Networking with people in your field of interest is a good way to make connections with potential employers, however, it is not always possible or practical to give a resume to every person that you meet. Therefore, it is smart for students to carry business cards to help market themselves and make contacts.
The main purpose of your Student Business Card is to put your information into the hands of business contacts and potential employers. So, include your: name, phone number and e-mail address. You might also want to include what college you are attending as well as your major and minor.
When it comes to business cards, quality matters. In a pinch, you can print your own cards using templates that are readily available with most word processing software, a decent printer and card stock. However, if you consider the time it will take to design and print your card and the cost of input, it is often much easier, cost comparative and more professional looking to have them printed at local printers like Johnson's Printing and Pride Printing here in Marquette. Office Max offers assistance, in-store, with business card design or you can design them yourself at their web site. Vistaprint is a reliable, online only print service.
When designing your card, it is OK to be creative, especially if you are interested in an area of focus that requires creativity. Stick to designs that are aesthetically-pleasing and that make a clear, positive statement about you. Avoid shocking imagery or phrasing in an effort to grab attention. You don't have to go over the top with your design, in fact, a simple, elegant design of dark ink on a light background works very well. Use large enough font so that your information is legible to all.
It is very important to understand that your Student Business Card should never replace your resume. If you are going to a career fair or a networking event where you know that perspective employers are going to be present, make sure to bring several copies of your resume to hand to the people with whom you speak. At these types of events, professionals will expect to receive resumes.
Student Business Cards are for those unexpected networking opportunities that pop up from time to time. These situations require you to be confident, while understanding the context in which it is appropriate to conduct business. Don't just thrust your card into the hands of every potential employer or business contact that you bump into because this can leave a negative impression. You cannot rely on your card to do all of the work, engage potential contacts in conversation. For your business card to have a positive impact, you have to represent yourself well. The best time to hand out your card is at the end of a conversation with somebody you have just met for the first time.
Student Business Cards are also useful for obtaining contact information from people who may be able to help you in the future. Again, be tactful and respectful. Speak to the person and either wait to be asked for a card or hand them your card and see if they reciprocate. Bear in mind the seniority of the person with whom you are speaking. If they are high up in a large organization, be respectful of the fact that they may have many demands on their time and expect you to go through proper channels in order to contact them. It is OK to ask them for a card if they don't offer one when you hand them yours, but avoid being insistent. If you do receive a card, you can take it as an invitation to make contact, but always be respectful of their time.
You are the best representative of yourself; your card is simply your information and should function as a physical reminder of a good first impression.