18 years of business cards

Jakob le Fevre, Managing Director, MARPRO

Sometimes people ask me, what it takes to become a recruiter. Well, it does require a multitude of various skills, Sales and Marketing, HR and IT just to name a few.

But what it really requires, is experience and connections. That´s why my recruitment company MARPRO is focused on one single business, the maritime. I started in this business when I was 16 years old and have been involved in many projects and companies, both ashore and at sea for more than 30 years (I am 47 years old now).

The picture shows my personal archive of business cards. Before LinkedIn that archive was nicely organized in folders, but with LinkedIn, where people update the profiles, the cards became less important – yes, some means that they will become completely unnecessary when smart phones are fully developed. Why share a paper card when you can just swap information in an app.? Well, personally, I like the feel and touch of an old school business card. I can´t even imagine doing business in Asia without it. When that is said, it is true that most of these cards are outdated, and information is not any longer relevant. So, why do I keep them? Maybe, just to take this picture as a proof that I have been quite active over the years – but I have to admit, that going through them also bring back a lot of great memories. 

Each stack represents approximately 100 business cards. There are 30 stacks – so 3.000 in total. I have collected business cards since 2001. Before that, I was "just" a sailor and sailors did not have business cards back then. Each year represent approximately 221 work days. That means that I have collected approximately 167 business cards per year – or 3,75 per week – for 18 years.

The cards represent real meetings, with real people. Some just 5-10 talk on an exhibition, but still, handshake and a conversation in real life. Nowadays, most people, including me, are increasing the number of connections on LinkedIn every day. That is useful for a recruiter – but I do think it is still important to get out of the office, travel, and expand the real-life network with a human to human interface. 

What do you think? Do you still use business cards? How do you use them? Do you throw them in the bin when information is stored in your CRM system? Or are you just a nostalgic person like me, storing them for years?

About the author:
MARPRO Search & Selection is owned by Jakob le Fevre. Jakob is educated as Master Mariner with experience from a variety of merchant and navy ships. He went ashore in 2001 to pursue a shore-based career. From 2001 to 2010 he worked for suppliers in the maritime business. In 2010 he went into the online business with a part-ownership of JOB2SEA. In JOB2SEA he started working with Search & Selection.
In 2013 he decided to start his own company and founded MARPRO. From 2014 - 2016 Jakob was part owner and founder of the Danish Maritime Fair. In 2017 he decided to focus 100% on the recruitment business. 
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