Sometimes the best advice is to ignore someones “helpful” advice. In the next couple weeks I’ll be talking about experiences where I’ve disregarded bad advice. You can read the first part of the series here.
What about you? What advice have you received and chucked out the window as useless?
So there I was, freshly unemployed, at a networking event with no business cards. Talk about an epic fail! To this day I still have no idea why I didn’t get business cards first. I cut that event short, went home and started working on my business cards. I reviewed the usual stuff online about what you should and shouldn’t put on a business card and all that other jazz. My instinct was to stay away from a plain vanilla card, you know the one: ivory card, plain black (probably Arial or Times New Roman font), no design, nothing interesting on it.
Why wouldn’t I follow the conventional advice? Well for one thing, I’ve been to enough networking events where I get a ton of business cards, go home and I struggle to associate faces with names. Maybe it’s just me and my suspected ADD…but I think this happens to a lot of people. When I do remember someones name and face it’s because there was something unique about that person. It could be something they were wearing or a particularly insightful conversation or their business card.
So off I went to get my cards printed and this was the result:
I like it because it is colorful but not over done and the design is fairly simple. In a stack of various shades of plain vanilla cards, it will stick out.
At the next networking event I debuted the new business card, talked with a lot of great people and was on my way home when a very nice woman stopped me and decided to offer me some advice on my business card. She suggested I have my cards re-done. The key, according to her, was too stick with a plain business card because that looks more professional.
I thought this was interesting coming from another HR professional. After all, we actively believe and promote the value of diversity. But then we see a business card that’s slightly different and all of a sudden we are telling people to “keep it plain” and “don’t stand out.” The advice was well intentioned but not the best advice. If we are put off by someone because their business card is not “traditional” then how do we expect to hire people that will push the status quo, dream up new ideas and new ways of doing things?
If we are so tightly wound about the color of a business card how fair of a chance are we giving to someone with a different skin color? Or a different accent? Diversity is all around us, in traditional and not -so- traditional ways, keep that in mind.
So did my awesome, bright, oh-so-me card get me a slew of interviews and job offers? I don’t really know, honestly I doubt it had any effect at all besides maybe jogging the memory of someone who met me. And that was the whole point: something simple but colorful that helped put a face to the card. Please put a little more personality into those plain ivory cards!