I loved this Washington Post article on the staying power of business cards. (Thanks to PR Daily for highlighting it yesterday!) I created business cards while in college and couldn't recommend it more. Those without a job have turned cards and I believe this is huge for students to capitalize on. Sure, I took a lot of jokes from friends. They never understood why I constantly carried my cards (even to the bar), but with my mindset? I look at every meeting as an opportunity to network (alumni are always on campus!). Networking doesn't always have to be in the professional sense, but considered a way to further connections if not right now perhaps in the future.
At job fairs and conferences I know my business cards helped me stand out. When a professional handed me a card, they were surprised when I reciprocated with one of my own. A first impression means a lot, but you can help someone remember you long after this exchange. Whether its the uniqueness of your card or the great conversation you share a card can be the catalyst for a new relationship to form.
As a student you're still gaining experience and may wonder what to include on your card.
- Contact information – Make it easy for anyone to get in touch with you.
- Social media presence – Include your Twitter handle, blog/personal website, LinkedIn URL. (There's not a lot of room so make your priorities fit.)
- College details (university, graduation date, major) – If you connected on being Illini fans (who isn't?!) that inclusion will help professionals jog their memory after your meeting.
- Quote – This was my personal touch. I chose a quote that was applicable to my job hunt and current life outlook ("Ambition is enthusiasm with a purpose." -Frank Tyger). It also provides a terrific conversation starter.
I shared a photo of my college business card to demonstrate that mine was as BASIC as can be and it still made a difference. I made my cards on Microsoft Publisher and printed them on card stock. (Please ignore the ridiculous scratch out. I'm happy to chat with new people on the phone, but you gotta earn my digits ; ) My personal homepage was also started during college and is my next life project that I will be undertaking.)
I spoke recently at the University of Illinois' Advertising Week 2010 and making business cards was one of my top suggestions. I'm interested to see who took note.