Some people choose to write their information on a napkin or scrap of paper that is easily lost; the majority choose business cards.
Yes, science business cards are a thing! And just like “regular” business cards (that you get from a banker, realtor, lawyer, etc.), they’re the best way to keep in touch.
I’ve always gotten my business cards done by Vistaprint or Moo as they tend to have good deals for reduced prices or free shipping. Both have templates you can follow but also allow you to design your own business card.
WHAT A BUSINESS CARD LOOKS LIKE
The above is an example of what my science business card looks like. All business cards should be simple, easy-to-read, and look professional. Mine is on a standard weight card stock and is full color; you should make sure your business card is at least standard weight card stock, so as it doesn’t easily bend, tear, or wear. Some people choose to have both sides of their business card have some sort of writing, but I’ve personally found that all my information could be said on one side, allowing a cool picture (with picture credit, if it is not your own) to adorn the other side.
Once you have finished designing your business card, it’s time to start plugging information in. Start off with your name in big, bold lettering (you want it to be the biggest font on the card). Underneath, put your degree or specialty. For my card, I put “marine biology, ecology and conservation,” as I was between degrees when creating my most recent business card. You can put “MSc” or “PhD” after your name (or “Dr.” before your name for those who have a PhD), along with your degree title below. Are you still in university? Put down your university’s logo or laboratory name somewhere on your card (usually beneath your degree).
Next, you will want to include a phone number and permanent email address (or institutional e-mail address if you will be there for a while). A phone number can be your personal cell of your university line; if it’s your personal cell phone, remember to have a professional voicemail! A quick scan over the hundreds of cards I’ve gotten, the majority of contact e-mail addresses are GMAIL accounts, as it is more permanent than an organization e-mail.
Below my contact information, I have added my social media handle (Twitter) and my LinkedIn, allowing for my new connect to follow me on Twitter or send a friend request on LinkedIn. I find the logos to be the easiest way to depict what handle belongs to what medium, as sometimes cards can get too wordy. I’ve also added the address to my professional website that includes my work, my updated CV, and more!
You can network anytime and anyplace, so make it a habit to carry around your business cards! You’ll never know when you will meet someone you can help out, and in turn, help you out. I’ve even exchanged professional contact information during a wedding! It’s never too early to start building your network, so keep some copies of your card in all locations. I have some in my wallet, my purse pockets, jacket pockets, my car, my desk, etc.
Card courtesy dictates that if someone hands you a business card, you give one in return. Don’t be caught empty handed and scrambling for a pen—design your science business card today!