Students have been asking if there are unwritten rules about business card etiquette they should follow. I have listed a few below:
1. If you don’t have a card, get one. It is tacky to tear off a little piece of paper and write down your contact information if a potential employer or contact asks for it. There are some inexpensive options for ordering business cards out there like www.vistaprint.com. As a student, you can put the following information on your card: Name, Graduate Student of I-O Psychology (or whatever program you are in), Roosevelt University, expected graduation date, email, and phone number. Some students also include their LinkedIn url – I would only do this if it is not too long. Some people who are job hunting will also include a mini-resume or bulleted highlights on the back of their card.
2. Don’t be a card pusher. It is generally considered pushy to give someone your business card during an introduction. Typically, people wait to exchange cards when sharing contact information comes up naturally in a conversation or at the end of a conversation. If someone give you his/her card, reciprocate.
3. Handle the card with care. It is generally considered respectful to look at a card after it is offered and treat it respectfully when putting it away. Don’t just toss it into you purse or fold it up and shove it in you pocket. Put is in a safe place in your wallet or folder. If you put it on the table, keep it upright.
4. Take notes. If you are giving your card to someone for a specific reason, for example, because they are going to email you an article or job posting, write it on your card before you give it to them so they will easily remember. After you part ways with someone who just gave you a business card, write down any important information on the card, including personal details you learned. Your contact will think you are quite personable if you remember her daughter is three and likes unicorns the next time you see her.
4. Follow-up. After you have received a business card, follow-up within 48 hours of the meeting or the event you were attending. Send a quick email saying it was nice to meet you and also consider sending information or a link that relates to the conversation you had that he/she might find useful or interesting. This can help spark conversation and help you build your relationship with that contact.
5. Keep a record. I keep all of my contacts in a contact program on my computer but you could also use Excel. It is also recommended that you try to touch base with your contacts every few months so that they don’t forget about you. Give them a call or send an email and see how they are doing. Again, you could also tell them about an interesting upcoming event or an online article they might like to spark some interaction. You never know which of these contacts could turn into great job leads, wise mentors, or wonderful friends!