Resumes vs. Business Cards & Our Professional Identity

I was at a networking/job-search event one evening learning about my job search, and hoping to meet some sharp professionals I could network with.  Before we got to chat with one another, the facilitator shared some thoughts with us.

He talked about how we have a strong identity when we are employed, but when we become unemployed we lose our identity.  I knew exactly what he was talking about, as I went from “Hi I’m Jason, General Manager of XYZ Company” to “Hi, I’m Jason …. …. … I’m looking for a job.”  I didn’t have it down very well and always tried to think of another way to say “looking for a job.”

It was hard, uncomfortable, humiliating, etc.  You may know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, he went on to talk about resumes and business cards, and what the purpose is of each.  Have you ever been to a networking event, probably with people in transition, and had someone give you their resume?  What’s the message when someone gives you a resume?

Please help me, I’m a job seeker and I need your help to land again.

Fast forward a few months to when you are no longer in transition.  What will you give people when you are at networking events?  Probably a … business card! Why?  Because that’s what professionals do… they give out business cards.

No matter where you are, you should have business cards to hand out.  Just because you are in transition doesn’t mean you aren’t a professional, right?  And professionals have business cards, right?  Here are some tips on putting together a business card (some I’ve heard and kind of agree with):

  • Get anything but a glossy finish. People complain they can’t make notes on your card if you have a glossy finish.  I don’t totally agree on this one, as I don’t make notes on the card… but it’s a valid thought.
  • Leave the back empty. This gives people room to right all their notes.  I also don’t agree totally on this one, as my back is quite different.  And that leads me to the next point…
  • Make your card UNIQUE. Can you think of something to do to make your card just a little different?  A friend of mine cut his in a different shape (unique).  Another friend put “My Card” where the title would have been (humorous).  The back of my card is PINK with the words “PINK SLIP” in huge letters (on-brand for what I do).  If you can think of something unique that will help them remember your card, or want to not throw it away, you are doing good!
  • Make your business card lasting. If you put some elevator pitch about being a “professional (job title) in transition,” what happens when you land your next gig?  All of your cards will be useless.  Of course it’s cheap to buy cards, so maybe that’s okay, but if you want to have a multi-purpose card, don’t put that kind of information on it.
  • Make sure you have a good email address. is not a good email address.  To be safe, go with your name (like  I favor as a professional address, but that’s for another post!

Do you have business cards yet?  I hope you get some, as you are a professional, and that’s what professionals pass around!  But you better have a sharp, current resume ready, for the times when people say “can you send me your resume?”  If you don’t have a current resume, let Career Resumes know.  They do free resume reviews and have a bunch of resume samples you can learn from.

Oh yeah, here’s the back of my business card 🙂

The back of my business card

The back of my business card


  1. Amanda Vega on November 12, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    You could also be really cool (and possibly land that sought out tech job) and use instead of a business card. It’s pretty cool. For $5/month you buy your textID (your name, a keyword, etc.) and then when you meet people at these events you can tell them to text your keyword to 555411 and then they get your info and link to your site – whatever you want within 140 characters! So, you could buy “pinkslip” and then when people text that to 555411 they would get your contact info, and a link to your blog!

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