August 27, 2019

{Guest Post} Tips for Moms Re-Entering the Workforce

Get Your Mojo Back: 9 Networking Tips for Moms Re-Entering the Workforce

Re-entering the workforce after you have kids is tough, but it’s not impossible—and savvy networking can open up tons of opportunities that you might not have otherwise, including family-friendly jobs with flexible schedules. If you’re feeling a bit rusty, follow these nine tips to get your networking mojo back as you prepare to become a working mom:
Connect with other working parents.
Working while raising kids (especially young children) is a huge commitment, one that other parents—particularly moms—will understand. Talking with other working parents will instantly give you common ground, making it easier to forge a connection. Not only will they be great contacts for you to know, they might also be able to introduce you to other working parents who are in a similar situation. Plus, they probably have tried-and-true advice on how to work while raising a family since they’re doing it themselves.

Use LinkedIn to your advantage.
The first step is to update your LinkedIn (and your personal website, if you have one) to reflect your most current professional accomplishments. Once that’s done, you can start using LinkedIn to reach out to your existing contacts, explaining that you’re looking to get back into the workforce and would love to catch up with them. You can also use LinkedIn to connect with people whom you haven’t met yet, but would like to know. Just make sure to send a note along with your connect request, explaining why you wanted to reach out.

Join professional organizations.
Professional organizations give you immediate access to professionals you have something in common with, whether it’s your gender, the city you live in or the industry you work for. Do some research to see what options are available in your city. The local Chamber of Commerce usually hosts several professional affinity groups, but there are likely other professional organizations out there as well. You might also want to check or similar websites to see if there are any gatherings of working moms in your area.
Attend conferences and other events.
Professional organizations aren’t the only way to meet new people. Look out for conferences, trade shows, workshops, networking happy hours and other events where you can mix and mingle with potential new contacts. Whether or not “networking” is officially in the title, many people attend these events with the express purpose of meeting new contacts. If you’re nervous about attending, see if one of your fellow working mom friends is willing to go with you and keep you company (just make sure you talk to people besides each other at the event!). Don’t forget to bring business cards to hand out to the new people you meet, and you might also want to carry a portfolio with copies of your resume, just in case.

Consider heading back to class.
Learning isn’t just for college students. Attending a class or workshop tailored to professionals is a great way to meet others in your field and continue your studies. Many universities and professional organizations offer workshops that span just a few days and cover a specific topic in depth, such as leading teams or working with millennials. If you want something a little more substantial, you can also look into certifications or even more involved degrees such as an Executive MBA program, which will introduce you to other professionals as well as jumpstart your old career (or help you switch into a new one).

Reach back out to old contacts.
It’s a lot easier to reconnect with people you already know than to rebuild your network from scratch. Even if it’s been a while, don’t be afraid to call or email old contacts from your previous job, or even friends from college. You’ll get a much better response rate if you reach out to someone you already know, as opposed to cold emailing a stranger, so rifle through your mental Rolodex to figure out who you know and who you’d like to re-establish a relationship with.
Volunteer at school.
Yep, that’s right. Your kid’s school could be a potential networking opportunity, especially if a lot of other working parents send their kids to the same school. Signing up to help with a committee or to host a fundraising event will give you a chance to spend quality time with other parents and get to know what they do for a living. Even if it doesn’t lead to a job offer or a work BFF relationship, you’ll get to learn from their experiences and earn brownie points for getting involved at the school.

Work with your partner on scheduling.
Many networking events are at night, which can make it tough for parents who need to put little ones to bed. If you have a partner, clearly communicate with them on the scheduling to figure out a compromise that works for both of you. Maybe you can handle bed time on Mondays and Wednesdays, but they’ll cover Tuesdays and Thursdays, leaving you free to attend professional events on those nights. If you can afford it, you might also want to look into hiring a babysitter if both you and your partner are busy on the same night.

Maximize work hours.
If you’re already working, it’s important to keep networking since you never know when you might want to pursue a new opportunity. But if you have kids at home, it can be tough to be away from the house even longer than normal business hours. Rather than trying to accommodate dinner meetings and late-night events, see if you can schedule lunch or even breakfast meetings. That way, you can fit in your networking and still make it home in time to put the kids to bed.

Networking as a new mom won’t just help get you a job, it will also help you create a support network of fellow professional parents who know exactly what you’re going through. Follow these nine strategies to start building your networking again as a working mom.

Thank you Lee Becknell, Senior Digital Marketing Manager from Pinnacle Promotions for this very informative guest post. If you missed her previous post click here:  Professional Networking Advice for Veterans

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