At the last Nannyplooza that I attended, the conversation poured and many nannies had insightful comments about their positions, childcare, and great advice for other nannies. So I often wondered if nannies could do this in any other professional setting? As nannies, we may often miss the opportunity to let people know who we are professionally and what value we add to the World. One of the reasons that we talked about on the live session is the reaction that many nannies experience when they say that they are a nanny.
It’s the trailing “oh…” or the all too awkward drop in conversation with another professional or a mom. Yes, if you’ve been a nanny you may have experienced this at least once, and a networking situation where this could happen many times doesn’t sound great.
But hear me out: as a nanny, you ultimately are a professional and a brand all on to yourself. You find or agree to work with the family, agree to your hours, it’s all you. If you’re looking for your next position, you next nanny family, and the child you can have an impact on, connect with employers where they are! The best way to establish yourself as a professional is to go to where the other professionals are.
In the second live session for the SitterCycle.com Professional Nanny Class we talked about the potentials (and pitfalls) of networking in unfamiliar territory. Here are some of my tips for getting started if you’re networking:
If you haven’t yet, join LinkedIn.com!
A nanny recently mentioned on Facebook how valuable a source she’s found LinkedIn. I find that with so many social media sites available, I use Facebook to connect and get updates on friends, but love using LinkedIn as a source for listening to what others are saying about the industry. It’s also place it may actually be okay to connect with your mom boss or dad boss without feeling compromised. In the session, I suggested that nannies can use LinkedIn as a way to connect with other nannies and other professionals. If you are also looking for an easy place to list your certifications and get recommended by your employers, this is the perfect place. This could be the place for your digital portfolio.
Your linked in profile has a unique url that you can drop into a resume or even your online nanny profiles.
Get the right tools:
If you don’t have business cards, get them. Sites such as Vistaprint.com and Retailmenot.com offer discounts on creating cards that are just right for any nanny’s budget!
A lot of professionals still rely on old school cards so whether you’re looking for work or not, make sure to have some on hand to hand out to nannies or parents that may just need advice on finding a nanny-family match or your next positions.
Connecting with professionals from outside of the nannysphere
I strongly urge nannies to make professional connections with non nannies. If “networking” sounds artificial, then forget it and instead think about building your support community. To network outside of caregiving, find events on platforms such as meetup.com or eventbrite.com.
I suggested attending some mommy events as a way to connect with potential nanny families. Yes, I received some pushback on this, but I believe that the reward of being seen among other professionals is to be seen as a professional. Yes, you may get the occasional negative comment, but in exchange you may become the go to nanny even if you aren’t looking for a position.
And what if you get nervous about networking :
- Building meaningful relationships with people comes first, when networking meeting 2-3 people to grab coffee can be more fulfilling (and less overwhelming) than passing out all your shiny new business cards.
- Take a deep breath before you enter a room and find similarities rather than differences with any group you encounter at an event.
- Bring a nanny friend or connect with someone before the event!
Have you had success networking at non nanny events? What are your networking tips?
Helen Adeosun is the Founder and CEO of SitterCycle.com and is passionate about children and caregiving. As a former high school 9th grade English teacher, she was excited about ways to drive learning in her classroom and how to better serve her students. SitterCycle was born out of her own experience as a nanny and she hopes that sittercycle.com is a place to continuously learn and share with current and future nannies.