Alumni football games and the winter holidays are fast approaching and many people are traveling home to visit with classmates, family and friends in the next few months. If you are job hunting, these people are a source of referrals for job leads. You will want to have a contact card ready to share. This is not the time to write your information down on a scrap of paper and hope it is saved. A contact card is very similar to a business card. It shows you are a professional and are serious about promoting yourself. Listed below are the key elements you will want to be sure is on your card.

Key elements of your contact card:

Name – Use your full name or the name you use on LinkedIn. Hiring managers will search online for you by name. Ensure you are consistent with how you use your name online and keep it professional.

Degree(s) conferred – Right after your name list your degrees conferred, such as MD, JD, PhD, BS, AA etc.

LinkedIn URL – This will let people know they can find out more about you and your skills online. Place your LinkedIn URL on the line below your name. LinkedIn is a key tool for job hunting.

Phone Number – Do not use a work phone number. You want your card to be relevant after you leave the military or your present place of employment. I recommend you use your cell phone and not a home phone number. Your cell phone is always with you.

Physical Address: Placing your physical address is optional.

Email Address: You must have a professional email address. Do not use a work email or a school email. You want an address that you will have access to when you are no longer employed or attending college. Keep your email address sounding professional and don’t use addresses like “” or “ Use a grown up email provider. Do not use Yahoo, Hotmail, or AOL. Upgrade your email to Gmail or use a personalized email that you can get when you purchase a domain name for a website or blog.

Leave the back of your contact card blank. Do not list your job title or your skills. You do not want to limit your marketability by having a limited list of skills or job titles. There is not room to list everything.

Military affiliation is an optional item. I recommend having one card that shows you are a Veteran and another that does not. If you are networking with military friendly companies then you would use the card that shows your military affiliation. Do not put your rank on your business card. This can cause someone to stereotype or discriminate against you based on rank and not look at your current education or skill sets.

Ensure your contact card is made out of a quality card stock. Do not attempt to print them off on your home computer. Use a font that is professional and large enough to be read. I do not recommend putting a picture on your card. Again, you do not want to be discriminated against because you are not the ideal weight, or have a hair color or a hair style that does not resonate with the hiring manager.

When you are attending alumni football homecomings, holiday parties and work functions don’t force your card upon anyone. If the person asks if you have a card, you will be ready. Also, when people ask what you are up to you can say you are job hunting and ask them to let anyone they know that may be hiring that you are looking. After you leave the event you can follow up with that person by sending a hand written note and include one or two contact cards.

The contact card is just one tool you should have in your job hunting toolbox. It only takes a person a few seconds to see you and your contact card and form an opinion. Ensure it represents you in a positive manner.

Author's Bio: 

Jaynine Howard is the Coach for the Military. She is a retired United States Marine on a mission to help Veterans, military personnel, and their family members make a smooth transition from the military to the mainstream. You can download resume writing and job hunting tips at or contact Jaynine at 910-539-2810. Your success is her business...from the military to the mainstream.