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100 Tips for Nannies and Families

The advice in this book comes from Candi Wingate, President of Care4hire.com.
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Babysitting / Tutoring

You are job seeking as a babysitter/tutor; you want to care for and help educate children.  What follows are tips to help you land a great job as a babysitter/tutor.

First, consider what parents likely consider to be the ideal candidate for this position.  What skills, abilities, and background will parents probably be looking for when recruiting for this position?  Think:  nurturing, patient, good with children, able to follow parental instructions, reasonably detail-oriented without being unduly regimented, responsible, and intelligent.  In addition, the ideal candidate will likely have strong communication skills, a clean criminal record, a clean record with the Department of Health and Human Services in each state in which s/he has lived, positive references, at least a high school diploma, and stable work experience in childcare and/or education.

Once you have decided what the ideal candidate looks like, you need to decide how strongly you resemble this ideal candidate.  In what areas do you possess the skills, abilities, and background of the ideal candidate?  In what areas do you not possess these?

In your profile/biography, you should provide your basic information (education, work experience, relevant  volunteerism, and relevant life experience).  You should also convey your love of children, your love of learning, and your love of specific subject matters (i.e., “I especially love tutoring English and visual arts classwork.”)  Tailor your statements to your strengths (as defined by the skills, abilities, and background that you possess that mirror those of the ideal candidate).  Where there are differences between you and the ideal candidate, you may either choose to ignore those differences (if the differences are minor) or mitigate the differences (if the differences appear major).  For example, as a mitigation, you may say, “Although my work history as a babysitter/tutor is limited, I am a mother.   Having raised three children of my own, I have 23 years’ experience in caregiving for children and tutoring them as well . . . I just performed those for my own children rather than for my employer’s children.   I love all children, and I’m very good at nurturing and tutoring children.  I would love to put my skills and background to work for you and your family.”  (Note:  it is important that your profile/biography be written using proper grammar and punctuation.)

In your cover letter, you can briefly reference your education and work history, but do not go into great detail on these topics.  Instead, refer the prospective employer-family to your resume for more information on these topics.  Your cover letter should be focused on the various reasons that you are the best candidate for the job, so each reason must be covered only briefly to fit your cover letter onto one page (cover letters should not exceed one page in length).  For example, your cover letter may read, in part:  “I love children.  I love learning.  To me, the perfect job is pairing caregiving for children and helping children learn things.  I have been a babysitter/tutor for 6 years.  I started as a babysitter/tutor when I was a sophomore in high school.  I always got A’s and B’s in school, so it was easy and fun for me to help others with their schoolwork.    I kept doing babysitter/tutor work after I graduated from high school because I love the work I do.  I have nurtured and tutored a total of 12 families, and as many as three children at a time.  Each of the families that I have worked for is willing to provide you with a reference for me.  With my love of children and learning, I am the candidate you are looking for.”  (Note:  it is important that your cover letter be written using proper grammar and punctuation.)

During your interview, sit comfortably but not rigidly.  Be warm and personal without being unprofessional.  Be dressed in a manner so as to convey the same message (warmth and professionalism).  Speak using good grammar.  Smile easily and often.  Make good eye contact.  Reinforce the message that you communicated in your cover letter.  For example, if one of your interview questions is, “Why do you want this job?”, you can reply, “Well, I love children, and I love learning.  I mentioned in my cover letter to you that I have 6 years of experience in this field, and I have loved every minute of it.  I love making a difference in the lives of little ones.  I like helping children discover the world around them.  It’s all such a magical time . . . when everything is brand new to someone.  It’s just great to be a part of a child’s life as they are learning all the new things that come their way.”

When your interview has concluded, you are well advised to write a brief thank-you note to your prospective employer-family.   Remember to include a personalized element to the note, such as, “It was nice to meet both of you and see pictures of Emily, Karen, and Shayla!  It sounds like the children and I all like soccer, so we could really connect with that.”  After approximately one week, you may follow-up with a telephone call to your prospective employer-family.  On this call, you may say, “Hi!  This is Susie Smith!  I interviewed for your babysitter/tutor position last week.  I am so excited about your job opportunity, and I thought I’d follow up with you about the status of my application.  Do you have any questions I can answer for you about my background, experience, or anything else?”

By following the tips above, you can position yourself to land a great job as a babysitter/tutor.

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