Getting Ready for the January Hiring Season
Get your resume in order. Before you send your resume out to an agency or family, make sure it represents you well. Format it so it’s easy to read and understand. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Make sure all the information is current and accurate. Your resume is what will make the first impression so make sure it sends the right message. While your resume should reflect your individuality, it shouldn’t be so outside the box that it’s hard for agencies and parents to decipher. Find the balance between creativity and professionalism.
Make sure you have your references’ current contact information. It’s easy to lose track of your references’ correct contact information, especially for past employers and references from years ago. People move, they change phone numbers and email addresses. However during a job search, it’s critical that agencies and parents can reach all your references in a short amount of time. Double check your information to make sure that you have all your references’ contact information up-to-date. It’s better for you to invest the time and energy needed to track down a reference than to have a potential employer come up empty handed when checking your references.
Ask for reference letters. Reference letters are an important part of the documentation you’ll need in your job search. If you don’t have a reference letter from your recent childcare employers, this is a great time to ask for one. Even if the parent is willing to give a telephone reference, having a written letter can go a long way with prospective employers. Remember it can take a parent several weeks to finish a letter so ask them well before you’ll need the letter in your job search.
Make sure your CPR / First Aid Certification is up-to-date. If you’ve let your CPR / First Aid certification lapse, make sure to schedule a class as soon as possible. This training shows parents you’re serious about safety and make ongoing professional development and training a priority.
Fill in the gaps in your education or experience. To be competitive in today’s job market, you must have relevant education and experience. Take a look at your resume and see where you can make improvements. Think about learning a foreign language, taking an advanced cooking class, getting your tutoring certification or gaining more experience with the age group you want to work with. The more up-to-date training and experience you have, the more marketable you’ll be.
Brush up on your interviewing skills. Wherever you are in your job search, you can improve your chances of being hired by improving your interviewing skills. Make a list of common questions parents ask potential nannies and develop answers to them. What makes you stand out from the competition? How does your education help you on the job? What kind of childcare experience do you have? How do you handle different discipline situations? Practice your answers with a friend until you’re comfortable and confident in the interview chair. The better you can express yourself during an interview, the more likely you are to land the job you want. If you’re working with a full service nanny placement agency, ask them for feedback after each family interview. They can provide you with valuable information about the things that might be holding you back.
Know the kind of job you’re looking for. Before you can focus in on the type of job you’ll be happy in, you have to know what that job looks like. Outline what you’re looking for before you start your search. What ages do you most like to work with? What type of family are you comfortable working for? Do you want to work for a stay-at-home mom or a working mom? What responsibilities are you willing to take on? What hourly rate are you looking for? What is the longest commute you want to take on? When you have your ideal job outlined, decide on your bottomline. Knowing what you must have will keep you on track and make sure you end up in a job that will make you happy.
Being fully prepared before starting your job search is the best way to take advantage of the opportunities you’ll find. Invest the time and effort up front to make the most of your job search and land the job you really want.