Spring has sprung! That means it’s the perfect time to do a little spring cleaning of our habits. One that often needs some attention for working mom tips is networking.
Did you know that around 7 in 10 jobs are secured via personal connections?
7 in 10!
As a working mom – unless you hope to stay in your current job forever – that means that you’ve gotta get on that networking!
Networking provides you opportunities to learn about new job openings, discover the responsibilities, highs and lows of other jobs, presents opportunities for collaboration, and offers you the chance to give back.
Now I know, sometimes in the rush of working motherhood, keeping up with colleagues and networking with new contacts is the first thing to go. I want to caution against doing that for too long, though. It is critical for your career that you keep up your networks.
Here are five ways you can do that as a busy professional:
Quick coffee/lunch with co-workers
I live in DC where happy hours are huge for networking. After becoming parents, one of the things both moms and dads feel like they miss out on, are these informal opportunities to connect with colleagues.
An alternative is coffee or lunch that can be done during the workday. Research has shown that breaks during the day boost productivity. Before protesting about work to do, think about the boost to your brain and the strengthened connections you’ll have.
You can use these quick times to catch up on office events and people’s personal lives. You can also learn about new jobs and opportunities.
Another option is to say yes to requests for informational interviews or mentoring conversations from people who are not as far along in their careers as you. This gives you the opportunity to give back and build a reputation as someone who helps others.
If one-on-one is more your speed, feel free. Or, if you’d feel more comfortable with a few people, then invite a group.
Update email to former colleague
This email could be to a peer or former boss who knows you as a working mom. You want to share some life highlights and see how they’re doing. If you’ve never expressed thanks for the role they played in your life, this can be a great opportunity for that.
Check-in with a former boss (or someone who you might need as a reference someday)
Many people who are successful in their careers talk about the importance of mentors and senior-level supporters in their lives. You want to try and identify 2-3 of these people for yourself and keep in touch with them. They might be inside your organization or at another organization.
Depending on your industry, there may be workshops or conferences that take place during the day. These will allow you opportunities to expand your network. Take advantage of these when possible! They can help you keep your industry knowledge up to date, show your expertise, reconnect with old colleagues, and meet new ones.
Update Resume, LinkedIn Profile and Connections
It’s good to update your resume and LinkedIn profile with your recent responsibilities, volunteer work, and accomplishments at least annually. After updating your LinkedIn, take a few minutes to connect with a few new people. Make sure to congratulate your colleagues on exciting developments in their lives.
During the in-person options, be sure to remember and share your recent accomplishments and future ambitions.
When with people in your current organization, be sure to affirm your commitment to working and your career aspirations, as sadly, people sometimes doubt working moms’ dedication to their work solely because they are mothers. Take the opportunity to let people know you are committed to your work and ready to take on new challenges and interesting projects.
Some of these things can be done in just 15 – 30 minutes!
And the benefit of networking when you don’t need anything is that you’ll have people to reach out to when you are looking for a new opportunity.
Which of these would you like to try?