One of the hardest things I have found as a working Mom is finding the time to keep up with my professional network, let alone my friends. When I am at work, I’m working – there’s no time for power lunches. After work, I really want to be with my kiddo. The other days, I’m tired!

But keeping up those social AND professional networks is so key and can make a big difference when you’re on the job hunt or when starting your own business. Turns out that men do a better job of referring each other and asking for help from their networks.

So what to do other than drink a lot of coffee and burn the midnight oil?! Some words of wisdom, tips and encouragement from a recent round-up of stories on this topic:

  1. Understand the big picture: There’s a lot of discussion about female representation in tech – the number of female start-up CEOs, the number of women in tech, and so on. At South by Southwest this year, there are a slew of women-related panels. In her post on Forbes, Meghan Casserly raises the point, does this type of focus underserve the effort? One of her sources says no, and offers a great quote:“But my theory is that if we continue to grow this strong network of women, well then, a rising tide brings up all boats.” – Tara Hunt, CEO of BuyosphereHere, here! Read the full post: Let’s Hear It For The Girls
  2. Use your network to invent a job: Business Insider offers this great tip: “Start networking to create a job (and stop networking to find a job).” Love this. Don’t limit yourself to the jobs you see online. The best job I ever got was over dinner at a friend’s birthday when I wasn’t searching for a job. I just asked really good questions and was genuinely interested in the business we were talking about. The CEO called me a couple weeks later to explore a job opportunity, and I took it.
  3. Help other women by referring them: A recent report by the Anita Borg Institute encourages companies to ask current female employees to refer women in their network as a way to up the numbers. We should all think about this strategy in our own workplaces, tech or not.

Final thought: I think it’s best to set some goals to help keep up with friends and colleagues, past and present.

  • Reach out to one person you haven’t connected with in a while every week, by phone, email or LinkedIn or Facebook.
  • Attend one networking event or get-together each month (I ALWAYS go to my Discussion Divas Current Events Club meeting, plus one other event).
  • Attend an alumni breakfast or simply get together with some friends for a glass of wine.

No matter how you do it, get out there and strengthen those networks–for yourself, and for all of us. Raise the tide!