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5/20/2002

Business Cards Make Good Business Sense

Kate Traynor

Well-designed business cards can help new pharmacists project a professional image at educational meetings and other networking events.

If your employer orders business cards for staff members, you may not have much say in the card's design and content. But if you want a more personalized card, you can design your own and have it printed inexpensively by an office-supply store, stationery supplier, or other vendor.

Before you place an order for business cards, think carefully about what the card needs to say as well as the best way to present that information.

The basics. Include your name and contact information, such as a telephone number and e-mail address. Pharmacy-school graduates should also list their pharmacy degree as well as any board-certification credentials. If you are still in school, "Pharm.D. candidate" is an acceptable title to include on the business card.

Keep it readable. Avoid fancy lettering, such as all upper-case letters in a script typeface, that can make the card difficult to decipher. Also, resist the urge to use more than two typefaces on the card or put too much text on it. Your business-card supplier is probably a good source of information on appropriate type styles and effective card design.

Avoid cross-outs and stickers. If your contact information will soon change, leave that part of the card blank and add the information by hand when you give out the card (you can use the back of the card for this). Do not cross out inaccurate information or cover it with a sticker; have new business cards printed instead.

Get a professional e-mail address. If your personal e-mail address is cute or humorous, you may want to get a more traditional e-mail address to print on your business card. Many organizations offer free e-mail boxes that can be checked from virtually any computer that has an Internet connection. In many cases, you can keep the e-mail identity even if you move, which means the e-mail address on your business card will remain current.

Hold that card. Business cards that are carried around loosely can become dog-eared and dirty. To avoid this, consider buying a special carrying case can keep your cards looking crisp and professional.