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10 Ways To Not Suck At Networking

Yes, ask the woman you want to be in five or 10 years to coffee! But don't be the worst.

1. Avoid copy-pasting the same generic email to people you admire/want a job from. 
Even if you are sending an "I'm 20 and freaked out and please help me!!" email, make it an "I'm 20 and freaked out and please help me and by the way I really admire your career because XYZ!!" email.

2. Don't brownnose, though. 
Kissing ass never helped anybody outside the bedroom.

3. Refrain from ~*~*sELLiNg yOuRsELf~*~* with all flash and zero substance.
Telling someone repeatedly how great you are and how much you deserve a job from them without any clear facts, accolades, or anecdotes to back it up makes you look like the Emperor With No Talent.

4. Follow up with a thank-you and a sample of your work attached, if applicable. 
If I had a dime for every girl who contacted me about writing for Cosmo and didn't send a piece of her writing for me to look at, I would be the President of Dimes.

5. Don't hit the open bar so much as gently tap it. 
This is not the appropriate environment to overdo it with the Jose Cuervo Especial on top of the bar.

6. Let her talk! Don't try to finish her sentences! 
"Eileen Fisher is so—" "DRAPEY! I KNOW! OH MY GOD, JINX, and by the way can I have a job?"

7. Don't try to bond over negativity. 
If you creeped on her LinkedIn and found that she worked under the same boss as you, shitting on said boss is the network version of Russian Roulette. Maybe she hated her too. Or maybe she loved her. Or maybe she is her. Besides, backtalk and cattiness is bad karma.

8. If she's talking to someone else, give her space. 
Avoid hovering nearby and staring at her like a creepy spacecraft from Planet Awkward.

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9. If she's a girl you knew years ago and lost touch with, be frank and professional about what you're emailing her for. 
It's super obvious when someone from ninth-grade Spanish class is like, "Hey! OMG, it's been sooo long! We should hang out! Remember those inside jokes we used to have? I do! Haha. Oh, and also have you heard of any open jobs in your office?"

10. Establish yourself as your own person—don't say you're just like her. 
Because then, (1) it sounds like you're insinuating you can do her job and generally want to Single White Female her and (2) they already have a her. Tell her why they need a you.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.