If you’re a business professional, you have your own business cards. That’s part of Business 101.
But here’s what people might not know. For those deemed as “motivated students” and who are determined to get ahead- they have business cards too!
Both the founder of Her Agenda, Rhonesha Byng, and Her Agenda event curator, Anuli Akanegbu, said that they have had business cards since high school. Anuli shared that during her senior year of high school, she did a research project on personal branding, which taught her the “importance of setting yourself apart.” For others, such as Her Agenda Contributor, Anulekha Venkatram, she shared that she got her first business cards halfway through college but wished she had gotten them sooner.
What I’m hearing from these women is that it’s never too early start personal branding! As I started to realize the significance in having my own business cards, I gathered the three, main reasons why every student should also have them:
1. It’s the Easiest Way to Exchange Information
When business professionals go to networking events, they exchange business cards, because it’s the easiest way to pass along information. Well, students, also go to networking events! And students, also need an easy way to exchange information!
Ironically, I literally had this situation come up this past weekend. I was at a conference and began checking out all of the vendors when I suddenly met a woman that I had recently followed on Twitter. It turns out that her organization is opening a new branch in my area, so she invited me to attend its opening event. Of course, she asked me if I had a business card, and I had to sheepishly respond with a “no.” Moral of the story- get some business cards before something like this happens to you!
So the next time you’re out and you meet someone who would be a great connection- BAM! Whip out that business card! Not only will you look professional, but it’ll also be a lot easier than having to recite out your name, email, and phone number.
2. You’ll Stand Out From Other Students
While it makes perfect sense for students to have business cards, a lot of them still don’t. So, by simply having your own business cards and promoting yourself, people will start to take note of you. At least, that’s been the case for Her Agenda’s founder, Rhonesha Byng. When I asked Rhonesha how business cards have played a role in her success, she shared this story with me:
“When I was sixteen, I participated in this NYU summer journalism workshop where we had the chance to meet some magazine editors and learn about what they do; one of those editors specifically worked at Real Simple Magazine. Just last week, I went to a baby shower, and I ran into that editor that I met at the journalism workshop. I only met her once, but she remembered me! She remembered me, because I had given her my card and connected with her on LinkedIn. When she saw me, she knew my name and what I’d been up to, and she was excited to talk to me about what I’m currently working on. So, you never know what impact you’re going to have on people.”
It’s amazing what small things we can do to make ourselves stand out, but seriously- using simple tools such as LinkedIn and business cards make the difference! The sooner you start, the sooner it will become a natural part of our networking routine.
3. You’ll Be Taken Seriously
In most cases, when you take yourself and the things that do seriously, people will return the favor. Even at events when she was the only teenager, Rhonesha said, “They were interested in what I had to say and what I was passionate about, because I presented
myself professionally and I had a business card.” While several factors play into what classifies one as a professional, taking the proper steps towards building your career screams to others, “I am taking my future seriously, and you should too.”
Okay, now that you’re sold on the importance of having your own business cards, it’s time to proceed to the next step! To get you jumpstarted on creating your own business cards, here are some resources:
MOO– Moo is a printing company that offers a large selection of affordable business cards- just design, order, and ship!
Vistaprint– Vistaprint is another great option for a printing company. What makes this site unique? They have a free business cards section! All you have to do is pay for shipping.
Flextown– While digital business cards have not yet taken over the networking scene, the options are out there! With Flextown, users are given a single business card that can easily transfer its information to any smartphone.
Avery– For those feeling extra crafty- you can make business cards from home! Avery sells prepackaged business cards, which can be found online or at your nearest office supply store. I personally went to Staple’s. Once you’ve purchased the paper, create your business cards with one of Avery’s online, design templates, and print!
To see how well this method worked, I decided to try it out for myself! Check out the business cards I made below:
Not bad, huh? As long as you have a cooperative printer (which I do not) and you select the correct template number (which, of course, I also managed to mess up), Avery provides a fun and easy way to make your own business cards with lots of designs to choose from.
Up next- what information should you include on your business cards?
Again, we’ve got you covered. Here are some ideas of what to actually put on your business cards:
- School/major/expected graduation year
- Contact information
- Social media links (if appropriate)
- Link to personal website/portfolio
Marketing consultant and blogger, Shawn Graham, writes that creating business cards can be a constant battle between sharing too much and not enough. Your business cards should look clean and professional, so decide what is the most important information to include about yourself. For more information on the do’s and don’ts of business cards, read Graham’s article, What Should Be On A Business Card For Small Businesses.
Business cards are one of many tools that all students should be taking advantage of but have somehow been turned away from. However, now that we have explored the importance of business cards, it is time for us take what we have learned and prosper!