How to design your business card

Having a business card is a great networking tool, much easier than carrying around a stack of CVs and headshots and more professional than scribbling your details on a scrap piece of paper.

Many actors have them printed when they know they are going to a potential networking event such as a showcase, workshop or going to an opening night. However, it is always useful to carry them around in your wallet or bag as you never know who you will bump into. Hanging out at the National Theatre cafe or Royal Festival Hall with a coffee is always advantageous.

The essential things that should be on your card is your stage name and spotlight number. A director or casting director can always track you down through spotlight if nothing else. With your stage name he or she will also be able to find you on other sites such as casting call pro through the magic of the internet.

If you are represented by an agent then it would be wise to add their details also; telephone number, email and or website.

If you are still seeking representation then how much of your own personal contact details you put on the card is down to you. Remember once you give out your card then you can't control what happens to it, so think carefully before putting private contact details on it. For instance, never put your home address. In this digital world it is highly unlikely anyone would wish to write a letter to you and you wouldn't want your home address getting into the wrong hands. An email address that you use for professional purposes on the other hand is a great and safe way for people to contact you. Also many actors have their own websites with updates on work, photos and film footage, which is another way of helping your new contact find out more about you. A telephone number on your card is a personal choice, it is a way of industry people getting in contact with you quickly but you must weigh that up with the fact your phone number will be public knowledge.

A wonderful advertising tool for your business card is to have your head shot on the card, i.e. headshot on one side and contact info on the other. This means your new contact can put a name to the face and when you send a follow up email the next day after meeting them they can remember exactly who you are. This mini headshot is often eye catching and memorable way to help you stand out from the crowd. Whether you chose to print in colour or black and white is also a personal choice but I would suggest that whatever choice you make it reflects your personality and is eye-catching. This card is your representative once you have shaken hands and walked away.

Vista print and Moo are just two of the many printing companies you can go for. Many websites have a quick delivery option if you have an event to head to soon, which is great for those last minute invites. If you are a member of spotlight you can often get discounts on printing business cards so having this handy tool in your pocket doesn't need to cost you the earth. Once you have your business cards the next task is to remember to give them out! They are of no use to you sat in the bottom of your bag, so the next time you find yourself chatting to a fellow friendly industry member offer them your card, you never know where it might lead to. Happy networking!