Networking is a dirty word for many of us.
The idea of “getting out there” to advance your career makes us feel uncomfortable.
I’d argue that as a mom, you’re already doing a lot of networking. It is the community you’re building with parents you meet at drop-in centres, playgrounds, mom’s groups and kid’s programs that can enhance your career in the short and long term.
Connect to Spark some Entrepreneurial Spirit:
I know many moms who formed friendships during maternity leave who went on to create successful business partnerships. Oaks ‘n acorns, the studio where I run my group fitness business is an example. The co-owners met in a mommy group and decided they didn’t want the experience to end…so they created a space where parents can hang out with their kids and other adults while learning and fun! There are many women who didn’t believe they had the skills to become entrepreneurs but then went on to pursue a business opportunity while on maternity leave. Often times it was meeting other moms with kids the same age that became the catalyst for some amazing business collaborations.
If you don’t partner with another mom on your entrepreneurial venture, you will gain the support of other parents as you launch your own business. Before I started CareerFit Mom I utilized my mom’s group for market research through an online questionnaire. Their feedback was invaluable and many of them became my first clients!
Connect to Reinvent Your Career:
If you are considering making a career change, knowing the professional backgrounds of other parents is crucial. Your “mom network” is a resource to discover new opportunities and potential contacts that can help you move forward.
Be genuinely interested in what people do in their careers by asking them about their professional life. You may find yourself at a playdate where the kids are happily engaged and your conversation with the other mom leads to careers. Learn what path she took and discuss the commonalities and differences you have in your educational and professional lives. You may even discover people or experiences you have in common, which further cements your bond.
Connect to Help Others (and Yourself!) Advance a Career:
When you are linked into the career backgrounds and ambitions of the parents in your community, you can offer your own guidance, support and connections. The more you help others, the more people will remember to recommend you for a coveted job opening or provide an introduction to a hiring manager you need to meet. I call this “Career Karma” – what goes around, comes around!
So as you get to know more parents, ask about their careers and tell them about your own. You’ll develop confidence in your career story and naturally create new professional opportunities. Don’t forget to connect with your new mom friends on LinkedIn when you get home from that playdate!