Call Me, Maybe? 4 Rules for Effective Business Cards

Published: May 22, 2012

 Job Search       Networking       Resumes & Cover Letters       Workplace Issues       

Gawker picked up on a new trend: The "Call Me Maybe" business card. If you're not familiar with the song, consider yourself lucky, because it's definitely an ear worm. The lyrics: "Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but here's my number—call me, maybe?"

Gawker already scooped three images of cheeky business cards including the lyrics. But, while definitely cute, is a gimmick like song lyrics appropriate for a business card?

The answer may lie in what type of business you're in; if you wear a suit to work, you should probably sit this one out. But what if you're a freelancer, or work for a start-up?  You've got a little more leeway. Before having fun with trends, though, be sure your card has these basics down:

1. Don't forget to say what you do

Whether you use a gimmick or not, don't be so caught up in aesthetics or cultural references that you forget to tell the recipient of your card why they're holding it. Include a succinct description of the service you or your business provides.

2. Remember your audience

Again, some types of business and job titles can get away with more mischief with their cards than others. Consider the line you're in, what people's expectations for your service might be (re: comedian vs. consultant). The target demographic you're handing your cards out to is also worth considering. Are they likely to be familiar with references you're making? Would they appreciate cleverness over quality?

3. Leave room for a note

Maybe song lyrics work for your audience. But will the fit on your card? It's a good idea to leave a little room for a quick note about a conversation you had with a contact, or why they would want to contact you. Don't sacrifice this precious whitespace for non-essential information.

4. Make sure your contact details are clear

Again, function trumps form here: you don't want to get so excited about the look of your card that you run out of room for contact information, or end up putting it in tiny or indecipherable characters.

Remember too to keep your audience in mind when telling them how to reach you. Are your clients more likely to appreciate an office number, or a Twitter handle? Proceed accordingly.

--Cathy Vandewater,

Read More:
Is This ‘Call Me Maybe’ Business Card Endearing or Obnoxious? (Gawker)
Your Job Search as a Business: 4 To-Dos
Networking in Six Minutes or Less