Written by Christina Beningfield, English, Class of 2018
I have a box of business cards sitting in my closet. I was in a really inspired mood after reading Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to do Before You Join the Real World by Lindsey Pollak; in the section called “Get Carded,” (ah, so clever!) it was made very clear that a student with cards shows “maturity, foresight, and an eagerness to have the appropriate tools for the working world.” I was fired up. I was ready. I hopped on my computer and probably through divine intervention, found a sale on Vistaprint.com, 500 cards for 16 dollars. I totally had 16 dollars. I bought 500 immediately and waited impatiently for them to arrive.
To tell you the truth, they’re kind of bland really. White stock paper with my four lines of information: name, college and graduation year, number, email. And now I have 500 of them.
With the initial excitement about “getting carded” completely over, my box of business cards sits gathering dust. I’m not even sure what I was expecting. Was my name going to suddenly appear different, more sophisticated, printed on fancy paper? If I carried a few with me, would I miraculously gain confidence in my abilities as a potential employee? You can probably guess where I need to be going with my new business cards… Networking events.
Ok, pause. We hear it all the time. Start networking, attend events, make connections on LinkedIn… I’m already overwhelmed! It can be so difficult to take that step and start establishing yourself outside of our comfortable, albeit stressful, college bubble. For those ambitious undergrads who aren’t 21, cocktail hour events obviously aren’t an option. Coffee meetups? Where do we find those?
Found in the Mac’s List guide, Land your Dream Job in Portland, there is a lovely list of groups that everyone in any professional field can attend to further their network in the Portland area.
Just to name a few:
Environment: Green Drinks Portland
Nonprofit: The Nonprofit Association of Oregon
Entrepreneurial: Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, Portland Business Alliance Emerging Professionals of Portland (EPOP), Schmooze PDX
Diversity Recognition: Say Hey!
Marketing: SEMpdx Search Marketing, Society for Marketing Professional Services of Oregon
Public Relations: PRSA
Public Speaking: Portland Toastmasters
Check these out, do your own Google search, just get out there. Maybe start with only 100 business cards… just in case.