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Yes, there's such a thing as business card etiquette when networking. Don't mess it up! Related: 8 Steps To Build Relationships After A Networking Event Suppose you were out having lunch with a new business acquaintance and when your food was delivered to the table, your lunch partner reached over with her hand and sampled your meal. What would you think? That they were rude - lacking proper social etiquette, right? You’d be offended and probably lose your appetite. Besides ranking their social grace at zero, you’d also seriously question their professional competence as well. The example I shared above is extreme. But here’s the point: All it takes is one wrong move to jeopardize your professional image. At live networking events, where you only have 30 seconds to make a good first impression, you cannot afford to make the wrong move. Regardless of how shallow it may seem, the world first judges us on how we appear. It’s more than looks and clothes – it’s demeanor, presence, body language, how confident you appear engaging with others. And all of that can be picked up in a first glance or notice, or with the first handshake. So let’s say you are dressed well, your confidence is high and your body language is clearly communicating you are a person worth knowing. You’re 50% there. I've seen well dressed people still leave a bad impression (even if the first one was good) because of bad networking etiquette. Some of the worst mistakes I see at networking events are people not understanding how to use their business card.

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While the unemployment rate has improved significantly compared to what it was a few years ago, the number of people who are unemployed remains quite large. Unfortunately, you might be one of those very same people dealing with unemployment. If you've been out hunting for a job, you may have found it's much more difficult than one would normally anticipate. Why, though? The answer to that quandary is quite simple—with jobs being so scarce, everyone in the jobless category is out and about, hunting for any signs of a potential job opening. To an employer, the endless amount of job applicants may start blending together. Therefore, you have a new job now: you need to formulate a strategy to stand out. Moreover, anyone who has been in business for themselves knows just how important an effective marketing campaign is. This very same principle can apply to job hunting as well. Marketing for a job hunt is nowhere near as elaborate as an intricate promotional campaign implemented by a business. In fact, a simple business card goes a long way in personal branding. Think about it. Business cards are excellent personal branding tools when “accidentally” left behind after a job interview. Moreover, considering how companies such as Quality Logo Products allow customers to customize their own business card, an impressive image can easily be created through bright colors, clip art, and even a personal photo. Standing out certainly would not be an issue when the HR manager opens his/her wallet and sees a business card brandishing your face and contact information. Furthermore, business cards do not have to be casually left behind, unknown to the interviewer. No, no, in fact some employers may find that you have shown initiative if you directly approach them, open your wallet, and simply say, “Let me leave you with my card.” Not only would you have shown initiative, but you have also conveyed a sense of professionalism. That very same professionalism could be the factor that ultimately lands you the job. Should you choose to incorporate business cards in your job search efforts, just remember to include all the important information on how you can be reached in the event an employer wants to follow-up. While creating a custom, flashy card, complete with a personal picture, may be enticing, the aesthetics are not as important as the qualitative data that you include on it. Generally, the standard business card will obviously have a name, as well as any phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and website links that pertain to you personally. It would be great if the unemployment rate could be reduced to zero, but the foreseeable future does not appear to hold this as a possibility. Therefore, you need to avoid being a statistic. You want to appear as if you do not need the job so much as the job needs you. If you are able to see yourself as an asset, then chances are good that potential managers will view you the same way. It doesn’t hurt to carry a personal business card, though, if only to leave employers with a way to contact you.

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There are many situations when a plastic card would offer a business additional benefits, but many companies don’t consider printing onto plastic cards, instead of the traditional medium of card. First impressions count for everything: if you’re giving somebody a card, whether it’s a loyalty card, business card or an information card, then being remembered is the number one aim. Do you want to be remembered for style, quality and design? Will these advantages make you stand out from the crowd and elevate your brand above the competition? The plastic card industry is evolving and expanding through new printing technologies and increasing interest, as businesses swap from the traditional card to plastic. This means plastic cards (including plastic business cards for companies or individuals) are affordable and accessible to the vast majority of business across the world. So why are companies switching to plastic to promote their businesses? Plastic is a material that has many uses and comes in almost every shape, size and colour. Its popularity has been mainly due to its versatility and durability. Printing cards in plastic means they can last for a very long time and keep on representing your brand in an untarnished way in comparison to other materials that would have started to fray or disintegrate. It takes a lot of use to wear out a plastic card, which is why many companies are now looking to plastic for business cards. How many times have you placed a business card into your purse or wallet and regretted it when you needed the number on the now disfigured card?

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A decade or so deep into the digital age, the traditional business card has been struggling to keep up with the times. Although it still has its place in the established traditions of the professional world, the tech industry and a new generation of young professionals are turning to networking websites and smartphone applications to make new business connections and opportunities happen faster. With a website or app, professional details can be saved with a few mouse clicks or a swipe of a screen. Information can also even be swapped by simply "bumping" two smartphones together. (Let’s hope that this won’t replace the hearty handshake.) Here are five new ways that people connect professionally:

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