a few points:
Never Give out Business Cards Before Having a Conversation
Giving out business cards for the sake of giving them out is stupid and pointless in every way. All you’re doing is wasting paper and ensuring that no one remembers you a day later. Take your time to talk to the person and get to actually know them. Once you’ve spoken to them for a while, try and find synergies between you that will open an opportunity to exchange business cards.
Lead the conversation, and try to get them to ask for your card first. If all else fails, you can offer your business card at the end of the conversation.
Compliment Others on Their Business Card Design
You’re probably not the only person that has struggled designing your first student business cards. Wouldn’t it feel great if someone complimented you on your design? People love compliments, it makes them feel great, especially when it’s about something you spent time and effort creating such as a business card.
With that in mind, whenever you’re handed a business card, take a good look at it and pick something that is unique about the card, and compliment them about it. This will instantly make them feel better and you’re much more likely to create a lasting business relationship with them.
Give and Accept Business Cards With Both Hands
If you’re conducting business in Asia or conversing with Asian people, it’s culturally polite to accept and hand over business cards using both hands, instead of just one. It also shows that you care about the relationship enough to exert the extra energy.
If someone hands you a business card using 2 hands, never accept it using only 1 hand, as this shows superiority. Always accept the card using 2 hands to show that you’re equal in standing.
Business cards are one of the most important tools used by business people to connect with each other. As a student, your business cards should be just as good, if not better than most other business cards out there.
Your student business cards need to tell a story, but also send a message to the recipient that you’re open for work opportunities. Don’t be afraid to personalize your card and allow your inner character to shine (but keep it professional).