Business cards (PhD fresh grad)

posted
07-Feb-18, 16:37
by LeslieM
Avatar for LeslieM
posted about 8 months ago
Hi,

I've recently finished my PhD. I plan to print some business cards for attending conferences/seminars before successfully landing a full-time job (which I understand that it may take up to several years!). I have three burning questions and I'd love to know what other early career researchers think:

(1) I don't really have a job title, since I don't have a full-time job. I may have a three-month temporary part-time teaching contract but I won't put that institution as my ''affiliation''. I find the title ''independent scholar'' odd because it simply means I am jobless. If I do not put any job title on my card, it automatically means that I am looking for jobs/on part-time contracts. Therefore, titles such as ''independent scholar'' or ''independent researcher'' would be redundant. Or would you still put "independent scholar" as your title on your card?

(2) Will you include information about your previous education? In my case, my PhD is an interdisciplinary programme (media studies) and my MA is in political science. I am wondering if it would be a nice idea to list out my MA degree as well, so as to indicate that I have a background in social sciences instead of humanities, since both have quite distinctive training and approaches to media studies I suppose. So my card might look like this:

Name
PhD (Media Studies, A University)
MA (Political Science, B University)
Email:
Website:

(3) The last question is about card design. I am looking at websites that provide templates. I am deciding between fancy designs (https://www.moo.com/uk/design-templates/business-cards/pack/monogram.html) or conventional plain designs (https://www.moo.com/uk/design-templates/business-cards/pack/profile-power.html).

Colourful or fancy design may be eye-catching/impressive, but as a female researcher I want to be taken seriously. My male colleagues designed fancy cards but I hesitate if I want to do the same.

Many thanks x
posted
08-Feb-18, 21:45
edited about 31 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 8 months ago
Quote From LeslieM:
Hi,

I've recently finished my PhD. I plan to print some business cards for attending conferences/seminars before successfully landing a full-time job (which I understand that it may take up to several years!). I have three burning questions and I'd love to know what other early career researchers think:

(1) I don't really have a job title, since I don't have a full-time job. I may have a three-month temporary part-time teaching contract but I won't put that institution as my ''affiliation''. I find the title ''independent scholar'' odd because it simply means I am jobless. If I do not put any job title on my card, it automatically means that I am looking for jobs/on part-time contracts. Therefore, titles such as ''independent scholar'' or ''independent researcher'' would be redundant. Or would you still put "independent scholar" as your title on your card?

(2) Will you include information about your previous education? In my case, my PhD is an interdisciplinary programme (media studies) and my MA is in political science. I am wondering if it would be a nice idea to list out my MA degree as well, so as to indicate that I have a background in social sciences instead of humanities, since both have quite distinctive training and approaches to media studies I suppose. So my card might look like this:

Name
PhD (Media Studies, A University)
MA (Political Science, B University)
Email:
Website:

(3) The last question is about card design. I am looking at websites that provide templates. I am deciding between fancy designs (https://www.moo.com/uk/design-templates/business-cards/pack/monogram.html) or conventional plain designs (https://www.moo.com/uk/design-templates/business-cards/pack/profile-power.html).

Colourful or fancy design may be eye-catching/impressive, but as a female researcher I want to be taken seriously. My male colleagues designed fancy cards but I hesitate if I want to do the same.

Many thanks x


Personally i think you are wasting your time and money.
I only ever work with and recommend people I personally know because getting it wrong can be absolutely ruinous to my career.
I have also only been contacted with work offers by people with whom I have built up a relationship over time.
If I want to establish contact post-conference then I would email them.
Networking is very much a long game. Think in terms of several years and be very selective. They dont warn you about that at uni or on job advice sites.
posted
08-Feb-18, 22:59
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 8 months ago
I think you should. I always find it quite impressive when someone hands me one, and I remember them and normally put the card on my noticeboard in the hallway for a good while. If for any reason I wanted to contact that person, it would be very easy to do so - as I'd have their full name and contact details (rather than some scrap of paper with several addys scribbled on that I can't remember who they belong to).

(excuse the grammar of that last part - I am really tired and I know that sounds wrong but can't think of the right way to say it).
posted
09-Feb-18, 03:35
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 8 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
I think you should. I always find it quite impressive when someone hands me one, and I remember them and normally put the card on my noticeboard in the hallway for a good while. If for any reason I wanted to contact that person, it would be very easy to do so - as I'd have their full name and contact details (rather than some scrap of paper with several addys scribbled on that I can't remember who they belong to).

(excuse the grammar of that last part - I am really tired and I know that sounds wrong but can't think of the right way to say it).


Dont get me wrong, when I started out I used to like them as well but what do you do when you get to more than 100 business cards?
When I ran my first business I was at over 100 after the first three networking nights. After 6 months I had enough to carpet every room in our house. Within a year I was starting to feel guilty about how many trees had died to make the voluminous pile now taking up half my living room. My wife threatened to move out and the children kept losing their toys in the forest of cards. After two year I relented, stopped accepting new cards and had a bonfire of the lot of them. We cooked sausages on sticks and had many beers. The pile was still smouldering the next morning. I dont have any now.

I might have exaggerated a little......
posted
09-Feb-18, 18:52
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 8 months ago
You forgot the part where you all needed family counselling afterwards. I still think he/she should get some though and try it out for themselves. It might lead to some key opportunities - you never know. Plus it can make you feel professional, so a nice confidence booster. I'm thinking of having some made myself now after all this convincing stuff I've said!
posted
09-Feb-18, 19:59
edited about 2 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 8 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
You forgot the part where you all needed family counselling afterwards. I still think he/she should get some though and try it out for themselves. It might lead to some key opportunities - you never know. Plus it can make you feel professional, so a nice confidence booster. I'm thinking of having some made myself now after all this convincing stuff I've said!


