31 Days to a New Job
Start the new year off right. It's no longer plain old January. It's now the month you're going to finally land that dream job (or jobs). In your honor, we're renaming it #jobuary!
When you're applying for jobs, timing is everything. Did you know that January is the second busiest time of year here at Care.com? While summer is our most popular season, January comes in right after. Lots of families re-evaluate their care needs during the holidays and make a New Year's resolution to get more hope. In fact, last year there were 60 percent more jobs posted in January as there were in December!
Whether it's in child care, senior care, tutoring, pet care or housekeeping, we want to help get you ready for all of those new families and companies who need help in the new year. So we came up with a plan -- 31 steps to a new job. You can do one every day of December, or all at once. But together, they should prep you for landing a dream job in January (or any time of year, really!).
Below are our suggestions to increase your job-finding chances on Care.com. Follow along, and you'll be ready for all the new jobs that are posted in 2015. And check in with us on Facebook and Twitter for a month-long campaign of how-to-get-a-job tips.
Are there any other tips you would add to this list? Share them in the comments section below.
Step 1: Pick Interview Attire
Go through your closet to make sure you have neat and professional interview outfits -- stay away from gym clothes. Go for khakis or casual slacks (and jeans if they're nice!). Read tips on what to wear.
Step 2: Go Shopping
If you can't find anything to wear, head to stores or shop online for interview clothes. Check out our Pinterest board for inspiration.
Step 3: Check Your Schedule
Update your availability -- no one will be able to hire you if they don't know when you're free. And make sure your title and calendar match up. If you can only work certain days and hours, don't say you're full-time!
Step 4: Handle Forms
Did you know that most caregivers shouldn't get paid in cash? Learn why not. Then fill out the right forms now, so you'll be ready to get on the payroll for your new job.
Step 5: Go Online
Clean up your social media profiles, so they're professional for when a potential employer looks at them. Remove old posts that a family or company might find offensive.
Step 6: Take Profile Photos
Familiarize yourself with Care.com's photo guidelines and arrange a mini photo shoot today with a friend, so you have new and polished-looking photos to feature in your profile. Here are 14 Profile Pictures You Should NEVER Use.
Step 7: Record a Video
Care.com recently added a video option to profiles! A quick video is a great way to let your personality come out and show families that you're more than just a name on a page. Have a friend help you shoot a fun and professional video to upload to your profile. Learn how to create a video.
Step 8: Sign up for a Professional Email Address
You don't want to be contacting an employer from an email like firstname.lastname@example.org. That might give the wrong message. Stick to a combination of your first and last name.
Step 9: Ask for Reviews
Make sure you have at least one review on your profile -- but the more, the better.
Step 10: Update Your Voicemail
Listen to your voicemail message on your phone. Record a new one if it doesn't sound professional and engaging. Remember, this might be someone's second impression of you.
Step 11: Get Checked
you stand out as someone employers can trust. Want to go a step further? Run the Combined one.
Step 12: Share With Friends
Share your profile across your social networks. Maybe someone you know is hiring. Before you send, make sure you have a must-read profile that will draw people in to learn about you.
Step 13: Handle Money
Update your payment preferences so you can accept credit card payments from employers through Care.com. It'll help you keep track of your finances in the new year.
Step 14: Draft a Contract
Create a sample contract just in case your future employer doesn't have one. It will help you agree on details and make sure you're all on the same page.
Step 15: Address a Low Response Rate
Maybe you haven't been very active on Care.com lately. That's okay. But if you've let messages from families sit, your response rate has probably suffered. Address this in your provider profile and let families know that you're actively looking for work again. Once you start responding quickly, your score will go back up.
Step 16: Re-read Your Profile
Could it apply to anyone? Set yourself apart from other candidates by making your profile and application personal and specific. Instead of simply saying "I babysat for five years," add detailed fun things you did with the kids.
Step 17: Do Some Q&A
Research interview questions that employers may ask you (don't forget odd interview questions too!) and brainstorm answers.
Step 18: Look for Errors
Check your profile, cover letter and resume for common spelling and grammar errors.
Step 19: Be Safe
Sign up for First Aid and CPR training or a refresher classes. Caregivers with this education are 2.5 times more likely to be contacted by potential employers.
Step 20: Think up Questions
Brainstorm questions to ask potential employers during interviews. Families love thoughtful questions that reveal more about you and the work-style that matters to you.
Step 21: Research Rates
Find out the going pay rate for caregivers in your area, to make sure what you're asking is not too low (costing yourself money) or too high (costing yourself jobs). You don't want to spend more than you can afford.
Step 22: Learn from the Past
Read over any old applications you've submitted to jobs. How could they have been better?
Step 23: Check Out the Competition
Look at profiles of other caregivers in your area -- they're your competition, so make sure you stand out. If you were a prospective employer, who would you hire?
Step 24: Join a Professional Organization
Sign up for groups for people in your industry -- like the International Nanny Association or National Association of Professional Pet Sitters -- to connect with fellow caregivers and pick up valuable advice.
Step 25: Write a Sample Cover Letter
Create a letter you can use when you message employers about new jobs. You'll need to personalize it for each application, but give yourself a strong starting point. Have other people read it over.
Step 26: Sign up for a Class
Register for a new class or certification that will help you become a better caregiver and appeal to more employers.
Step 27: Prepare Thank Yous
Buy thank you cards, so you'll be ready to send them out to people you interviewed with in order to follow up.
Step 28: Explore Your Options
Think about working for a company. Instead of only applying to jobs with families, would you work for a business like a day care, in-home care agency or housekeeping company? Check out these 4 Unusual Nanny Jobs for other unique ideas for what you can do with your skills.
Step 29: Prep for Interviews
While people are on vacation this week, arrange a mock interview with a friend to get some practice. Memorize these 6 Things You Should NEVER Do During an Interview.
Step 30: Look Everything Over
Go to your profile one last time for a final review. This will also update your "Logged in" time so families see that you are active on the site. Many families won't reach out if they see you haven't logged in for a few days or weeks. So remember to keep checking in.
Step 31: Celebrate Your Success
While you're enjoying the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one, reminisce about all of the great things that happened in the past twelve months. Maybe you even scored a job as a New Year's Eve sitter! And think about all of the wonderful things you're going to accomplish with your new job in 2015.
Congratulations on completing this whole list! Post a comment below and let us know which tip was your favorite - and what else has worked for you. And best of luck finding your perfect new job.
Tiffany Smith is the senior associate editor here at Care.com. She has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story! Follow her on Twitter @tiffanyiswrite.