If you are a job seeker, you probably know that networking is a required activity. You can’t just sit around, wishing and hoping someone will fall in love with your resume and call you up, begging for you to interview—no, skip the interview, just take the job! If you believe that, I have some swamp land in Florida that I’m selling at bargain prices…
While researching job markets, I came across an article announcing last September’s Mega Career Fair networking event in Philadelphia. When they said Mega, they meant it! As the article stated, last September there were over 60 exhibitors in three separate pavilions and over 5,000 job seekers at the event! Mega events are great for job seekers, since you meet a variety of employers face-to-face in one location. But how do you stand out among 5,000 other job seekers? In those situations, your resume is your calling card. What about networking events? You can’t just go around handing out your two-page resume to everyone you meet at the monthly Business After Hours.
The employed already have business cards to hand out, but what about the job seeker? You can distinguish yourself by handing out personal information cards, a new use for an old custom when meeting new people.
1. The same size as business cards, they contain your name, contact information and, for job seekers, area of expertise, skill and education. Subtle, clean and professional, they take the place of a resume at a networking event.
2. They are a way to collect business cards with valuable contact information for potential employers. It’s easy to get a business card when you hand a contact one of your own. You can have contact information that can get your resume into the hands of the person who does the hiring or can pass your resume on to HR.
3. They are a confidence builder. I remember taking a job that didn’t merit business cards. I had been a manager at my previous job, but the new job was a staff analyst position, without much outside contact. It was tough attending business meetings when others were passing out business cards and I had none. Handing out your own card levels the playing field.
4. They are a curiosity and talking point. The card itself is unique, and shows some creativity and initiative. Instead of just blurting out your 30-second elevator speech, the card speaks for you, which may prompt the recipient to begin asking for more information.
5. No more “cold calling.” It’s easier to send a resume to someone you met who showed some interest in you than by blindly answering job postings. The clearer the target, the better chance of hitting the mark.
Have you used information cards in your job search? How have they worked for you? Share your experiences with other job seekers in the Comments section below.
Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a consultant, blogger, motivational speaker and freelance writer for phillyjobs.com. Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in Training magazine, Training & Development magazine, Supervision, BiS Magazine and The Savannah Morning News. When she’s not writing, she enjoys singing with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus and helping clients reinvent their careers for today’s job market. You can read more of her blogs at phillyjobs.com and view additional job postings on Nexxt
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