Looking for childcare work? Follow these tips for a successful application process and interview:
1 Be authentic
Generic applications do not impress employers. Read through the job specs carefully and ensure your application shows that you meet the requirements for the job. Make your CV childcare-specific by focusing on your childcare training, skills and experience.
2 Keep your CV updated
Keep all contact information up to date, including your own and that of your references. If you provide your email address, be sure to check your email regularly. Ensure that all references are currently contactable. Add your latest work experience and include your reasons for leaving.
3 Be prepared
Make it easy for the employer to hire you. Don’t expect the agent or employer to run after you for the required application documents. The people who get chosen for interviews are usually the ones who supply their CV, written references and copies of relevant certificates with their application. Always bring copies of these documents to interviews.
4 Include a profile pic
A profile picture enhances the first impression created by your CV and as such, it should make you look professional.
A good profile picture is:
- Shows eye-contact (no sunglasses) and a smile
- Clear, and not dark or blurry
- Not cropped or filtered
- Not taken from an obscure angle
- Not a ‘selfie’
- Relevant to childcare work – you should be modestly dressed, preferably in a white shirt
5 Be specific
Be direct when you answer questions. During interviews, avoid vagueness and yes/no responses. Give clear, well-thought out answers.
Be specific about what you are and are not willing to do. Never commit to doing something that you know you are unable or unwilling to do, just to get the job.
6 Be sincere
Show that you’ve put some thought into your application and genuinely feel that you are suitable for the position. Don’t just regurgitate what it is you think the employer wants to hear. Avoid the ‘sell yourself’ approach. Focus on the family and what you can offer them.
Every successful nanny /au pair is a reader. Join the library. Practice telling a good story.
8 Be creative
You may be asked what you would do in a hypothetical situation. Show that you are capable of finding creative solutions to problems.
Broaden your horizons. Try out new hobbies, arts and crafts. The skills you acquire will enhance your application and make you stand out.
9 Ask intelligent questions
Should you be chosen for an interview, think ahead about what questions you will ask. Questions should be relevant to the position offered and show a sincere interest in the family, eg. Find out about:
- The activities the child enjoys
- The child’s routine
- Any special meal requirements or food preferences
10 Be professional
- Dress appropriately for interviews (ie. White shirt, black or dark trousers/skirt, flat closed shoes, no excessive make-up or jewellery)
- Be punctual. Make sure that you have the employer’s contact number ahead of time, and let her know if there is an emergency which causes you to be late.
- Thank the employer for taking the time to see you.
- Remember: First impressions last. You are judged more by your actions than your words.