Do You Have Business Cards?

by Sarah Roark Schott, former Head Editor, INALJ Arizona
previously published 6/18/13

Do You Have Business Cards?

SarahRoarkSchottINALJLike many of the new archivists I know, I am a contract project archivist. This means I am only guaranteed two years of work at the institution I work with right now, not an employee who is expected to stick around for my entire archives career. That is fine, I did not expect to enter into my dream forever job right out of school. However, it does mean the institution I work for has not been proactive about ordering business cards for my position. Although I would really love to have that little official symbol at the bottom of the card I hand out, it does not mean I just pass out little scraps of paper with my email and phone number to everyone I meet at conferences or in social situations.

Once I was sure my employer probably wasn’t going to order cards for me, I started looking for alternative ways of ordering some for myself. Since I am pretty sure I am not allowed to just slap my institution’s symbol on an unofficial card, I decided to come up with something that would be a good representative of who I am as a young, excited, and professional project archivist. In addition, I needed to think about what information to put on my card. Did I want to keep it simple with my name, email address, and title? Or did I want to go all out and turn my card into a mini-resume or something in between the two?

Here are the sites I checked out for cards:


I also considered making the cards myself, and I think that is a great option! However I couldn’t justify using the printer ink for it. I was looking for something with fun colors, and I like to keep the printer ink for resumes. 🙂 So, I ended up picking Zazzle for my cards simply because they had a fresh design I loved, and it ended up being very affordable for 100 cards (around $20). Once I had my design picked out, I decided to make my card a mini-resume. Under my name, phone number, and professional email address I listed the archive-related experience I have. Because I have library and archive experience I decided to keep this card simple and just list my volunteer and employment history in the archives field. Perhaps I will make a library-related card if I decide to go that route after my 2 year contract is up here! Or maybe I’ll make a bigger card and add it all!

What about other business card ideas? Would you guys consider putting your alma mater or other various volunteer experience? What do you think about having a mini-resume on your card? Where do you hand out your business cards if you have them? I would love to hear about your business cards if you are in the same boat as me, or are currently between gigs!

  11 comments for “Do You Have Business Cards?

  1. October 29, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    After being laid off back in 2009 (when every one else was being laid off), I definitely ordered business cards because I continued to attend local library association events, workshops and classes. I even made it to one national conference. Besides the usual contact information, I included three “descriptors” of myself based on my many years of experience- Online Searcher, Information Analyst, Writer.

  2. February 13, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Sarah -As a fellow MLIS grad, it can be challenging to find the perfect job or position w/o requiring relocating or a long commute. I made the mistake of getting a order of shiny coated cards. Very bad as it inhibits writing on the back of the card! I used 123print for my cards, but I did a lot of customizing on my card. It is simply not possible to cram your entire professional career onto a small business card. Im in favor of a nice smiling photo, listing of any state library certifications, and your contact info. A link to your professional webpage if you have one. I use bepress. I saw the mention of a QR code, but Im not sure how useful that will be to the recipient of the card. I saw the suggestion of adding a FB link. Make sure all supplied links are content friendly and relevant. I have my alma mater logo tastefully displayed as I am a member of their Beta Phi Mu chapter.

  3. Kate
    June 18, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    What I did is make moo cards, my face on the front left side, and assorted backgrounds for what I might have a conversation about. My cataloging in OCLC, my archival processing, my library displays, etc.. (you can have all different backs with the same front). I just put my name and email on the front. That way there’s room for me to add anything on there by hand if I mentioned something to the person I’m talking about or for them to write themselves a note about me.

    • June 18, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      Nice! I also have a 10% off code for anyone

    • Sarah Roark Schott
      June 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      That is a good idea about putting a small picture of yourself on your card. Easier to remember the face that goes with all the experience. I also like the idea of leaving space for your new introductions to actually write notes on your card. The cards I ordered have a shiny coating on them, so that wouldn’t work very well for handwritten notes. Plain cardstock will be my pick for next time!

  4. Kate
    June 18, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I ordered business cards for myself for my first semester of my MLIS from zazzle. I ordered a black background with white type. They had horrible printing problems and the text had ghosts of purple. I scanned them in to show them and they gave me a full refund. I have ordered moo cards for years and never had a problem. If you absolutely need them for an event with no leeway, don’t chance it on zazzle.

    Also, there’s an offer now for 10 free moo cards with free shipping right now. Mine came last week.

    • Sarah Roark Schott
      June 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Kate- Good to know about the Zazzle issues! Luckily, mine came out exactly as they looked on my computer screen. Next time I’ll give Moo a chance 🙂

    • August 29, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      Moo always has some offer or another going on. I like the quality of the card stock, but there’s something about their process that makes it difficult for gel pens to reliably write on them (people *will* write on your business cards, so leave space for it).

      for my last run of cards i used staples’ online business cards shop (this is basically vistaprint re-skinned with the staples brand and without all the spam). I’m about to reprint my cards now and I’ll use Staples again to do the job–super cheap! last time i paid something like $13 for 500 full color cards).

  5. Courtney Baron
    June 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    A colleague in my MLIS program had the coolest idea for business cards: put a QR code that directly links to your online portfolio! Perfect for archivists. 🙂

    • Sarah Roark Schott
      June 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      Courtney- That is an excellent idea! I will definitely do that the next time I order!

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