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Business Cards for Aspiring PR Professionals

Part I Brand You: Market Yourself and Secure that Internship”

How many times have you spoken with someone and then come up empty handed when asked for a business card?  During my first month here, I was invited to attend a mobile healthcare conference sponsored by Porter Novelli. Everyone assembled to network and swap business cards after the speaker’s sessions. Being new to Porter Novelli I didn’t have one, and at that moment realized how vital having a business card was, particularly in a business where relationships are as important as they are in PR.

A business card is probably one of the most essential items a professional can have on hand and if you want to kick start your professional career, be sure to have one. Since my start at the New York office, I have found business cards very useful for interns, students and recent grads looking to secure an internship or potentially expand their network.

Keep it simple. Include your name, number, email (be sure to us an appropriate email that you check daily) and a link. The link could be your Twitter or LinkedIn handle or even promote your own website, blog, or e-portfolio.

If you want to get creative you can create a business card with a Quick Response or QR code, a two-dimensional barcode that is readable by applications available for most smartphones, and add a link to your resume or website.  Just remember, longer URLs make the code more complex and difficult to scan, so use a URL shortener like BIT.LY and make sure to send people to a site that works well with mobile devices. Some QR code generators also offer to input contact info, so that a new contact could scan your card and immediately save your contact info to their phone or pass it to a colleague. Don’t forget to test the QR code on multiple phones before hitting ‘print’.  If you’re looking for a place to start creating cards check out Moo.com and Marketsplash.com, they’re great!

Having a business card is a great way to start marketing yourself. If you’re wondering about how to approach someone for their business card, here’s a fantastic blog post from PN’s own Danny Devriendt. MeetUp.com is a great place to start networking. You can find local MeetUps with industry professionals that get together to discuss issues. Find a local MeetUp and bring your business card, a positive attitude and you’ll be surprised to find what you can accomplish.

- Timothy Torba, Porter Novelli New York