Do you need a business card?
In this day and age, where everyone carries around smart phones and has access to the internet, you may wonder about the practicality of business cards. But you need a business card for the sole reason that it provides an easy way for other people to get in touch with you.
A business card is necessary for 4 reasons:
1. Business cards give people the ability to follow up.
When you meet someone and develop that instant rapport you want to give them a chance to follow up with you instantly without having to reach for a pen or their phone.
2. Business cards that show that you are professional
The littlest things we do send out the biggest messages. Something as simple as a business card is indicative that you took the time to actually put your information in a card. This immediately separates you from 99% of other people out there who may be students like you or are out there seeking a job like yourself.
3. Having a business card keeps one focused on the goal
An example of a goal would be to make to distribute the 30 business cards that you brought along to a networking event. You can also create secondary goals such as collect at least 10 of others' business cards. If you decide to approach networking events in this manner then your business cards can serve as a reminder and keep you focused on the goal-which is to follow up with people regarding possible opportunities.
4. Business cards can help make you referable
A good business card will not only contain one's name and contact details. It should also mention what that person's skills are. Having this extra detail can make all the difference because although the person that you initially give your business card may not know what to do with you and your skills, he may know someone in his network that has in need of someone like you. It is good to remember that random encounters with different people happen all the time. And when they do, you always want o be prepared to take advantage of these meetings and the opportunities that could arise from them.
Business cards are cheap, portable, and easy to give away, so there's no reason not to have one. Even with email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, people expect you to have a business card. It shows professionalism and it demonstrates that you care. They are a paper handshake that instantly gives whoever you meet everything they need to know in order to do business with you.
Be prepared: Always have business cards on you. Always. Even when you're on vacation you might make a connection with someone. Always keep a few in your wallet.
Tossing your card at every single person you meet will get them tossed in the trash and waste your cards. A good rule of thumb is if you shook their hand after making a connection, hand off your card.
If you hand off a business card, try to get one back. Most of the time they'll try to reciprocate when you give them a card, but if they don't, ask. Showing your interest in them can increase their interest in you.
When you do get their business card, make sure you write a few notes of the person on the back of the card. Also, take some time to look them up online. Doing this will help you remember the names of the people you meet and often let you put a face to the name.
If you were stuck in the elevator with the CEO of your dream company, what would you say? This is where the term elevator pitch came from. The elevator pitch allows you in 30 seconds to tell someone who you are, why you are qualified, and what you can provide. An elevator pitch can be used while networking, at a career fair, in an airplane or to answer the interview question "tell me about yourself."