Networking 101 For Women Restarting Careers
Networking is an activity that few people love, but the benefits can be so huge that I want you to give it a try. For women restarting their careers, networking can be one of the most important components of your job search. So whether you love it or you hate it, let’s give it a try! I’ll show you how. Doing more networking (aka talking to people) is one of the big lessons learned from successful career restarters.
“Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver, the other gold”
If I remember correctly, that was a song we learned in Girl Scouts way back when. I’m sure at the time I didn’t realize what great advice this really is! Many people think about networking as meeting new people, and it definitely is that. But it can also be keeping in touch with the people you already know.
Nurture Your Current Network
When was the last time you touched base with the people you consider part of your network? Conventional job search advice will tell you to be constantly expanding your network – and I don’t disagree with this – but if it’s that valuable to be developing new connections, how much more valuable might it be to nurture the ones you already have?
Think about it: The people who already know you are going to be the most likely to think of you when they hear of a job opening, provide an enthusiastic referral for a job at their company, or make an introduction for you to someone they know.
Strengthen Your Network by Deepening Existing Relationships
Instead of growing your network this week, take some time to deepen your connections with people you already know. These can be your friends, neighbors, extended family, or previous colleagues. Have you told them that you’re looking for a job? If not, today is a great day to give them a call or drop them a friendly email to catch up on their lives and fill them in on yours.
This is Valuable For Women Restarting Careers Because…
I see a few distinct advantages to focusing your networking efforts on people you already know:
- Networking with friendly faces that you already know can be a real confidence booster. Once you send a few emails or have a few phone calls with friends/family/former colleagues, you’ll feel ready to grow your efforts and reach out to people you may not know as well.
- You’re going to get a good response rate if you send 5 emails to people you know inviting them to a coffee or phone call. This will energize your job search efforts! You are unlikely to experience as high a response rate when reaching out to people you don’t know, so enjoy this and channel that positive energy into doing some of the more difficult work of job search.
- People who know you well may be able to give you some good ideas about companies or positions that will be a good fit for your skill set. Your job search is going to benefit from creative ideas and new ways to approach things, so tap into this network of close friends to generate some fresh thinking.
Get Started Now On Your Networking Plan
Hopefully I’ve convinced you that your week is going to be well-spent by re-activating your current network.
Here’s how to get started:
- Make a list of 5 people you already know that you’d like to speak with.
- Send an email / text / or make a phone call to invite them to coffee or just to chat over the phone or Zoom to catch up.
- Approach each conversation with a clear goal in mind: Maybe one friend works at a company you’re interested in and you’d like to learn more about their hiring process, while another former colleague made a career pivot and you’re interested to find out how she pulled that off. If you know what you’re hoping to get out of each conversation, you’re more likely to be productive.
My last 3 pieces of advice for networking your way back to work:
- Don’t forget to ask your friends if there’s anything you can do for them. Remember, this is a give-and-take, so don’t forget to be a giver!
- And finally, send a thank you note after your call. People will do anything for someone who is appreciative of their time and effort!
- Check out the Back to Business Ultimate Guide To Returning To Work After a Career Break for more tips
Job Search Tips for Moms Returning to Work
Calling all Moms doing a job search to return to work after a career break! This is an exciting life change for you and Back to Business is here to guide you through it.
Here is a quick list of our job search tips for Moms returning to work:
Looking for a job is your job now. Schedule time to do this work and stick to the schedule.
Spend some time up front thinking about what you want to do. You don’t have to narrow it down to one option – recognize that there are multiple possibilities that could work for you and be flexible enough to change course as you learn more about yourself and the job market throughout your job search. My favorite book on this subject: Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.
Invest in yourself. A few things worth spending money on as you restart your career are a killer resume, a course to update your skills, and professional coaching to ensure you know how to conduct a job search in 2023.
Set goals for yourself and write them down: Reach out to 3 new people each day, schedule 3 informational interviews each week, find 3 interesting new companies per day. Reward yourself with a healthy treat for meeting your goals.
Realize that this can take longer than you’d like. Persevere. Learn from your mistakes – because you will make some. Pick yourself up and keep going, even when it gets frustrating.
