It's nothing new to come home from an event with a pocketful of business cards. But many of the ones I've been handed lately have no company name on them. • They're from unemployed job hunters.
The trend — noticed around the country — surprised Terry Welty, senior vice president for marketing at Quark, a Denver company that introduced desktop publishing software in 1987.
Building on its graphic design expertise, the company created www.quarkpromote.com to sell business marketing and promotional materials, expecting its customers to be small businesses looking for affordable, professionally designed templates for brochures, postcards, fliers and the like.
That happened. But Welty said a fair number of customers have turned out to be job hunters looking for a way to stand out in the crowd.
"They're doing what they can to get noticed," Welty said. "When you're one resume in a stack of thousands, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle."
Welty doesn't pretend to be a career counselor, but if he were looking for a job, he said, he would create business cards and personal marketing brochures to send to the functional heads of whatever department he was targeting for work.
Many human resource departments don't want to receive any application materials except what was specifically requested. But Welty's opinion is that "if you want to play by the rules, well, stand in line, because there are hundreds like you."
Some job hunters are using business cards and brochures as "leave behinds." After they've landed an interview, they "leave behind the materials to help the interviewer remember you better," he said.
Whether it's a business card with just a name and contact information or a four-color trifold personal marketing brochure, it needs to look professionally designed and use good-quality paper stock.
As always, human contact is preferable to an unsolicited mailing. A handshake might help the handouts get read instead of tossed upon receipt.
Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at the Kansas City Star.