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I'm a Ph.D. student considering getting business cards printed to facilitate follow-ups after conferences, etc. I am barely in touch with industry but I'm in a field where business cards are common.

My university has a set layout, but we have quite some freedom on what to include. There are some questions on whether we actually need a business card as a graduate student, but here I'm more interested on what to include on them.

I'm thinking at least:

  • Name
  • Title
  • E-mail (as it is the primary form of communication for academics)
  • Post address of university

And maybe:

  • LinkedIn
  • Personal page

I'm hesitant to include:

  • Room number (we occasionally switch; updated room number is found on personal page)
  • Telephone (same as above; could include cell number)

Not including telephone may be a bit harsh, but I'm curious whether you have some input in these matters. What should be included and what is less important?

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    Name, institution and email sound like they'd be sufficient – Landric Sep 16 '15 at 11:06
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    What field are you in? Do people use business cards in that field? I've been in theoretical computer science for over 15 years and haven't seen a single business card in the whole time. The answer may well be "Don't bother getting them at all: nobody uses them." – David Richerby Sep 16 '15 at 12:52
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    In my field I have received several business cards at conferences too and could unfortunately not exchange. Also, I probably would be more proactive in handing them out in case the parties desire to follow up. – Jim Raynor Sep 16 '15 at 13:57
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    @O.R.Mapper Sure. It's just that before asking "What should go on my business card?", one should ask "Do I need one at all?" It wasn't clear from the question that the asker had considered that but, from their later comment, it's now clear that they have. – David Richerby Sep 16 '15 at 15:58
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    Possible dupe: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/9857/… – eykanal Sep 16 '15 at 17:15
21

My experience of business cards in academia is that they are mostly just an easier way to share contact information than scribbling it on a napkin.

As such, the only things that are really important are institution, name, title (because everybody will expect it), and sets of preferred contact information.

As such, if you want people calling you, put down your phone number; if you don't want people calling you, don't put it down. Likewise for all of the other standard aspects. You probably should have a web page that you want people to visit.

As for social media sites like LinkedIn: I'm rather dubious about them, simply because there are potentially so many. I think one wouldn't be a problem, but the extrapolator in my mind goes to a ridiculous image of somebody handing me a card with their LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, ResearchGate, Facebook, etc. Don't be that person, or else if I meet you at a conference and you hand me your card, I may have a difficult time avoiding laughter.

  • no linkedin no please! – Herman Toothrot Sep 16 '15 at 11:23
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    Social networks within academia seem largely to be a huge failure... – Moriarty Sep 16 '15 at 11:30
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    @Moriarty Not always --- one of my communities seems to get a lot of value out of Twitter. – jakebeal Sep 16 '15 at 12:03
  • Oh, well, not everybody expects the title (in fact, I removed it from my business card). Out of curiosity I had a look at emails from around twenty European and Asian colleagues and only a few of them, mostly from Germany, reported their title in the email signature. – Massimo Ortolano Sep 16 '15 at 16:00
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    I'd refine this suggestion: don't put links to any social-media or stuff, just put in your site. And in your site, you may link whatever you wish (and you may also change idea later!). Please use a qrcode: if I see an URL and I have to manually type it by hand, I'll hate you dearly. – o0'. Sep 17 '15 at 8:13
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The point of a business card is to provide contact details. Even though some people might consider it to be outdated, it still has uses; for instance during the poster sessions some people hang envelopes to which you can drop your card for more information or a pdf of the poster.

As such the absolute essentials are your name and department/university, as well as different ways of contacting you. Mine includes:

  • telephone number
  • postal address
  • email

To that list you could add a homepage iff you have one that is in connection with work. I think it's rather annoying to find someone's personal homepage with blog posts about irrelevant stuff or wedding photos, when I was trying to reach their slides or publications.

Regarding your comment about phone numbers, I'd say if someone who receives the card today won't be able to reach you from that number in a year or so, then there's no reason to include it. Again, the idea is to give people different ways of contacting you.

Don't be too alarmed about empty space on your card, it's actually quite useful to scribble down your cell number, Skype username or small notes when you are exchanging cards.

Finally, my card has a QR-code in the back that encodes the same information on the card into an electronic business card. So if someone has a smart phone, they can convert the physical card to a contact on their phone/tablet by scanning it.

Hope this helps

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As you will be giving the card to people that you want to remember you.

I would include a photo, name, email address and short list of your research interests. If you have a useful webpage about your research include it as well.

There is nothing worse than having lots of cards you have been given and not being able to remember why you were interested in the person.

  • +1 for adding research interests and a personal photo on the visit card... – Enthusiastic Engineer Sep 16 '15 at 16:30
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A business card should include some basic information that people can remember you by, as well as your preferred methods of being contacted.

I would recommend:

  • Name
  • Degree Program
  • University
  • College/Department
  • Mailing Address
  • Email
  • Phone number

For example:

Example

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    You can't separate "PhD" from "student" in that way. What is the year supposed to mean, expected graduation? – Ben Voigt Sep 16 '15 at 17:54

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