10 Golden Rules of Landing a Nanny Job

Nanny jobs come in every shape and size, so there’s lots of different advice out there on how to land your dream position. And while different ideas apply to different situations, here are 10 tips that are spot on for every nanny job search.

Cultivate references throughout your career.

Having excellent references is essential in the nanny care field. Starting with your first job, reach out to people who can speak to your work as a nanny and ask them for a reference letter. Don’t limit yourself to just employers. Ask moms or nannies from your regular play group, teachers from your charge’s preschool, and families you babysit for on the weekend. Make sure you stay in touch with them so agencies and parents can contact them during your job search.

Know what you’re looking for.

As the saying goes, you’ll never get what you want if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Carefully consider your wants and needs before you start your search, then create a detailed list of what you’d like to have in your next job. Include the basics, like schedule and hourly rate, along with a clear description of the type of family you’d like to work with. Make the list realistic, but make sure it honestly reflects what a “perfect for you” job would look like.

Stick to your bottom line.

It’s important to have your ideal job outlined before you begin your search. It’s also important to recognize that you’ll probably have to compromise on some of the things on that list. Your bottom line, the things you must have in a job, ensure that you’ll be happy with the compromises you make. Think of your bottomline as your compass, your north star through the emotional decisions you’ll have to make during your search.

Have a killer resume.

A resume is the most basic tool in your nanny job search toolbox. Invest the time and energy it takes to write a killer resume and make sure you keep it updated throughout your search. Your resume is the first impression people will have of you, so make it professional and memorable.

Create a job search strategy.

A smart job search follows a well-designed path. Don’t just apply here and there and hope to connect with the right people. Decide if you want to use an agency, an online site, word of mouth or a combination of each avenue. Come up with a plan, a time table, and a to-do list and work systematically until you find the position you want.

Project a professional image from the very beginning.

Although nanny care is an informal field, professionalism is still valued by agencies and families. Make sure your email address and your voice mail won’t make a potential employer cringe. Check your online presence and make sure it reflects the image you want to project. Dress for comfort and success. All the actions you take in your job search should spotlight your commitment to being a childcare professional.

Remember that small things make a big difference.

A successful job search includes more than just sending out resumes and going on interviews. Don’t forget that small things are just as important. Send a personalized response to every parent that contacts you. Return phone calls within 24 hours. Drop a handwritten thank you note in the mail to parents you’ve interviewed with. Follow up as promised. These little things will help set you apart from others in the field who only focus on the more obvious things.

Learn how to interview well.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that being a great interviewer is something that comes naturally to great caregivers. Interviewing well is a skill that must be learned and practiced. This is especially important in the nanny field because being able to showcase your talents and connect with parents are two of the most important factors in landing the job you want.

Understand that parents hire based on their emotions.

What’s on your resume is important, but who you are as a person and a caregiver is more important. Parents don’t hire the person with the most degrees or the most experience. They hire the person that they like, that they trust, and that they feel a personal connection to. When you understand what the parents are really looking for it’s easy to build your search strategy.

Don’t start without a contract in place.

No matter how great the job sounds and how much you’ve talked with the parents about what the job entails, don’t start a position without a signed written contract in place. This ensures both you and the parents are on the same page and that all expectations are clear.

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