(Updated in 2020)
By Rob Young
If you’ve sought help to create the perfect business card you’ve probably found many people insist that you include your title on it. While including your title on a business card has its uses, in some cases it does more harm than good. Whether you’re the founder of a startup or an employee in an international company, these are a few reasons you might consider removing the title from your business card.
It can make you complacent
Printing your title on your business cards after you’ve just launched your start up might make you feel important, but it could be counter-productive. While it can inspire some people to take bold decisions and work night and day to ensure their business is a success, more commonly this false sense of importance clouds judgement and contributes to a false sense of achievement that leaves you vulnerable to complacency.
Leaving the title off your business card is a great (and free) way to remind yourself that you still have plenty to achieve — who knew that getting rid of a title could provide so much motivation?
You can appear egotistical or delusional
If you you’ve given yourself a fancy sounding title in the hopes of impressing potential clients, business partners or even your employees, be prepared for the opposite, especially if you appear young and inexperienced. At best people could think that you have an inflated ego, which might put people off from working with you. Worse still, you might just come across as delusional, with an unrealistic and immature approach to business.
It limits you
A job title is meant to give people an idea of what you do, but sometimes it can unintentionally give them a false impression of what you don’t do and if someone thinks you’re incapable of doing something and chooses not to pursue a relationship with you your business card might as well have been a blank piece of paper. Leave the job title off your business card and you give yourself the flexibility to adapt your responsibilities and abilities to the individual situation. And remember, as long as you have a pen handy, you can always add information to a business card.
Going incognito has its benefits
You might imagine that it’s always best to introduce yourself as the boss, but if you’ve ever seen Undercover Boss you’ll understand the value of being able to assume a different role. Whether it’s trying to leverage a better deal with a supplier or find out what other people really think of your company, the ability to be a chameleon in business comes with many benefits.
It’s a conversation starter
Maintaining a little bit of mystery is a great way to pique someone’s interest. Remove your job title from your business card and you’ll find that people will start asking what exactly it is you do. This is a great opportunity to really sell yourself and the business you represent, you don’t have to reply with just your job title. Just bear in mind that removing all your details from your business card will only make you look foolish and incompetent.
It looks elegant, bold and chic
It’s universally accepted that your business card shouldn’t be overloaded with information. Being ruthless and leaving out unnecessary details is a straightforward way to make an impact with your business card. Think your title is a necessary detail? Think again. Your email address or contact telephone number is essential, your title is an extra.
To avoid politics and resentment
Titles could lead to resentment and jealousy in a company. You could say that such employees shouldn’t be appeased by leaving job titles off business cards, but if something so simple could lead to a more productive company culture shouldn’t it at least be considered, especially when there are so many other reasons to ditch titles?
Do you really need that title?
Of course there are plenty of valid reasons to include your title on a business card, if you’re dealing with businesspeople with inflated egos, for example, they might consider titles important enough that they only want to deal with people they believe to be on their level. What’s important is that you don’t assume your job title should automatically be on your business card. Instead weigh up the pros and cons and do what’s best for your business or career.