When you are ready to leave the military you will be bombarded with opportunities to attend job and career fairs. You will also have well meaning coworkers offering to share your resume with people they know that are looking to hire people just like you. You must have a contact card available to provide to hiring managers, head hunters and well meaning friends. Your contact card will allow you to present yourself in a professional manner. No longer will you need to write your information on a yellow sticky note that ends up on the bottom of someone’s shoe, an old grocery receipt or scrap of paper.
The contact card is slightly different than the business card. My seven tips below will aid you in designing your contact card so you can sell you.
1. Use quality card stock. Do NOT ever attempt to print your cards at home. Cheaply made cards will destroy your reputation. There are many resources available to you online and offline that will print your cards for you at a very reasonable price. Do not accept the free version of these services because the card will often have the vendors web address on the back. Prepare to upgrade to heavy card stock.
2. Glossy or Matte. Glossy contact cards are pretty and shiny but the recipient cannot write on them. Matte cards can be purchased in regular or heavy card stock and allow for writing a note or appointment on the card. You will need to consider how you or the recipient will be using your card. I have seen professionals use glossy on the front of the card and matte on the back. This is an option.
3. Do use the back of the card. This is different advice than what I give business owners. You want to the leave the back blank so the recipient can write notes about you on it. Avoid the temptation to list your skills or job titles. You do not want to list them because their name will vary from industry to industry. You do not want to lose out on an opportunity because you did not list something or listed the wrong skill or job title. Many jobs have different names depending upon the industry. Err on the side of caution. Keep the card simple. Plus, your area of focus may change and you do not want to have to have various cards for areas of interest.
4. Font. Make sure everyone can read your card. Cutesy fonts are often hard for people to read. Use a font that is large enough for everyone to read. Before printing your cards have the proof evaluated by people of all ages to include those that do and do not wear glasses.
5. Color. You will want to use basic professional colors on your card. Black business cards seem to be the rage but I for one have a difficult time reading them. Avoid a black or dark colored card. Solicit feedback from others before having thousands of cards printed. Also, know the industry you are applying. If it is a conservative environment keep your card conservative, if it is artsy then you have more options and so forth.
6. Logo or Photo. Since this contact card is for job hunting I recommend not using a photo or logo. You do not want the photo to reveal your age or misrepresent you. You do not know what the employer is looking for. I also recommend not using a logo. You do not want to pigeon hole yourself into that industry only.
7. Information. Include the pertinent information on your card i.e. your name, credentials, physical address, phone number, Linked url and your email address. Your credentials can be your degree conferred, professional license, certifications if appropriate, or military retiree affiliation. Do not make people hunt for your information so that they can follow up. Make it easy for the person to contact you.
My seven tips for designing your contact card will aid you in your job hunting success. Your contact card is one more tool available to you so that you present a professional image.
“Be the kind of man or woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning the devil says, “OH CRAP, YOU’RE UP”! – author unknown
Coach Jaynine is the international coach for the military. Jaynine Howard is a retired United States Marine and former psychotherapist who works with Veterans and those on Active Duty. She is the host of Military to Mainstream. Jaynine will work with you to prepare for your next mission. She will teach you the systems and strategies needed to grow your business, have a successful military career, or transition to civilian life. Are you ready for your next mission?