Many Mums I know absolutely love Facebook which can be a lifeline when they are stuck at home with the kids. On it they can share small victories, look for support, get a good giggle, and keep in contact with the people they love.
Many creative mums have also picked up on the highly visual social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram, sharing everything from their baking prowess to family shots and interior design inspiration.
However in talking to some Mums at the school my kids go to recently, I realised that LinkedIn is not a social network that many of them seem to be familiar with.
Here are a few reasons why I think if Mums should check out LinkedIn too:
1. Get yourself a job – as a mum you may have been out of the workforce for some time raising kids. If you are ready to re-enter it, you would already know the adage ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. LinkedIn is a social network for professionals, so even long before you are thinking of returning to work and without even leaving the house, you can start connecting with people who might be in a position to offer you a job in the future, or who might know someone looking. On LinkedIn you can search for people by location, industry, and check out their profile before you shoot them off a connection request. Therefore, even if you are seeking a career change from what you were doing pre-kids, you may be able to achieve that through LinkedIn.
2. Get your children a job – If you have a teenager child at home and you want to get them some part-time work for the never-ending requests for money and high ticket items, LinkedIn is also worth checking out. The legal age to start a LinkedIn profile is 18 years (personally I think it should be lowered), so if they meet this requirement, encourage them to set up their very own LinkedIn profile. They can then start to connect with potential employers – even if it is just work experience or an internship to start with.
As a mum of a child under 18, using your LinkedIn Profile, you could also look to connect to people on their behalf. However word of warning on this – as an employer I am never that impressed if the Mum or Dad does the legwork for the child. This does not display any kind of initiative and to me suggests a domineering parent and I am therefore less likely to give them a shot. I would much rather the child have the get up and go to get in touch and I am quite prepared to overlook the nerves and lack of skills if I can see a good attitude and initiative that I can harness as an employer.
3. Promote your business – If you have a home based business of your own, or are helping your partner to run one and are seeking to promote services or products to other business – LinkedIn is definitely the place you want to be. I meet a lot of people who think Facebook is the be all and end all, be Facebook is generally a good place to target other consumers while LinkedIn is generally a good place for targeting other businesses.
Apart from setting up a profile for yourself and if relevant, your partner, definitely also look to LinkedIn to set up a free company page too, and then do some training on it so you know all the functions and features to start reaping business benefits from it.
4. Get yourself a confidence boost – As a mum the focus can be so much on your kids and not yourself, it is easy to forget who you are and what you are good at. If you need a confidence boost for the day, I encourage you to go onto LinkedIn and seek recommendations from previous employers which will not only make your LinkedIn profile look great; it will also hopefully give you a spring in your step too.
5. Get your message through – Whilst email is well and good, statistics show that people are two to three times more likely to open a message sent via LinkedIn. There are a number of reasons for this, but the main one is people on LinkedIn will generally only accept connections that they are really willing to connect and engage with, thus making it very difficult for people to spam you.
If you were seeking a result that you were not getting from emailing people – for instance you may be looking for a great speaker for an event you are organising for the school, maybe you are trying to find a good doctor or specialist for your family, or some other expert on another topic, you could turn to LinkedIn. You’ll find it much easier to find people on LinkedIn than Google searches, and you’ll have a much higher chance of a direct message response.
If you have been surprised by some of the practical examples that LinkedIn can do – and believe that it might suit you – I encourage you to check it out!
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