Patterns show opportunities, especially before others discover them. Some are disturbing. This one affects you whether you're working for a company, self-employed or looking for a position. Invisibility. That's no way to bulletproof your job or protect your livelihood.
The solution is simple: be visible.
FlubsIf you're hard to find, you're easy to overlook. Why would anyone bother searching for you? There are often reasonable substitutes. I prefer Dr. Pepper but won't storm out if offered Coke or Pepsi.
Here are observations from business cards I've collected in the last three weeks:
- none ("forget" them or "ran out")
- bent (usually from too much time in a wallet)
- corrected (e.g., change in address or phone number; using up your old stock shows you're cheap)
- no email address
Business Card BasicsYour business card is useless until you give it to someone else. Make sure your card looks nice to make a positive impression. Make sure your card also looks good when scanned and photocopied. Make sure your card is easy to read in dim lighting and by people with poor eyesight.
Your business card only needs three items
- your name
- your personal email address (Gmail, Hotmail are fine)
- a link to more information (e.g. LinkedIn, your personal website, your blog).
Adding MoreA phone number is a good addition if portable. You'll probably want to show your hard-earned designations. You might include a title or memorable tagline. You don't need to show your home address. How's that? Now you're accessible while maintaining your privacy.
Order so many business cards that you feel compelled to hand them out. Maybe a crazy number like 500 or 1,000. This won't cost much more. You don't want to take shortcuts by printing your card yourself or using a service that gives free business cards in exchange for advertising on the back. Shortcuts send a bad message. You want to look professional. Even if you lack design skills, you can create a nice card using templates. That's a nice way to stand out if you're in one of the least prestigious professions.
Business cards get lost, discarded or misplaced. There's a way to make a lasting connection even with people you haven't met in person.
Get ListedToday's business directory is LinkedIn. Even if you have a website and show up on Google, you want to be here too. There's no downside to getting listed. You decide what information to show and who sees it. My profile is detailed and visible to anyone.
Here are 12 recent (but classic) flubs I've seen in LinkedIn profiles. They're easy to correct.
- not here: you're unlisted
- scant content: you're harder to find with keyword searches
- mistakes: typos, jargon or poor writing (get help from a spell checker and friend)
- no photo: others may have the same or a similar name; a photo makes you easier to remember
- out-dated info: some show an old position as current
- gaps: missing years or missing positions raise questions (e.g., why is nothing shown for 2004-2007?)
- very few connections: why so few want to associate with you? This raises questions.
- hard to contact: you can require people to know your email address before inviting you to connect: Why be so reluctant to connect? After all, you decide who to add to your network.
- no short URL: a long link to your profile is a sign of an amateur (here's what to do)
- using your business email address: This is okay if you're self-employed. Otherwise, use your personal email address to maintain your privacy.
- no recommendations received: why won't any (or many) publicly vouch for your expertise?
- no testimonials given: why won't you show generosity towards others?
Podcast 103 (6:27)
direct download | Internet Archive page
- Insights from 291 business cards
- Are you leveraging LinkedIn? (Kirsten Hodgson)
- Go beyond LinkedIn: a sad case study new
- On being findable (Mitch Joel)
- The least prestigious professions
- Three major obstacles to growth according to Brian Tracy
- Tips to bulletproof your job
- Employable: three lessons from a popcorn farm
- Losing your livelihood: insuring against the risk
- Image courtesy of Gatis Orlickis (Spain)
PS Consider putting your LinkedIn address on your business card and in your email signature.