To Business Card or Not to Business Card

by Jennifer Devine, Head Editor, INALJ Maryland

To Business Card or Not to Business Card

Jennifer DevineWith the Spring Conference season upon us I have been contemplating the relevance of business cards. In this world of technology you no longer have to write a phone number down on a piece of paper to remember it. You can easily put a phone number or other contact information in your phone/tablet or on your computer. Therefore in today’s society are business cards still relevant?

According to one source: “The paper business card has lost its significance–and utility”. This article offers advice on how to connect with your smart phone instead of using business cards by using apps such as WriteThat.Name, Bump, and for people who do give you their business cards the app CardMunch which is connected with LinkedIn and takes the information from the business and transfers it on to your smart phone, allowing you to toss the card and still have the information. Other apps included were various business card scanners that scan the info into your contacts on your smart phone.

In a different article they ask if the business card is dead. Their take seemed to be that it is not entirely dead but they refer to apps such as the ones listed above and the idea of a business card 2.0. However, with data taken from MOO (a great business card site) the writer mentions that people are still purchasing business cards mentioning over 50 million sales! From MOO’s 2013 year end sales.

My answer is that business cards are still relevant!

At the 2013 TED conference one attendee pointed out that the Techies were not tapping their phones together to exchange information or even putting info into their contacts that they were all exchanging business cards! You can offer more information on business card than you can by just giving a phone number or other contact info. You can include a website, an e-portfolio, a QR code that links to a digital resume and other valuable information.

I recently have made business cards and intend on bringing them with me, during the conference season. It took me a while to decide what I wanted to put on them and how much information I should include? My biggest issue was that I am somewhat still “fresh” out of Grad School and I have only a part-time position. I feel this might be an issue for other too! So here is some of my advice: I landed on including my Name, Position, Degree Info, City and State, Phone Number, E-mail address, Website, LinkedIn handle and Professional Twitter handle. The content of the business card I found is the most confusing for getting your first business card.

This was a discussion topic in the SNAP (Student and New Archive Professionals Rountable) listserv from SAA last summer when I was graduated. A discussion evolved over how to refer to ones self when you have just graduated or are graduating and you do not have an actual job. Some of what I have seen is paraprofessional, information professional and recent graduate another popular choice is to just leave off a title and put your degree information instead. This seems to be a touchy subject when researching what information to provide. A lot of emphasis was put on the topic that it should be should be common knowledge you have a Masters Degree. I disagree with this from two points. One not everyone’s degree is the same i.e. MLIS, MLS, MIS, and MS to name a few. Two many of us have particular concentrations.

My business card includes my degree, the year I graduated and my concentrations archives and preservation for example. Other suggestions were to have a mini resume or skill set put on the card if you don’t have much information to include. I have seen varied examples of business cards that include all of the examples I have mentioned and Hack School Library had a great post from last year about your first business card. Good Luck with your business cards and feel free to post a picture or any advice about your business card in the comments.

Here is a list of some of my favorite sites to order business cards from:

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