Many nurses don’t think much about networking skills and personal branding, but in the highly competitive 21st-century nursing marketplace, there are important tools that can help you succeed and move forward. A personal business card is one piece of career real estate that prudent nurses make use of.
It’s valuable career real estate
You may sometimes find yourself in situations where you’d like to exchange contact information with a new professional acquaintance, but you’re unlikely to have your resume on hand. Meanwhile, just having the other individual enter your data in their phone may backfire since they may later forget who you are, where they met you and why they entered your name and number in their phone.
When you meet a new professional connection and want them to remember you, a business card is a way to efficiently provide them with the information they need.
If you have a business card from your workplace, you don’t necessarily want to distribute it when you’re in the market for a new opportunity. Also, if you leave your current position, the information on that card will no longer be salient; thus, your very own card is the way to go.
Keep it simple, yet thorough
As a nurse, your business card can be a simple listing of your most important contact information. Since every business card has two sides, make use of the real estate available to you. Here’s what to include:
On the front
1. Name and credentials
2. Phone number
4. Personalized LinkedIn profile URL (if you don’t have one, get one)
5. Socia media handles for Twitter and other sites, where you have a professional presence
On the back
1. Your main certifications — ACLS, PALS, etc.
2. Other pertinent information
Keep it professional
Websites that offer inexpensive business cards have popular templates that millions of people use, ad nauseum. If you want your card to stand out, choose to invest a little extra time and money designing it with a local print shop; make it your own, keep it simple and avoid the ubiquitous templates that make every card look alike. If you want to include a headshot, have it done professionally. This is personal branding, so do it right.
Many people have email addresses that are silly or somewhat embarrassing; if this is true for you, create a new one for professional use. For instance, instead of [email protected], try [email protected] or a similar format.
If your voicemail includes an annoying ringback tone or a very unprofessional outgoing message, change to something more professional. Failing that, you can create a free Google Voice number and use that for all professional communication. Professionalism counts.
Your business card represents you, your personal brand and what you’re all about. It’s a reminder to others of who you are and why you’re special. Create a business card that you can be proud of; it’s one of many tools that should always be in your nursing career toolbox.