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Networking Guide Tips
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 Located on this page are tips to encourage strategic networking.

 Did you know that all EPFP Fellows and alumni have access to the entire EPFP Directory? This houses the contact information for more than 8,500 alumni in all 50 states and more than 300 current Fellows.

As a member of the EPFP community and since Networking is one of the three pillars of EPFP, you're encouraged to use the network to connect with other EPFP Fellows and alumni in your field or state, or to reconnect with members of your cohort. The directory can be used for more than just job searching--you can reach out to folks to collaborate on projects, get to know people in a new area, or ask for expertise or advice on a topic you're interested in. You can think of EPFP as another alma mater; far more often than not, EPFP alumni are excited to meet others who have shared in the same experience and have a passion for education.

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Coffee Talk Tips

An email is only the first step! Invite a fellow member of the EPFP network to coffee to chat about each other's work and interests. This person could be:

  • The EPFP Fellow or alum you reached out to for the November Challenge
  • Another EPFP Fellow or alum with whom you'd like to connect
  • Fellows: A member of your cohort you'd like to get to know better
  • Alumni: A member of your cohort with whom you'd like to reconnect

 Here are some tips for how to make your coffee "date" beneficial for both of you:

  • Work around their schedule. Inviting someone to coffee is another thing to add on both of your busy calendars. Make it easy for them to say yes by offering to meet up before work and at a coffee shop near their office. Also aim to keep your meeting to 30 minutes or less.
  • Don't be late. Everyone's time is scarce, especially during the work week and holiday season, so it's important to be respectful of each other's limited time.
  • Come with a specific ask in mind. Are you looking for a job at their organization? Do you want to learn more about the doctorate program they completed? Even if it's as simple as wanting to know more about what their organization does, be sure to include the ask in your invitation and mention it at the beginning of your meeting.
  • Bring a business card. Make it easy for them to get back in touch with you or pass along your information to a colleague.
  • Say thank you and follow up. It might sound like a no-brainer, but be sure to thank them for taking the time to meet up with you. Send them a brief email that same day to say thank you and reference something you talked about during your coffee date. If you offered to connect them with a colleague, this is the best time to do so. If they said they would introduce you to someone or send you information 

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Follow Up on Following Up

New year, new faces and new conferences and networking events (like WPS!). When you meet someone new at an event, exchange business cards and follow up with them with them by email or on LinkedIn within one week. Be sure to reference something specific from your conversation, whether it was a big work project or your Superbowl predictions--to help trigger their memory. Chances are, everyone you interact with at a conference is chatting with a number of other people, too!

If you're feeling really ambitious and eager to step up your networking game, follow entrepreneur Ivan Misner's simple 24/7/30 system:

  • When you meet someone new, drop them a note--either handwritten or an email--within 24 hours
  • Connect with them on social media--particularly LinkedIn and Twitter--within 7 days
  • In the next 30 days, schedule an in-person meeting with them (if you live in the same area) or a phone conversation (if you're farther apart)

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The More the Merrier

Networking success is twofold. It's important to be proactive and reach out or "cold call" others to continue to build your professional network, but many of the connections you already have are the key to growing your network. It is often the colleagues, former co-workers, friends, and acquaintances who we already know that help us find and reach the right people.

Perhaps you've had a supervisor put you in touch with their former classmate who is researching the same topic you need to include in your professional development plan. Or maybe an old co-worker from your first job introduces you to a manager at your dream organization on LinkedIn or via email so you can ask them about an open position. That personal touch--which can be as simple as a quick email or as generous as a joint breakfast meeting--can make all the difference when making your request or note stand out.

Try introducing a colleague to someone in the EPFP network who is in the same field or who might be interested in collaborating on a joint project. This can be another Fellow in your cohort, someone you met at a regional event, or an alum you've connected with during previous monthly challenges.

Need some help on how to best introduce people via email? Follow these 11 tips from Auren Hoffman, CEO of data connectivity company LiveRamp:

  • Take the time to prepare your message.
  • Ask for permission from both parties to share each other's information.
  • Encourage quick follow up.
  • Take the time of each person into account when you suggest they connect via phone or over lunch.
  • Clearly give the location of each person so they can better plan how to follow up.
  • Be sure to give their first and last name and a brief bio of the person you're introducing.
  • Mention if they have met before, even if it may have only been a brief exchange.
  • Include all necessary parties, such as assistants.
  • Only forward emails that make the originator look good.
  • Make the intentions of your introduction clear.
  • Keep the introduction concise.

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