A lot of people are finding themselves with no card to hand over at a meetings any more. They used to have a business card, and a work e-mail address, which they could rely upon – but no more. Yet another difficulty and nuisance factor of being downsized.
If this has happened to you, I strongly recommend that you get personal calling cards printed up for yourself, with the salient details that anyone you meet needs to know. What are those details?
  • Name.
  • Postal address – judgment call. I say this because if you are (a) relocating or (b) considering a role that will place you far from home, highlighting your current address may not be to your advantage.

  • Phone number – it used to be that you had to include a land line and a mobile number, as a mobile-only contact detail smacked a little of “no fixed abode.” Those days are long gone. Stick the number that you are most readily reached at on your card – typically your mobile – and make sure you have a professional and upbeat, personalised voicemail message on that number.
  • Email address – I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating, email addresses that were funny when you were in College are not funny now that you are in the tax net. Get yourself a serious, professional email address for career management purposes.

  • Blog – if you’ve got one and it pertains to your self-promotion efforts in your sector, stick it on there.
  • Twitter, SlideShare, Flickr etc. – only if really relevant.

As to the flipside of the card, the sky is the limit, with one caveat – I do not recommend putting a photograph of yourself on there, even if you are an aspiring thespian or model. First, unless you have a professional headshot taken with the constraints of a calling card in mind, the image is not likely to be a good fit, second I have seen efforts of this nature over and over in which the quality was just not up to scratch and third, people will “thin-slice” and discriminate against you even faster if you provide them with a picture. Or they may want to meet you for the wrong reasons. Words good, pictures baaaad.

A little quality story – When I was buying my house (a wrecked, cut-stone, Victorian coach house) I called upon my three prospective neighbours to introduce myself and to let them know that I was going to be doing renovation work. I gave each of them my business card with my private contact details, in case they needed to reach me for anything. All three of the neighbours were elderly ladies, living alone, and all three of them were most gracious and welcoming to me. But as I handed over my card, I noticed one of them running her thumbnail over to see if it was embossed or merely printed.

What an interesting way to judge people! Old-school or what?

More recently, I came across a reference to the card Steve Martin uses in lieu of giving autographs. Me likee: