9 Ways Your Profile Screams "Don't Hire Me!"
Tips on what NOT to do when you're trying to land a job.
When Eric Gabrielson, of Trenton, N.J., and his wife were looking for a nanny online, they often knew at first glance if one had potential. They instantly disqualified one profile filled with misspelled words and another with slang they weren't sure how to decipher.
Carrie Carroll, of Washington, D.C., had a similar gut-response. She knew a disorganized nanny profile wasn't a match for her infant twins. "They didn't have a good attention to detail," she recalls, "and it made me think: 'What would they be like with my twins?'"
But the nanny Carroll hired (and who stayed until her children started preschool) grabbed her attention by highlighting her nursing experience.
Profiles are crucial to making a great first impression on the families and care-related busineses using Care.com to hire caregivers employees. With that in mind, we asked Lizandra Vega, author of "The Image of Success," Laurie Cozart, an executive presence expert, and Marshall Brown, a career and executive coach, for their advice on creating the best Care.com profile possible. Here are the nine mistakes they said you might be making:
Looking Silly in Your Photo -- or Worse
Last summer's beach picture probably looks cute, but an employer wants to see someone who is well-groomed and dressed appropriately. You do not have to wear a suit, but have a friend snap a couple headshots of you wearing a simple shirt with minimal jewelry, toned-down makeup and tidy hair. "Show no cleavage," advises Vega. And it's usually best to have a photo of just you. Don't make someone guess who you are in the picture. Find out if your profile picture is hurting your job search.
Forgetting to Proofread or Spell-check
"You are going to be a caregiver and a role model for the children," says Vega. Even if you're not the best wordsmith, make every word count. Tripping over misspelled words or incomplete sentences (no LOLs or other text abbreviations!) is a turnoff. You may be the most loving and fun caretaker, but if your profile is written haphazardly, families will think twice about trusting you with their loved ones. Have someone else check it for you to make sure you didn't miss anything -- and please limit those cute emoticons.
Follow this spelling and grammar checklist.
Gearing Your Profile to the Kids, Not the Parents
"Understand who your audience is," advises Cozart. You're selling your skills and your reliability to the parents, not the kids. Think of your profile as your brand and use it to market yourself, says Brown. "Tell them how you are the best person to help them solve their problems or challenges," he says. Get tips on how to style your skills in your resume.
Not Thinking of Yourself as a Professional
Don't be shy! Make your resume professional and interesting. Include your education, relevant classes and any awards and honors from school. Anything that boosts your image and showcases your capabilities is essential. Don't wait to explain important points during an interview or you may never get the chance. Remember: people call based on what you tell them, not what you might tell them.
Neglecting to List Hobbies as Skills
Are you the go-to storyteller at your library? Do you love to paint or make jewelry in your spare time? Show off your hobbies as excellent job skills. Parents want to know you're well-rounded and can keep their kids entertained with fun and educational activities.
Overlooking Your Personality
Tell how you like to spend time with kids and show them the world. Your profile is a great place to include your EMT volunteer time or work you did for Habitat for Humanity. Even include if you're the neighborly-type who others ask to check on their house or leave a spare key with. Those are your character traits and this is what people should know about you. Need help describing yourself? Ask a friend. "Show something that relates to you being trustworthy," says Vega. "Doing something in the past is something you are likely to do in the future."
Showing Your Die-Hard Political Leanings or Your Unusual Hobbies
Stay neutral and on-target in your profile. Letting everyone know who you voted for, what your religion is and how much of a die-hard Star Trek fan you are is an instant turn off for some potential employers, Vega warns.
Sounding Like Eeyore
Be upbeat and positive. Monitor your tone and use positive adjectives when describing yourself and your work. "Every profile should be written with a smile," advises Cozart.
Blindsiding Your References
Nothing is more awkward than having a potential employer call one of your references before you do. The call may be awkward, your reference may be annoyed and you will look bad. (The last thing you want them saying is "Jane, who?"). Call your references ahead of time to touch base and let them know you're planning on using their name to get a new job.
Even if it's hard to do, take the time, follow these tips and you might find the family of your dreams to work for.
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.