The Importance of Business Cards

Business cards are similar to a resume as they are a vital tool to use when networking and trying to land that next job.  But, why are they so important?  Is it really another item that you need to spend money on to make yourself stand out?  The answer is yes for several reasons.

Ice Breakers:  When you are fostering a new relationship with an employer, this is a great way to exchange contact information and to break the barrier with one another.  It is a method of self-promotion, but it is not aggressive nor does it carry any heavy obligations along with it.  Additionally, anyone on the receiving end will readily accept them and give theirs out so it is a great promotional piece too.

First Impressions: This is a great way to represent yourself when you first meet someone.  Avoid the boring and basic business card.  The appearance is key.  Therefore, pay attention and maybe give more thought to the stock, design, ink, and colors.  You want to stand out from the rest so this is vital to give yourself an edge over others.

Revelation:  Your business card also reveals a bit of information about you.  Obviously it will have your name and contact information, but can also include your major/minor, personal tagline, headshot, website, your merchandise, or a testimonial from a professor regarding your accomplishments and work ethic.

Contacts: A business card is the #1 way of achieving contact information without losing it easily and is a great start to networking.  You don’t have to be worried about writing their name and email down and spelling it correctly either as they are talking.  The business card contains all of that and will cover all of the contact bases including phone number, cell number, email address, and physical address.  This is a great resource to use to send them a follow-up email, chat on the phone for an informational interview, or even to send them a Thank You note.

Website: This is your chance to shine by including your URL on your business card and inviting people to explore what you have to offer at their convenience.  Whether you offer a service or have your own business, people can learn more about you and see what you create.

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Crafting a Cover Letter

With how competitive the job market is, being able to distinguish yourself in any possible way will help you in the long run.  A cover letter does exactly this as the quality of those 3-4 paragraphs will make a difference in you being invited back for an interview.

So, you may be asking, why are they so important?  Well, your cover letter confirms to the hiring manager if your background and skills meet their needs, and it also gives the employer a glimpse of your ability to put sentences together.  This means no spelling or simple grammar mistakes.  Proofread everything!

Here are some overall tips for your cover letter.  Do not just have 1 version of it on hand and change the employer’s name and address.  You should add your own spark to each one, making it unique and individualized.  Your cover letter should also remain concise and should be no more than a half of page.

First paragraph:  Open with a reasoning as to why you are writing and the reason for wanting the job.  A secret to a cover letter is personalization.  Show what you know about the company and how your desired traits fit into the company.  How will the company benefit from you and what can you offer to them?   Also mention contacts that you know of in the company and who referred you to the position, if applicable.

Second paragraph:  This should state your skills and tell what you know about the employer, including information about the position and how your skills fit in to the employer’s needs.  Know how you relate to the organization and show that in the cover letter.  Whether it is in bullet point form or by highlighting specific projects or experiences, relate it back to the company.

Third paragraph:  Wrap up your interests in the position.  Also explain what you will do to follow up next and thank them for your time.  You want to remain polite, but not be too pushy.

For more help on cover letters and for a sample, check out:

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cover letters