No matter the industry in which you work, you can always expect to be asked about your education level, the number of years of experience you have in said industry, and your qualifications. Especially if you’re considering becoming a professional nanny. But what if you’re just getting started and you don’t have experience as a Nanny or in child care at all? Here’s how you can leverage the work experience you do have to get started in this rewarding career.
Transferable skills are skills and abilities you’ve obtained in areas such as school, work, and life and can be applied in different settings. Here are some examples:
Maybe you’ve never worked with children, but you’ve:
- Led a project at work
- Managed and delegated your workload
- Worked effectively with your colleagues
Or maybe you’ve never been a nanny, but you:
- Watched your younger siblings, would plan their entire day, and defuse any negative situations accordingly.
- Were a Girl/Boy Scout Leader and you empowered young girls and boys to become change agents in their communities.
While having direct work experience with children is attractive, there are still ways that you can communicate you’re the right person for the job.
When talking about the experience you do have, you want to make sure that you highlight that you:
- Can lead
- Can problem-solve
- Are an effective communicator
- Have patience
- Are creative
- Are flexible
- Are a professional
- Are trustworthy
Remember to be confident in your overall experience and skills and that will shine through to parents.
Another way to demonstrate your commitment to the job without previous experience is through training and certifications. Here are a few you could look into:
- Obtain your Child Development Associate Certificate (CDA).
Having your CDA is the most accepted credential in Early Childhood Education that covers topics regarding child growth and development, health/safety/nutrition, and child/family community.
- Earn your Babysitting & Advance Child Certification from the American Red Cross
- Get your CPR & First Aid Certificate
- Consider joining a nanny association that offers training courses and modules that will help you gain the basic knowledge of being a nanny and can keep you up to date with the industry standards.
Meeting people and establishing relationships with those who are in the same industry as you are so important. It can give you the opportunity to be referred for jobs and just like corporations, parents and agencies love referrals. More importantly, it’s invaluable to have a group of people that can relate to you and offer support when needed. Find and join your local nanny groups, become a member of the nanny networks through social media platforms, and consider finding a well-established nanny that can mentor you as you grow in the field. With the right network and support, you can confidently navigate a new career.
Personal and Professional References
Having people that can speak highly of your work ethic, attitude, character, and strengths is a key component in your job search. Examples of personal and professional references include but are not limited to; teacher/professor, supervisor, coworkers, or previous clients. When picking your reference, you want to make sure that the individuals have given you permission to share their contact information, that you have prepared them for these conversations, and that you keep them updated through the progress. A quality reference can make a big difference, so make sure you choose people that will highlight your skills and experience that are ideal for being a nanny.
Market Yourself and Apply
When you’re ready to put yourself out there, remember:
- Your Nanny Portfolio Is a Powerful Thing
Be thoughtful about how you craft your resume and demonstrate your transferable skills. You’ll be able to build on this with every job you get.
- Apply To Positions That You Want
Keep these things in mind: your rapport with the entire family, your own values, salary and benefits, job duties, and health and safety.
- The Interview Process Is a Two-Way Street
Very often, nannies will feel the pressure to get hired, but you want to make sure that you are using the interview time as a way of confirming that the family is a good match for you.
We’re glad you’re here. Being a nanny is important work and will take work. But once you find your groove, the end result will be you working with kids and family that you love!