How to become a nanny: in 7 Steps

There is a huge demand for family nannies, although finding your first nanny job may not be so easy. Throughout the year, agencies receive enquiries from clients who are pregnant and looking to return to work; they register with agencies hoping to recruit their nanny shortly after the baby is born. This gives them plenty of time to choose the right person and gets to know her before going back to work.

The aspirant nanny with no formal childcare experience, however, should make a few simple job-hunting preparations.

Step One

is to identify agencies that advertise nanny jobs. Find out what nanny duties are required, which will give you a fair idea of what you should aim for in terms of further developing certain skills and to broaden your experience. One way is to volunteer your services to childcare groups, even if you aren’t directly participating in the caring of the children. You may be assigned to help with the preparation and serving of snacks and beverages, which are essential skills to learn as an aspirant nanny. Supervising children during free play is also good practice. It won’t be long before the children accept you as part of their kindergarten family and you may be roped into activities such as story reading and organizing creative projects.

Step Two

is to prepare your résumé. Your first job will be the hardest to get, as you will encounter the prejudice that people are unwilling to employ you without experience. Your résumé will sell you to employers so make sure you do not undersell yourself. But how do you do this when you don’t have a history of previous nanny jobs? When you write your résumé, mention any babysitting you have done, giving the ages of the children you worked with and any responsibilities or experiences you have acquired. Have you cared for younger brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces? Although you cannot use a family member as a reference, caring for siblings show an employer you at least have a background of childcare.

Think carefully of all the child- or people-related projects you were involved in through secondary school and college. Have you taken part in school plays or concerts, gone abroad on exchanges, taken part in fundraising projects for charity? What are your hobbies? Do you play a musical instrument? Do you enjoy the sport? Do you enjoy preparing simple nutritious snacks? Have you been trained in basic first aid? Mention any part-time work you have done, even it’s working as a waitress in a restaurant or a cashier in a supermarket–while these occupations may not seem relevant, such jobs require you to be honest, reliable, a good timekeeper and able to get on with people–all qualities you’ll need if you are to work as a family nanny.

Step Three

is to register with agencies. An agency cannot charge you a fee or force you to accept a job. When you sign the agency registration work you are only giving the agency permission to check that the information you have given them is true. The agency does not have the right to prevent you from registering with other agencies or looking for jobs through newspapers or other sources. The agency will want to interview you. This may be your first proper childcare interview so think of it as a useful experience. The agency can tell you about the availability of jobs and local pay rates and answer any questions you may have about nanny duties or contracts. The agency will check your references before it can offer you any interviews with prospective families.

Step Four

is to contact your references. Offer two or more references–families you have babysat for and employers where you volunteered childcare work. Ask if they can give you a written testimonial, but do ask their permission if you may pass on their name and phone number as a reference.

Step Five

is for the smokers among you. Now is the time to quit! Many parents are adamant that they do not want to employ a nanny who is a smoker.

Step Six is to learn to drive. Many jobs need a nanny who is a conscientious driver.

Step Seven

be positive that you will get a job but don’t be too rigid in your expectations. For instance, your preference may be to work with toddlers, but you may be presented with an opportunity to be placed with a family to care for school-going children instead. Learn to be a caring, capable nanny by finding out all aspects of childcare, such as providing appropriate activities and encouragement, anticipating possible dangers, and creating an environment that is stimulating and harmonious.

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