The New Grad’s Guide to Business Cards

After graduation, you’re in a whole new world. Whether you have a job lined up already (lucky you!) or you’re still searching, there’s one thing you’re going to need: Business cards. But when you’re new with no job or experience, what do you include on your card?

For your basic business card, you need five things.

The New Grad's Guide to Business Cards
1. Your Name

This one is a bit obvious, but you need your name. No point in a business card if you can’t put your name on it. If you have a nickname, it really depends. For instance, one of the Ginger & Co. contributors, Laney, is actually named Elaine. I talked to her and she said she’ll probably put Elaine on her cards, and eventually ask people to call her Laney. My youngest brother’s full name is Samuel, but he goes by Sam. If it’s something just shortened, I think you can put that. An actual nickname? I’d put my given or legal name.

2.  Your Phone Number

This one feels a little obvious, too, but put it on there. Cell phone. I know most people don’t have a home phone anymore, but even if you do, put your cell phone.

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3. Email

Keep it professional. A good rule of thumb is always firstname.lastname@emailserver.com It’s to the point and it’s professional. If that isn’t an option think about doing that plus a year of significance. Maybe the year you were born, or your graduation year.

4. Title or Area of Expertise

On my business card, I have “Public Relations and Social Media.” As a new grad, it may seem hard to have an area of expertise, but your major works. You may not feel like an expert, but as far as entry-level hires go for your industry, you are an expert. Own it!

5. Linkedin

You need your LinkedIn URL on your profile. I knew Linkedin was a big deal when I was in college, but I didn’t realize how big. Linkedin is your online resume in a way. Not sure where to get your URL?

It’ll be right under your main box on your Linkedin profile.

Linkedin

Right there on the bottom. ^^ If you don’t have a specific URL set up, set it up. You should be prompted to do so.

Now that you have all the information you need on your business card, let’s talk about what it should look like. Most times, you really don’t need anything flashy. Most professions are good with your basic business cards. You may add one or two details to make it stand out, but that’s it.

All those flashy business cards you see nowadays? Nine times out of ten, I’d say they’re almost unnecessary. The only reason you need a flashy business card (and I say this having semi-flashy business cards) is if you’re in a design-oriented business.

If you’re a graphic designer, you need “flashy” cards. And I say flashy as in new designs. If you’re in marketing or advertising, or even public relations, you can get a colorful business card. But don’t go overboard. My business cards are a blue with big white letters. I wouldn’t do anything bolder than that.

Ultimately, you ought to know what is a standard card for your industry. You can order cards from Vistaprint, or there’s also Moo. Those are the two big ones I know of, and you’ll find plenty of options there.

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