I agree with pm33 that this is probably a waste of time. If you left an impression or someone could use your workforce in the near future, they will remember you and find you or they will just type your name in their smartphone. If not, they will never contact you. Who remembers the owner of a specific business card months later? This card probably goes straight to the next bin. There are of course situations were business cards make sense (for example if you have a business or are a freelancer that provides a specific service), but in my opinion not if you are just an unemployed scientists that hopes to find a job. I think my impression would be "Wow, you must be really desperate" ;) No offense!
posted
09-Feb-18, 21:18
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 8 months ago
I see it as going that extra step and impressive - a bit like the person who dresses really nicely at a conference. I think they stand out in a good way.

Sorry I've just realised that I have ignored your actual questions! So...all personal opinions here (and coming from someone who themselves hasn't got a business card and probably won't ever...)
1) I think you could put the field/expertise here - e.g., mental health researcher ... but personally I would just put name and PhD in X under it.
2) I definitely wouldn't include info about WHERE I got my degrees - that seems unnecessary and would clutter the card
3) Surely this is just down to personal preference, but I prefer the Moo/Momogram design - it's funky yet very professional
posted
11-Feb-18, 01:31
edited about 1 minute later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 8 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
I see it as going that extra step and impressive - a bit like the person who dresses really nicely at a conference. I think they stand out in a good way.

Sorry I've just realised that I have ignored your actual questions! So...all personal opinions here (and coming from someone who themselves hasn't got a business card and probably won't ever...)
1) I think you could put the field/expertise here - e.g., mental health researcher ... but personally I would just put name and PhD in X under it.
2) I definitely wouldn't include info about WHERE I got my degrees - that seems unnecessary and would clutter the card
3) Surely this is just down to personal preference, but I prefer the Moo/Momogram design - it's funky yet very professional


Hmmmm dressing "nicely" for a conference also reeks of desperation.
Maybe it's just because I am older and more experienced but I can smell despair at 100 paces.
In my opinion, what gets you noticed is "presence" in a room. No business card or "smart clothes" will be a substitute for that. In my experience, very few PhD students or even post docs have any presence whatsoever. It comes from confidence in yourself and, in turn, that comes from experience.

To see what I am getting at, go to the next conference and try to spot the academics with permanent jobs. Now look at the students and post docs who seem to behave in a manner indistinguishable from the staff. There will only be one or two. My advice is to follow their lead and drop all the other nonsense.
posted
11-Feb-18, 14:21
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 8 months ago
This is quite a subjective topic. You think that dressing nicely at a conference reeks of desperation, others do not (myself included - and I am also older and have good bit of experience). For some, dressing up may be part of their "presence" and work very well for them. At the same time, I agree that following the lead of others is a good way to go. It sounds as though having a card may be the done thing in LeslieM's circles, and so perhaps she is seeking to do what is the norm / has paid off / worked well for others in her field.
posted
11-Feb-18, 19:08
edited about 9 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 8 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
This is quite a subjective topic. You think that dressing nicely at a conference reeks of desperation, others do not (myself included - and I am also older and have good bit of experience). For some, dressing up may be part of their "presence" and work very well for them. At the same time, I agree that following the lead of others is a good way to go. It sounds as though having a card may be the done thing in LeslieM's circles, and so perhaps she is seeking to do what is the norm / has paid off / worked well for others in her field.


Yes it is subjective and when it comes to dressing up for a conference when most turn up in casual wear, yes I do believe that reeks of desperation. You are of course welcome to have a different opinion. I wouldn't suggest otherwise.

The only opinions which matter are those who are hiring. What do they look for? If it's a business card and a suit then it's a no brainer. Personally i am not convinced it is but maybe I am wrong. Sadly, not many of those hirers tell us which leaves the rest of us tying ourselves in knots trying to second guess.
posted
11-Feb-18, 20:35
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 8 months ago
Well... I don't think I said anything about turning up smart when everyone else is dressed casual... that would just be awkward. I just said about dressing really nicely. And yep, I do think it can be good thing. In fact - I know it can! Impressions and appearances count at times.
posted
12-Feb-18, 08:00
edited about 12 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 8 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
Well... I don't think I said anything about turning up smart when everyone else is dressed casual... that would just be awkward. I just said about dressing really nicely. And yep, I do think it can be good thing. In fact - I know it can! Impressions and appearances count at times.


What is the difference between dressing smartly and dressing really nicely?
posted
12-Feb-18, 17:58
edited about 25 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 8 months ago
I don't know, but there is a difference between dressing nicely in general (what I said) and turning up somewhere dressed smartly when everyone else is casual (what you said). The latter is probably going to be painful, whereas the former is common sense when one wants to make a good impression. My point is: putting an effort in can go a long way. For instance, when a presenter at a conference is well dressed (smartly or nicely or whatever you want to call it), in my view, it forms part of their overall presentation. And, in my own subjective view, a business card is along similar lines - can be quite impressive.
posted
12-Feb-18, 22:47
Avatar for butterfly20
posted about 8 months ago
What a load of shite, dressing nicely reeks of desperation! How does what you wear have any bearing on your reputation as a scholar?! At a conference you will find a mix, some people dress smart and some people really don't.

As for business cards, there is nothing wrong with them at all. Although if it is for conferences, I have found handouts to be more successful (so if you were presenting a poster, a smaller version of the poster etc).
posted
13-Feb-18, 11:27
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 8 months ago
Lol! Well, I disagree (as you can probably already tell)! Some of it probably depends on the area as well. Just to clarify - I don't think a person's appearance has a bearing on reputation as a scholar. But appearances can count, especially for first impressions. Crikey, is that such an extreme idea?

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