Job hunting is never easy -- especially when you're a nanny. You have to apply to job postings and find a family that is the right match for your skills and expertise. The task gets even trickier when you want to be a live-in nanny because you'll be sharing the family's home and spending lots of time with them.
Working as a live-in nanny is a big decision and not one to take lightly. You want the position to be the right choice for you and the family. Before you begin your search, you need to understand why you want to be a live-in nanny and what being a live-in means for your day-to-day professional and personal life.
But every year thousands of families post jobs on Care.com, looking for live-in caregivers. You can be one of the lucky nannies who get hired. Here are 12 steps for finding the perfect live-in job:
Decide if You Definitely Want to Be a Live-In Nanny
Before you begin your search, make sure this is the job you want. Some nannies who love being a live-out nanny think the transition to a live-in position will be easy, says Becky Kavanagh, co-president of the International Nanny Association and a former live-in nanny herself. In reality, being a live-in is not for everyone. "The place you are working is also the place you are living," notes Kavanagh. Establishing and keeping boundaries is challenging.
Read more about the 10 Benefits of Being a Live-In Nanny »
Think About Living in Someone Else's Home
Just as the family loses a little privacy with your arrival, you'll also lose some autonomy. As a live-in nanny, you'll have a private area, but you'll always be living in a family's home. Are you ready to respect the rules of the house and be more accountable for your time than you might be on your own? Can you keep their business, both personal and professional, to yourself?
Review Your Portfolio
One you decide that being a live-in is right for you, get your professional image in order. Families want to hire a nanny who is pulled together and proficient.
Need to improve your nanny resume quickly? Learn about these 12 Nanny Training Courses and Certifications »
Create a Profile
Sign up on Care.com and build a profile that talks about how amazing you are, why you want to be a live-in nanny and why families should hire you. Make sure you spell check everything and include several professional-looking photos.
For more information, check out Make the Most of Your Care.com Profile »
One of the best ways to make your profile stand out and get hired for a job is to add reviews to your profile. If you've been a nanny or babysitter for other families -- either live-in or live-out -- ask them to write reviews of your services. New to the nanny business? Ask for reviews from other types of employers or references.
Read about How to Get Reviews on Care.com »
Apply to Jobs
Look for job openings in your area and reply to families looking for live-in care. Personalize your response and talk about why you're a perfect fit for this particular job.
Improve your chances of getting the job by following the 14 Ways to Get Families to Respond to You on Care.com »
Talk to Other Live-In Nannies
Word of mouth is another great way to find an employer or to have them find you, says Ilona Bray, a lawyer and author of "Nannies and Au Pairs: Hiring In-Home Child Care."
And talking to other live-in nannies will help you envision what a typical week might look like and what challenges and benefits come along with the job.
Prepare for the Interview Process
Although it's hard to be yourself during a job interview, it really helps when you're looking for a live-in position. Kavanagh says she met with parents first and then the kids at a different time. But the parents watched her as she interacted with the children and were impressed with her ability to focus entirely on the kids. If a nanny can do that, she says, it gives the parents a better understanding of how you will be as a nanny living in their home.
Make a list of questions beforehand that you want to ask the family -- it shows initiative and your interest in the job. Get more tips on 8 Ways to Ace the Job Interview »
Arrange a Trial Period
The interview process will likely include a couple of days of working in the home (which you should get paid for) and seeing what the family needs. During this time, you'll learn more about what the family's expectations will look like in real life. This step of the interview will give you a chance to figure out if you fit in with the family and if they feel the same.
Before you accept the job, make sure you call a few of the family's former employees for an informal reference check. Ask if it's okay if you run a background check on the family -- you'll be living there after all and you need to ensure your own safety. Turn to the Care.com Safety Center for advice.
Create a Nanny Contract
Make sure all the terms of the job are clearly understood and written down. If the family doesn't already have a nanny contract drafted, you should ask for one -- or write a sample one yourself.
"It is really important to have contracts and work agreements," says Lindsay Heller, also known as The Nanny Doctor. "It is the best way to start off a relationship and both parties will know what is expected."
Include everything in the contract from expected duties and pay rates (including taxes) to vacations and benefits. It also helps if you throw in a few "what if" scenarios, so you'll know what to do if both parents are called away on business trips at the same time or if you're injured and need a week to recover.
Brush up on How to Create a Live-In Nanny Contract »
When you start your new job, you'll also be entering a new home and new family dynamic -- basically a whole new life. That's a lot to take on all at once. Take things slow and be patient with yourself, your new charges and your new employers. Growing pains are a real thing.
Also take the time to personalize your new space. Check with your employer about what's allowed, then hang pictures, set out familiar mementos and make the place your own. Explore the area for fun places bring kids and where to hang out during your free time. This is your new home -- enjoy it!
Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is an award-winning freelance writer and a mom to two girls. She lives in Massachusetts and has written for local and national publications.