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How to Make a Killer Business Card

From TIME - June 30, 2017

The meteoric rise of online networking has changed the way we build our career circles. But in-person introductions still rule the networking world, and business cards are still its currency.

Done right, a good business card can be a powerful branding tool that nudges the person receiving it to deepen your professional connection,through LinkedIn, networking apps, or email. Its the connective tissue to your nextcareer move , and it deserves the same considerationyoudputinto a rsum or cover letter.

While its possible to exchange information online, when you meet people in person at networking events, conferences, or by chance, you need business cards, says Carolyn Betts, CEO of Betts Recruiting. "If youre in a professional business, having that tangible takeaway is still a best practice."

So what makes a good business card? We ran that question by career coaches and branding specialists, and created a blueprint for the modern worker based on their advice.

Below, you will find four expert-approved business cards, with downloadable templates, for four different types of professionals. Print a stack at home, using business card paper from an office supply store, or tap an on-demand printing service like Vistaprint or Moo (FYI: if you use a professional service, you may need to save your design as a JPEG or pdf image beforehand).

Whichever route you choose, consider spending a few extra bucks on a card case to help lug them around. A business card is your introduction to the professional worlda dirty, ripped, or otherwise damaged one does not make for a good first impression.

The Company Card

If youre a business owner, or want to take advantage of your employers name recognition, that should be the focal point of your business card. Put the company name on the front of the card, along with a logo and tagline, if those are available to you. Use the back to list your name, title, address, phone number, and company website.

Jay Meschke,president of CBIZ Talent and Compensation Solutions,says company cards should have a clean, minimal design with an easy-to-read font and a sturdy card stock. Funky sizes are on-trenda larger-than-average business card will stand out, the thinking goesbut he recommends sticking to the traditional size of 3.5 x 2 inches. If youre trying to make it into someones wallet, pocket, or Rolodex (yes, people still buy Rolodexes) why would you give them a business card that wo not fit?

If youre working for a business, thats your personal calling card, hecontinues.Using a good card stock and aprofessionalized logois more important.

The same goes for content, says Megan Morahan, acreative director at thecustom- printing company Vistaprint.

It should be easily digestible for whoever is receiving it, she says. The less info you put on there, the better."

The Personal Brand

Some professionals are better served by an individual business cardlike those who work in the gig economy, are between jobs, or want to stand on their own merit, rather than an employers.

If you fall into one of these categories, your name should be the most prominent feature, and the design should play to your personality.

"T he key is to have the card match the message you want to send, says Nicole Wood, CEO and founder of the career coaching company Ama La Vida.What do you want people to pick up on?If youre young, funky, and unique, thats the story youre trying to sell. But if youre more about credibility and professionalism, that's what you need to reflect."

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