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Jake Gilla

Getting ready for GDC - Business Cards?

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Hey everybody, so I'm getting my act together for GDC this year, and I'm having trouble figuring out how to handle the issue of my business cards.

First a little background:
I'm a student, I'll be volunteering at GDC, and I am not currently looking for a job, just hoping to meet some people. I do not have a portfolio per se, but am part of a group of student developers that I'd liken more to a garage band, than a real-deal company. In the group I handle production, sound and music, some of the coding, some of the level design, and some of the writing. I eventually want to work as a level designer, or programmer, or at an indie studio where I can do a bit of both (somewhat interested in the more specialized stuff like gameplay scripter).

On to my questions:
- Should I reference my game company, logo. and website, or just have it be MY card?
- Should I list what I do, what I want to do, that I'm a student, or just leave it blank?

I understand there's no hard set rules on this sort of thing, just trying to get some perspective on if you were handed a business card what would you rather see?

Thanks for reading.

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A business card should, ideally, tell me two things:

- Who you are
- Why, when I look at the card in the pile of 100 others I got at GDC, I wanted to talk to you enough to get your card

The second question is the critical one.

You need to identify your target audience - who do you want to talk to? Who do you want to be interested in talking to you? Then you need to identify what will make you stand out to that audience, so that your name and card will be memorable enough to turn into ongoing contact.

Lastly, you need to figure out how to cram that onto a business card, which can be tricky ;-)


Just remember that your card shouldn't be a shotgun-approach thing; don't just fling cards at people and hope for something interesting to happen. I'm not even remotely close to being involved in recruiting or HR and I still come home from every GDC with more cards than I know what to do with. Ideally, if you have a good card, I'll remember you and why I wanted your card in the first place. Even still, the blunt truth is that I usually spend my last night in the hotel before coming home filtering through dozens of cards that I can't connect to the memory of their originator. In my book, if you don't have an interesting reason to be in ongoing contact with someone, there's no need to exchange cards; it almost never turns into anything, because of the sheer volume of such exchanges that happen at most conventions.

On the flip side, though, if you do have a good reason to be in touch with someone, your card can and should be an excellent tool for reminding them of who you are and what that reason was. After a week of frenzied networking, a good card can be the difference between "hey, I really need to talk to them" and "who was that?!"

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I like what Apoch said.

1. If your goal is to start a company (and not get hired), then make a company card. If you want to network as a person, then make a person card instead.
2. Make it memorable. "Student" is boring. "Imperial Grand Designer of the Western Hemisphere" is a persona. "I actually like broccoli" is unique.

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Business cards are currency at conferences.

You give a card to get a card. Some booths will just give away cards to anyone, but generally with individuals it is reciprocal. Give a card to a recruiter and get a card in return. Give a card to an HR drone and get a card in return. Give a card to a speaker or presenter and get a card in return.


The cards you GIVE will most likely be thrown away, unless you gave them to a recruiter who will contact you.

The cards you GET will be valuable to contact the weeks after the conference.

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