With July fast approaching, students are either finishing up or starting their co-ops and summer internships. However, one thing that never changes is the ample opportunity to network in events and coffee sessions- it is practically year-round. Well, we all know the usual ‘prepare your resume’ rhetoric, and we have tons of advice and articles on how to craft the perfect one. But other than that, is that enough to let you stand out among a horde of applicants, in say, a career-fair or a pile of applications? How do you fare against the Ivy-Leaguer next to you, or the genius student in other universities who got 4.0? Sure, it’s not about grades or the school you go to necessarily that gets you the job, you might say, it’s about how memorable you are, and how much of a connection you made with the recruiter or interviewer.
For striking a connection, sometimes it is by chance that you have something in common with that person, for instance background or interests. For the former though, it is something you can act on. Having a unique business card to present to recruiters/ interviewers, or just someone you are grabbing coffee with, can make a lasting impression. Plus, in a world of adults, swapping business cards is commonplace, and you don’t want to be ‘that’ networker who looks like they are still not ready for the workforce. With that said, what should you include in your business cards?
1. Basic Information
It’s no-brainer, include your name, school, and graduation year. Since you are still a student (and that should be your title), be sure to include your husky.neu.edu email address, but feel free to put down your professional sounding non-academic email as well. Whether or not you want to include your phone number is up to you, but my advice is leave it for the resume since the people who have them tend to be more serious about giving you an interview.
2. Online Presence Links on Social Media Platforms
If you have a personal website, LinkedIn, make sure to put the links there as well, as it gives potential employers a different dimension of you than just on a black-and-white piece of paper. Depending on your major, it might be relevant to include your twitter handle, online portfolio, or even tumblr. But caution against putting too much info that would overwhelm them. Be mindful that your card should evoke simplicity and professionalism. If there are things you want to add but can’t fit them on the card, put that on your website or elsewhere, they will dig more into it when they are interested.
3. Design and Format
There should be a balance between getting creative and conservative. You want to stand out but more importantly make people take you seriously. There is no standard type of business cards as it really depends on your major and what kind of image you want to evoke. Many business cards companies let you personalize or even design your own brand, such as Moo, or Minted, and Tiny Prints. It only takes a few minutes to customize it, then you can start ordering it in small batches at a cost-friendly price starting from $20.
Lastly, handing out business cards to the right people and when to do so require etiquette and skills. Normally, at a networking event, you should hand it out with both hands to the other person at the end of the conversation, if you see the value in following up with them. Whereas, for an interview, it should be given at the beginning with the card facing them, and if he/she hands one to you as well.
Now, you are ready to go, make a lasting impression and forge useful connections!
Scarlett Ho is a third year International Affairs and Political Science major with a minor in Law and Public Policy. During fall 2014, she studied abroad in Belgium where she interned at the European Parliament. The summer prior to that, she interned for Senator Warren on Capitol Hill, and previously Congressman Lynch in Massachusetts. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.