What's standing in your way of getting hired?
When you're a nanny, babysitter, pet sitter or other type of caregiver, finding the right job and right family involves so many factors, many of which are simply out of your control. "This job is an intimate one, and emotions are at play," says Emma McLaughlin, mother, blogger, and author of "The Nanny Diaries". "Try not to take rejections personally."
However, there are certain offenses you could be making that are costing you the job. What are they? Glad you asked. Here are the top five reasons nannies didn't land the job -- and how to avoid being a repeat offender.
- You Asked for Too Much Money
It may not be the best idea to negotiate your pay during the first interview. However, if you feel it's important to discuss upfront, try to tread lightly.
"It's okay to ask for a little more if you feel the initial offer is too low, but without experience, you don't have a lot of bargaining power," says Pauline Delaney, CPRW-certified resume expert and career counselor for caregivers. "The best method is to only take a job in which you are being compensated fairly, and then try and negotiate for a raise after you have proved your worth."
Learn How to Ask for a Raise.
- You Didn't Triple-Check Your Profile
Unprofessional resumes, profiles and messages are a big red flag to employers. "It's one thing to lack proper grammar and vocabulary when someone speaks English as a second language, but candidates who don't use a capital letter at the start of a sentence come off as lazy," says Weronika Dubois, mother and owner of Mother's Helper. "The last thing a family wants is a lazy nanny!"
Follow this Spelling and Grammar Checklist.
- You Weren't the Right Fit
While it doesn't mean you can't do the job (and do it well!), a parent may want to hire someone who has experience with children who are the same age as their own. Instead of applying for every open position in your area, focus on the ones for which you are most qualified.
New to the profession? Address your "greenness" early on in the interviewing process, explaining that while you may be less experienced than other candidates, you are fully capable and are looking for your start in the field. Confidence and training can go a long way in getting you your first golden opportunity.
- You Didn't Consider Your Appearance
When we say appearance, we mean the external reflection that you take your work seriously and respect it. "Appearance does play a role," says Marguerite Elisofon, New York-based mother and creator of the blog The Never-Empty Nest.
McLaughlin agrees, noting that "Appearance matters in so much as it speaks to how a candidate carries herself in the world and what she will model for your children." She also encourages caregivers to be mindful of their overall presence. "The energy [a nanny] brings into your home and her perspective on things matters much more to us."
In your application, talk about why you're such a great fit for the job. Walk into any interview with confidence. Give off a self-assured and professional attitude and employers will have more trust that you can get the job done.
- You Didn't Practice Interviewing
Having a stellar resume, sound references and all the experience in the world doesn't guarantee you a job if your interviewing skills are subpar. It takes practice, and the more you do it, the better you become at it.
First and foremost, never be tardy. "Anyone who shows up late for an interview is not reliable and doesn't value my time," says Elisofon. Interviewing is also a chance to exercise your communication skills (critical when working with children). And don't be afraid to ask questions. This showcases your confidence.
If you haven't landed a job yet, don't be discouraged. Be sure that you are doing all you can and trust in the process.
"You want an employer who sees the magic in you, and if they can't, for whatever reason, there is a family that will," encourages McLaughlin. And don't forget that you're looking for the right fit for yourself, as well.
Kayla Mossien is a writer for prominent blogs and websites and is the former editor-in-chief of PARENTGUIDE News.