For job seekers, growing a strong network is a top priority. If your partner is out of work, one of the best ways to help is to offer to share your network. Those who are not currently working, such as stay-at-home parents, may feel they don’t have much of a network to share. Here are some ways to uncover and share your network even if you’re not currently working outside the home.
One Woman’s Story
Lillian is a stay at home mom, busy raising three young children. Her husband Saul was laid off three months ago and is actively looking for work. Lillian has devoted herself to family for the last 9 years and felt she had little in the way of a network to share. Here is what she did to locate and share her network with her husband:
Talk with fellow stay-at-home parents Lillian had lots of interaction with other moms at play groups, sporting events and school gatherings. She began to pay attention to what the spouses of other stay-at-home parents do in the work world. It didn’t take long for her to uncover some excellent contacts. In one case, she facilitated the connection by setting up a family get together that included both men. In another, she asked a fellow mom if she could connect the two men.
Revisit the past Lillian keeps in touch with high school and college friends and a few former colleagues through Facebook. She took the time to learn what some of them were doing professionally and located several that were in jobs, companies and industries of interest to her husband. Facebook made it easy for her make the connection. With her husband’s permission, Lillian also posted a status update looking for anyone with contacts in her husband’s field. This generated several new connections for her husband.
Go Pro Again Lillian also decided to restart her professional network, not just to help her husband’s job search, but also to pave the way for herself to return to work in the future. She joined LinkedIn and began reconnecting with past colleagues. Most welcomed the renewed connection. As Lillian gets up to date on what her former colleagues are doing now, she may naturally see connections that might be valuable to her husband even though she and her husband are in different fields.
Lillian was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to find connections that might be helpful to her husband. Her network was bigger than she thought! She was careful to offer contacts but not force them on her husband. It’s up to him to decide which ones are most valuable and worth pursuing.
Recognizing Your Network
Stay-at-home parents almost always have a more valuable network than they realize. Besides other parents, Facebook friends and former colleagues, here are some other members of the stay-at-home parent’s network:
- Professionals encountered in service environments such as doctors, real estate agents, and educators
- Alumni groups
- Professional or non-profit charitable organizations
- Every day encounters
Be creative. Networking can happy while in line for groceries or at a soccer game. Once your mind is open to possibilities, it’s amazing what comes up.
Making the Connection
Sharing connections with a partner is a delicate matter. Talk to your partner and ask how he or she prefers connections be made. In some cases, getting a name and email address is enough. In others, facilitating a meeting may make sense. A light touch will help you avoid looking like a medaling spouse. Make sure your partner is on board with any efforts to help and views them as supportive, not undermining. Done correctly, networking sharing can truly boost a job search.
For more on helping the job seeker in your life, read: