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9 ways to stand out when looking for a nanny job

With 1.2 million people working in child care, it can be difficult to stand out, if you’re looking to land a job as a nanny. Knowing how to effectively showcase your services as a child care provider can help open up opportunities.

And with steady job growth — 7% projected from 2016 to 2026 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — there are positions to be had. Whether you’re looking for your first job or are a seasoned professional in the field, here are 9 tips to successfully stand out from the pack.

1. Make a nanny portfolio

A powerful tool to have in your marketing kit is a nanny portfolio. Essentially, it’s a visual one-stop shop of what makes you the best candidate for the job. Fill a three-ring binder or scrapbook with a copy of your resume, letters of reference, a list of training classes and workshops taken, degrees, awards, proof of CPR and first aid certification, and a copy of your driver’s license.

You might also want to include photos taken while on the job and copies of projects you’ve worked on with children in your care.

2. Perfect your resume

Your resume is likely the first impression you’ll leave on a prospective employer, so you’ll want to make sure it highlights your most relevant experience and skills.

Make sure your resume is well polished — free from spelling and grammatical errors, and that it’s uniformly formatted. This can help show your attention to detail. You can follow these guidelines and sample resume template, whether you’re starting from scratch or brushing up your existing resume.

“You also want to show your ability to work responsibly in an unsupervised position,” says Laura Schroeder, second vice president of the International Nanny Association. Seasoned nannies, in particular, will want to highlight their credentials, such as having passed the INA credential exam, as well as their continuing education, including workshops attended at events like National Nanny Training Day.”  

3. Expand your training

Adding credentials to your resume doesn’t have to mean getting a new degree. Sign up for a class on water safety, infant care or sleep training at your local community college or via an online course. These types of one-off courses can offer a huge return on a minimal investment.

Check out your local YMCA or the American Red Cross, which typically offer reasonably priced or even free classes. The Newborn Care Specialist Association also has an approved list of education providers that offer classes to help you become certified to care specifically for infants.

4. Learn a specialized skill or foreign language

Much like brushing up on your child care training, adding a desired skill or foreign language to your resume is a big plus.

“[Parents] really like a nanny with skills they can teach their children,” Schroeder says. “This may be a foreign language or sports skills but is most often knowledge of early childhood education and developmental milestones. Nannies with these skills can offer creative, developmentally appropriate activities for the children in their lives.”

Parents may even be willing to pay a bit extra for lessons on these skills, including learning how to swim, playing an instrument or mastering a new language.

5. Brush up on current child care trends

Before speaking with a potential family, make sure you research all the latest reports, strategies and trends in the child care field with professional resources like the International Nanny Association or ChildTrends.org. A knowledgeable child care provider gives parents reassurance that their little ones will be the right hands.

For example, research has shown that incorporating sensory play — such as scrunching up papers, sponge painting and playing with kinetic sand — into a daily routine is not only therapeutic, but improves observation skills while encouraging cognitive development. Another current child care trend is the use of technology beyond passive consumption, such as watching TV, to create learning opportunities. However, introducing iPads and laptops can be controversial in some families — be sure to discuss with the family their feelings and views toward technology first.

6. Network online and offline

Word of mouth can be one of the most powerful means of landing an opportunity. Let your social network know that you’re in the market for a job as a nanny.

Family, friends, coworkers and even other nannies or babysitters can help you find a family looking for child care services. Bonus: They’ll be able to personally vouch for how amazing you are. “I’ve gotten most of my nanny jobs through word of mouth. If you’ve got a good nanny and someone asks, you’ll most certainly pass their info along,” said Monica Cutler, a nanny with nearly 20 years of experience. “I also use a Facebook page called Nashville Childcare Connection to advertise myself — and the Nashville Moms Facebook group.”

7. Contact nanny agencies and websites

Using a nanny service can help you cast a wide net in terms of exposure. Submitting your resume or filling out a profile on a major site can put your skills in front of an interested audience.

“Most of our nannies interview with one to three families before they find their perfect family. We work hard to only send nannies to families that are truly a good match, and we go over all expectations, job duties, salary and benefits expectations beforehand to ensure the right fit,” says Rachel Adkins, president of the Nashville Nanny Agency.

8. Be flexible

Maintaining flexibility when it comes to pay and job responsibilities shows you’re not difficult to work with. Being able to negotiate a rate of pay that works for both parties can help keep you competitive in the market. Also, a willingness to travel with the family on vacations or adapt your schedule to include running errands and helping out with laundry or cooking can be a plus.

"Nannies who offer services outside of childcare such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, and laundry, will often have an edge over those nannies who do not offer those services,” said Schroeder. “However, the primary role of the nanny will always be childcare and those are the skills that families value most. All responsibilities should be laid out in a work agreement and compensated appropriately."

9. Practice interviewing before you walk through the door

Before you walk into an interview with a prospective family, read over the job description carefully and make sure you’re prepared to provide relevant work history that demonstrates why you’re well-suited for the position. Being punctual, well-groomed and fully prepared with your portfolio helps to establish professionalism.

Practice answering potential interview questions prior to your appointment, and work on an elevator pitch that articulates your qualifications in the best light possible.

Read next: Marketing yourself online as a nanny

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