How to build a powerful network to help land your ideal nanny job
You wouldn’t think of taking a child to the playground without packing up a diaper bag or lunch box containing the basic essentials, would you? Imagine waiting until your charge was hungry or needed a diaper change and then running around the playground in a mad scramble to find someone with a spare bottle of milk or extra diaper to share. The same principle goes for establishing a nanny network for career opportunities. Instead of waiting until you need a job, prepare ahead of time.
One of the best investments you can make in yourself as a professional nanny is building your network now so it’s ready and waiting to be put to good use when you need it.
“Developing new relationships and strengthening existing ones allows you to build your network, which in turn increases your confidence, raises your profile and provides you with personal and professional support when you need it,” says Alene Mathurin, founder of My Nanny Circle, an online platform that supports and informs nannies.
Unlike having a job in an office with a lot of coworkers around, working as a nanny can be isolating, and it may take more effort to build up a strong network of your professional peers. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools you can use to build your nanny network. Here’s how to get started.
Leverage online resources
In today’s world, a few strokes of a keyboard can lead to a virtual goldmine of employment and relationship opportunities. From LinkedIn and Facebook to Quora and local online parenting and caregiver forums, there are dozens of platforms today designed to support communities and connections. Browse the discussions, chime in and see where the conversations take you.
1. Job Sites
You should absolutely set up or update your professional profile on job sites, including caregiver-specific and nanny-finding sites. This allows prospective clients to see your skills, experience and qualifications and allows them to reach out to you directly should they like what they see. However, creating your profile is just the first step. It’s even more important to engage and make connections with other members of the site.
Pro tip: Create a LinkedIn profile and once it’s complete, make connection requests with people you know to build up your network. From there, join a few professional LinkedIn groups, such as the Nanny Care Network. But before diving in, make sure to observe how group members communicate and the type of content they post. Once you have an understanding of how the group operates, begin to ask questions, engage with the community or post answers to member queries.
2. Parenting groups
A quick Google search for “(your city) parenting groups” can lead you to sites full of parents and caregivers. Parents often rely on these neighborhood groups to post classified ads seeking caregivers.
Pro tip: Some of these groups are for parents only, so Noelene John, a nanny of 29 years in New York, recommends asking past employers to post in parenting groups on your behalf, advertising your availability.
“Parents in the market for a nanny always like getting recommendations from other parents,” says John. “It’s a good first step. If they like what they hear, then they reach out to me directly. That’s how I get most of my work.”
3. Social media
Social platforms can be leveraged to build and engage your network, as well as to find job opportunities when the need arises.
Facebook, in particular, is a great place to network. Whenever you are available to take on a new nanny job, post to let family and friends know and ask them to share with their friends. This could lead to some meaningful connections for future work. Also be sure to search for nanny-related Facebook groups like Nanny Professional Development Opportunities and Nanny Care Tribe to network and learn about upcoming trainings, webinars and events, online and in person.
Pro tip: Be sure your Facebook profile states you’re a nanny, as many nanny groups only grant access if it’s evident that the request is coming from a professional nanny.
4. Professional nanny groups
Online communities like My Nanny Circle and the Care.com Community are safe places for nannies to connect with and support each other. Job listings are often available, along with discussion boards and even local meetups.
“There are no governing bodies for nannies, so many of us work in isolation,” says Mathurin. “It is imperative we as nannies have a community where we are represented and realize we are part of something bigger. Nannies do their best work when they feel valued and when they are working for the greater good.”
Pro tip: Get involved in the online community by asking where people are originally from, as well as what areas they work in. It’s a great way to get a conversation started and find other nannies in your area.
Meet other nannies face-to-face
While it may be easy to connect online, there’s nothing that can replace meeting in real life. It’s easier to gauge our connection and comfort level with a person via face-to-face interaction. In fact, Mathurin says she still ventures out to parks and playgrounds to meet nannies and talk in person.
“I’ve learned to make sure to get out into the neighborhood and hit the playgrounds, parks and building playrooms to meet other nannies in the area,” John says.
Here are some ways you can meet up with parents and other nannies in real life to build your network.
1. Public meeting spaces
Treat public places as prime networking opportunities. Be sure to introduce yourself to parents and other nannies and get involved in any activities or playdates. Try the following places:
Parks and playgrounds
School pickup and dropoff
Nanny training classes or certification programs
Pro tip: Just met a nanny at the park and want to connect for a future playdate? Add her as a contact on a messaging app like WhatsApp. You can even form a group chat with your nanny contacts to arrange playdates and support each other through work challenges.
Get involved in local caregiver meetups — or start one of your own. You can find or plan meetups via word of mouth or group texts with other nannies. Or check out Meetup, which allows you to find or create in-person meetups on a variety of topics, including nanny-only meetups. Regular in-person meetups can help maintain ongoing relationships and be a consistent source of fun!
Pro tip: During one job she had, John says, the nannies in the building scheduled monthly birthday celebrations in the communal playroom for nannies and their charges.
Scheduling playdates with other nannies and their charges can help build strong relationships and keep the kids entertained.
“It’s good for the nanny, and it’s good for the child — and parents appreciate that I’m finding playmates for their kids. Everybody wins!” says John. “It’s a great way for children to meet other kids, and it’s a great way for nannies to meet other nannies and parents. The more people you meet and get to know, the bigger your network becomes and the more support and connections you have.”
Pro tip: In addition to meeting people on your own, John suggests asking your employer to connect you with local friends with children the same age so you can arrange playdates.
Network through nanny agencies
Registering for work through a nanny agency is another option for caregivers to connect with other caregivers.
“Agencies can be instrumental in helping build a community,” says Mathurin.
She says many nanny agencies offer support groups, training and certification classes and social meetups — all of which are great opportunities to meet other nannies.
You can also browse the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies or the International Nanny Association for lists of agencies in your local area. Some agencies require nannies to sign contracts with them, and most do come at a cost, so it’s important to do your research before joining one.
Pro tip: Once you’re placed with a family, ask your agency if it can connect you with any other nannies it has placed in the area — leading you back to making those face-to-face connections that will help you thrive as a nanny.