Career

Why Business Cards are a Useless Thing of the Past (And 5 Things You Can Do Instead)

Cred: smarterer.com

Cred: smarterer.com

What I handed him looked like it had been places.

And it had. The 3×2 business card was glossed over with a raw shade of plum lipstick and defied the law of gravity by hanging on to the edge of his middle finger, thanks to the clump of gum that was clinging on to the back of the card.

The process of even finding the business card in the trenches of my purse took longer than an off-Broadway rendition of Hamlet. I had to get to the bottom. I pulled out a sock, followed by a half-eaten PBJ sandwich, followed by a curling iron all before Wuthering Heights and a yo-yo laughed their way to the tiled floor.

Uhh—just friend me—on Facebook, he said as he began to pull away from me. From the aftermath of experiencing a bundle of tampons explode out of my bag and land on his suede loafers.

Wow, you’re a disaster, he didn’t say. But I could tell by the swooshing of his eyebrows and his raised upper lip that he wanted to. He wanted to so badly.

Instead, he said, I’ll Google you, okay?  But it wasn’t okay. How many times do you get a chance to shake the hand of someone extraordinary in your career field? I’ve memorized this guy’s LinkedIn page, could recite 4 of his most recent tweets, and knew what clubs he was in at USC. This was my time to impress him, to hopefully one day work for him, to hand him one of the business cards that I spent $45 printing.  But I couldn’t even find them.

When I did, when I finally found a stack, I watched him toss the card in his pocket. The same pockets that would later dance around inside of a warm washing machine and turn my contact information into mush. Into the stuff that clings on to dark pants and is ultimately peeled off with a lint roller.

Business cards are a thing of the past. They can’t keep up with our conversations, our modes of contact, or our constantly changing job titles.

Here’s 5 things you should do instead:

1. Save your money.

You can get 250 business cards on Vistaprint.com for about $19.99. For that same price, you can buy a domain name on GoDaddy.com and host your own website. You’ll even have money left over to buy yourself a slice of pizza to eat as you upload your resume, post your cover letter, and add your portfolio to the site you’ll create for yourself. You don’t need to know HTML or write code to put this together. It can all be done with a couple of clicks and quick decisions using a WordPress template.

2. Do something that’s free.

If you don’t have the spare change, the time, or the patience to make a website, there’s still options. You can put up all your contact information and any online links to social media accounts or work that you’ve done on an About.me page. You can customize it in minutes and make it go live in seconds. Here’s my page: http://about.me/jenglantz

3. Keep your phone handy.

You probably bring your phone with you everywhere, even the bathroom. So, if you’re at a networking event or meet someone rad on the subway, pull out your phone and save their contact information there. That way, you’ll always have their digits or their email handy and can send them a virtual business card—aka your new personalized webpage.

4. Carry some old fashion pen and paper with you.

Girls, your purses carry everything else. And guys, if you can’t fit a mini note pad and a pen in your pocket, most places you go to will have something you can borrow. Just make sure you don’t leave a conversation or a meeting without their information. If they just take yours, you may never hear from them again.

5. Throw away your old business cards.

I’ve had 4 very different jobs since graduating from college three years ago (I’ve worked as a professional sorority girl, a magazine editor, a PR associate, and as a copywriter).

It’s happened to me before, where I was at job 3 or 4, and so eager to give someone a business card that I accidently pulled out an oldie from my wallet—with the wrong email address, wrong job title, and followed by an awkward story of why I no longer work there,

Whipping out a business card from the past feels the same as when you mistakenly bring up an ex-bf on a first date. Make sure you rid them of your wallet and your pockets.

By Jen Glantz

Jen Glantz is the author of All My Friends Are Engaged, a book of dating disaster stories. She’s the heart behind the Web site The Things I Learned From and the biggest supporter of the NYC pizza industry. She’d love you to say hello: @Tthingsilearned or thethingslearned@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s