In Working World the book, Sherry writes, “I cannot emphasize enough the value of a carefully annotated record of contacts.” Sherry always encourages job seekers (encourages everyone, in fact) to make an effort not just to collect business cards, but also to note, whether on the back of the card in your old-school Rolodex or in your Outlook contacts list, where and how you met the person and something you talked about with that person, or perhaps an interesting fact you learned about them. Then, when it comes time to call on that person again in the future, you’re armed with information much more powerful than simply, “Uhh, we met once.” Those personal details can go a long way.
This point of Sherry’s was brilliantly illustrated in a subplot of last night’s episode of The Office (the full episode for free on NBC.com). I won’t give away too much if you haven’t already seen it, but in a feud between Michael (at his newly created Michael Scott Paper Company) and his protege Dwight (still at Dunder-Mifflin), Michael uses his carefully annotated and color-coded Rolodex to great effect in trying to pilfer clients from Dwight, prompting Ryan, the young former intern and former corporate hotshot, now washed up with bleached haired, to remark:
Look at that old dude and his Rolodex go.
Hilarious, but with a great point: no matter what level of technology you’re comfortable with (Pam, Michael’s former assistant, follows up to Ryan’s comment with this gem: “I spent a month putting that Rolodex on his Blackberry, which he now uses as a nightlight.”), making notes about the business cards you collect will greatly facilitate using them effectively in the future.