Set up informational interviews. You will learn a lot and grow your network by doing informational interviews. (And you thought these were just for kids!) Buying someone a cup of coffee and learning from them is a highly productive way to spend job-searching time. I’ve got a guide to mastering this process.
Have a supportive network as you transition back to the paid workforce. Looking for a job is hard work and it can be frustrating. You will need a tribe to help you get through it. Plan to meet regularly with them – coffee every Friday morning, for example. Keep each other accountable and encourage each other.
Get out from behind your computer! You will not find a job from the comfort of your home – this I promise you. You must get out and talk to people if you want a job. This can be uncomfortable at first, but it gets easier and you may even enjoy it as you get better at it.
Your job will come from your network, not from a job posting you saw on the internet. Start building your network today and you will reap the benefits of being a connected person for the rest of your career.
Networking is all about building relationships with people – it is a give and take. You may not realize it, but you’ve been networking your whole life and you already know how to do it. Be interesting and interested in other people and always ask what you can do for them. Here’s how.
Don’t let the “what if’s” keep you from pursuing a job you want. When Mom returns to work, the entire family has to adjust – and they will. “What if I can’t pick up at school every day?” and “What if I can’t make dinner every night?” are valid concerns, but don’t hold back on getting a job you’d like because there’s a chance that others in your house will be inconvenienced. You can outsource almost anything and planning ahead will solve a lot of these dilemmas.
Consider a Returnship. Returnships are jobs specifically created to welcome people back to the workforce after taking a career break. Check out my blog on Returnships to learn more.
Get Back to Business! Back to Business holds Meet-ups and workshops in the Raleigh, NC area and offers useful information and resources in blogs and through ebooks in order to help women returning to work. Visit us at www.backtobusinessconference.com.
How Do Moms Returning To Work Get Started?
Let’s Get Started!
I get this question a lot from moms who want to return to work after a career break. Some of them are unsure of how to get started because they’re planning to return to a career that’s different from the one they left. Some just don’t know yet what kind of work they want to do. Others know, but need a big dose of encouragement before taking the first step.
If encouragement is what you need, you’re not alone. This is a big transition we’re talking about and you’re going to need a healthy dose of self-confidence to pull this off. But don’t worry, because you’ve got that. You may need to remind yourself occasionally, but you’ve got it and I believe in you. So, let’s get started.
Moms, Make a Plan To Return To Work
To get started, we’re going to make a plan. And write it down.
I’ve already started this for you – it’s called the Back to Business Return to Work Checklist.
It’s long, I know. So let me give you just one thing to work on today: Think about what you want to do for work.
Think big. Don’t limit yourself to traditional occupations. The world is a big place and people make a living doing all kinds of things.
Moms Returning To Work Should Think Really Big!
And after you think about each of these things, take the time to write them down. Do it. The difference between thinking about something and writing it down is often the difference between getting something done or not getting it done. Let’s get this done!
Here are some things to consider (and then write down):
- What are the accomplishments that make you most proud when you look back on your life? Don’t limit yourself to accomplishments made while at work. I know you’ve accomplished a lot, so give yourself credit for everything you’ve done. This is no time to be modest. You’re awesome and we all know it. Now, what are your biggest accomplishments?
- What skills and strengths do you possess that could be clues to finding work in a field that you will enjoy? Put another way – where are your natural talents? Think seriously about what these are and let’s find a way to get you using these on a regular basis in a job you’ll love. Ask a friend if you need help answering this. Others often see things in us that we don’t recognize in ourselves.
- Think about your motivation for returning to work. Is it financial? Do you miss using your adult brain and interacting with people your own age? Do you have time on your hands now that your kids are getting older that you want to do something meaningful with? Understanding your motivation will help you determine if that job offer that comes your way is the right one for you.
- And finally, let go of the idea that you have to be pursuing your passion. Grab hold instead of the idea that you will find what you love, get good at it, and develop a passion through hard work and positive feedback. It can be paralyzing to think that you have to know what your passion is before you can get started looking for a job. I think the passion part kicks in once you’ve found the right thing and realize that you’re really good at it – not before you start looking.
Learn From Other Moms Who Have Returned To Work
You are not the first person to make this transition back to work after a career break. Here’s an article that shares lessons from other moms who have returned to work.
So let’s get started on our plan to return to work….You’ll find more tips here