The Business Card
Picture this: You’re at a networking event or a happy hour (either way you have a drink in your hand) and at the end of chatting up another lawyer – you ask (or they offer) for their business card. Now, at this moment, given your unemployment (which you’ve obviously discussed) they don’t expect you to have one in return. And then, BAM, you grab yours and hand it over.
While I acknowledge I’m being overly dramatic about handing out a business card – this little move can make a very big impression. It shows you’re serious as a professional. I’ve had really great feedback and even the start of a whole new conversation when I hand over my business card to other lawyers. I’ve even had a few other lawyers take my card and start showing it around to their friends (and introducing me in the process). Obviously no one has offered me a job on the spot but I think I’ve created stronger networking contacts thanks to that little card.
Business cards can be printed up extremely cheap these days – there are several online print shops that will print and ship very quickly for under $15.
Now, what should be on your card? I’ve actually gone through several different versions of cards since I started law school and as the information changed I finally got smart and now have the bare minimum on my card.
You must have:
- Name (obviously)
- Email – more below on which email
- Phone Number
- Website – more on this below
- Juris Doctor, 2010
- Name of Your School
Do not put on the card:
- Your address – for most of us that will change within the year
- Your picture – unless you are highly creative and it works for you it will just end up looking like a real estate agent
This business card should serve you well until you get a job – at which point your employer will have boring business cards printed up for you. Don’t forget to put your business cards in places where you will always have them with you. Guys, throw some in your wallet. Girls, in addition to your wallet, put some in your purses you tend to take with you to professional events.
That is right – I recommend that everyone should have a website. As with my business card, I’ve had really great feedback on my site and get comments like, “It was so great to find all your information in one place” and “Wow! I never did anything like that when I graduated law school – what a great idea.” Even if that lawyer or employer never actually goes to your site – just knowing that you have it puts you into a higher professional realm.
What do you need on your website? Not much. You really only need two pages:
- Your Resume
- Contact Page
That is it. Optionally you can add a page that has a list of courses you took or a page that has an abstract from a paper you would be proud to share but nothing more is needed. For some of you out there that had prior jobs/careers, you might have a page dedicated to that experience but don’t go crazy. All that needs to be up is your resume and a way for employers to contact you.
- On your resume page – include a link to a PDF file of your resume so that it can be easily printed from your website.
- Remember, your online resume doesn’t have to be limited to your paper resume since you have a lot more room. So, without going crazy with information you can include some relevant items that you might have previously had to cut from your paper resume.
- I don’t recommend posting your phone number or address on your website – let your email address be the only contact method. You phone number is most likely your cell phone and I wouldn’t want that on the web. However, if you get a Google Voice number or something similar then it isn’t such an issue.
On the subject of a website – I recommend buying your domain name. They are cheap – for a one year purchase it is under $13 and some services include an email address along with the domain name purchase. Meaning you can have firstname.lastname@example.org for your email which looks a lot more professional than your school email or a gmail account.
It is possible that someone has already bought your name and it is no longer available but you should try to get something now that works for you before all your options are gone. So, even if “www.johnsmith.com” is already taken you might still be able to buy “www.jsmith.com.” Also, make sure you are buying the “.com” version of your domain name. Everyone is so used to .com that buying .net will just be confusing.
Obviously there are more tools out there to market yourself – but you need a good base before advancing forward and this should provide a good start. Now, get moving! All of this can be accomplished by sitting in front of your computer right now. Go!