Just a little over a year ago, Brooke Gasaway was laid off from a corporate role due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Six months pregnant with her first child she found herself with a lot to manage between the pregnancy, the pandemic and searching for a new job. Here is how she found success.
A change in focus
Brooke had spent time applying for various roles but wasn’t having great results with this method. After a heavy rejection from a company with a role she thought she was definitely going to get, Brooke decided to refocus her search. Rather than applying heavily to multiple opportunities, she began to focus more of her time and attention on networking. “I was open to connecting (and re-connecting) with as many people as I could. I spoke to as many people as possible, made personal connections and was open to seeing where that took me.”
▶️ Watch: Brooke joined The Mom Project recently for a LinkedIn Live all about networking and the Power of LinkedIn. Watch the replay.
Brooke used LinkedIn primarily for this outreach and found that she connected with many people, specifically mothers who had seen her post on her struggles with the pandemic and job searching. From there, she started to establish friendships. “One of my new connections, a friend now, posted about The Mom Project and their call to find moms who were laid off and parenting in the pandemic. This is what led to my interview with CNN, where Accenture first saw my story.”
“I had been applying to jobs that were far too junior for me. Ones that were safe and not in line with my career goals. But, after my interview on CNN, Accenture contacted me to see if I had applied to any of their roles. Ultimately, I landed an ideal job with Accenture that fit my goals, their goals and my son’s needs.”
Using The Mom Project in the Job Search
Brooke initially signed up for The Mom Project to be able to search the Marketplace for jobs, but she found that one of the biggest benefits was not having to research if a company was family-friendly. “The Mom Project allows you not to worry if a company would be a good fit for a mom. You can tick off the boxes that are important to you. I felt confident that jobs posted there had been vetted and would allow me to flourish as a parent. Before becoming a member, that was another layer of research I had to do in the job search.”
Brooke now thinks of herself as an unofficial ambassador for The Mom Project’s Community. “I share links and posts and answer questions from other moms reaching out to me. I’m an evangelist for The Mom Project these days.” As for people looking for success in networking their way to their next opportunity Brooke shares some key points:
Have a strategy of why you are networking. Then have a plan of how you are going to do it. For example, are you reaching out to your current contacts by phone or are you using LinkedIn to find new connections?
Think about who is already in your contact list that can help you in some way.
Remember networking is a long game. You might not get a job instantly so set your expectations to avoid disappointment. (And start networking for your next job now if you can.)
Think of networking to land a new job as dating before you marry. When you first reach out your goal is to establish a genuine connection. You have to have that authentic relationship before you can ask for anything.
It all comes down to trust. Someone has to trust you before they will help you. That’s why successful networking is about building a relationship and not just requesting a favor from a stranger.
Making the Most of The Mom Project
Find work with family-friendly companies and access tools for each step of your career journey. Learn how to get started. Read more
Constantly communicate your value
If you are constantly communicating your value then it is easier for someone to find a way to maximize your potential — either by sharing opportunities within their company or at another company. They will help guide you in a direction where your skills will be used. So don’t be afraid if you don’t see your perfect job posting available. It can be found or it can be created.
I used to be intimidated when people would say “share your story” or “know your personal brand” but once I started sharing “micro” stories or little pieces of my life - I felt more comfortable. I felt vulnerable, but people related to them. In order for people to trust you they have to understand your ‘why’. So if you are willing to share more about your why, people will understand the context about why you are where you are and what you have to offer. Once I realized that I felt more comfortable with this idea of your “personal brand”.
Tiffany Nieslanik is the Managing Editor at The Mom Project, a graduate student, and a homeschooling mom to 3 young kids. In her (limited) free time she’s also an avid reader, a proponent of power naps, and enjoys getting outside as often as possible.