Should students invest in business cards?

Some students do splash out on business cards – but is it worth it?

James Harper, head of legal, LexisNexis: If someone handed me a business card as a student I would probably take it and shake their hand and smile, and then probably laugh a little bit. My personal reaction is that I can see absolutely no need for them. At most law fairs employers will have sign-up sheets where you can write down your details, and when you go to an interview they will already have your contact details. Frankly, as a student I think you can spend your money on something better and that includes going out and having a beer. 

Joanne Rourke, employability programme manager, University of Law: If you’re handing somebody a business card you’re asking them to contact you – surely you should be more proactive, and ask, ’Have you got a business card that you can give me?’, if it’s become apparent that’s where you’re going with the conversation. But if you just go and hand your business card out as if to say, “Contact me, contact me” – why should I? There’s got to be a purpose behind everything you do, and I think [giving out business cards] is a bit presumptuous actually.

Veronica Roberts, graduate recruitment partner, Herbert Smith Freehills: Following up like that is a really good idea: get the business card of the person you are talking to and then follow it up with an email. But I would say one thing to students – about name badges. When we go out to events we give all the students a name badge during registration. I do talk to students sometimes when they put their name badge on and their hair is covering it or the hadbag or sometinhg. So make sure your name badge is visible because sometimes the employer will be trying to remember what your name is.

James, Joanne and Veronica were talking on Lawyer 2B’s ’How to make yourself employable’ webcast. Watch it in full here.

Business cards