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Advice for making myself appealing as a nanny?

(19 Posts)
confuseddotcodotuk Tue 24-May-11 13:27:43

I am in need of some advice. How can I make myself more appealing to families? There aren't that many jobs going and the others going for these jobs are normally qualified, with lots of sole charge experience and are asking for lower wages than what they're worth.

So, I'm unqualified but looking to start the level 3 as soon as I get a job, I completed a Paed First Aid course last week and have a Safeguarding Children course all paid for and ready to complete.
Should I just do the Common Core Skills and get myself Ofsted registered?

I'm happy with live-in or out work but there isn't much of either, and most of the jobs around are after-school positions, a wage which I won't be able to afford to live on and which are inconvinient in that I wouldn't be able to find a second job to fit around. Also looking at relocating but wouldn't be able to go far unless it's live-in work in which case most I feel able to apply for are in Cambs/Herts/Kent which I wouldn't mind, but am wary about as I moved back home for a reason (but it's still in driving distance).

So, what can I do to make myself more appealing? What wage should I be looking for in Essex? Are there any short courses you'd recommend? Should I just apply to jobs in the surrounding areas and be hopeful? Should I apply to the afterschool positions and see if I can find a job for the mornings?

I also have a bladder problem which means when I'm driving I tend to stop frequently (it doesn't really affect me unless I'm not around a loo, driving being the biggest problem, as walking around towns there are always cafes and public loos), should I tell families about this? I told the last interviewer and she told the agency that it unnerved her! confused I feel I should tell though as it is something I'm seeking help for and therefore would need a day or two off for tests in the future.

JinxyCat Tue 24-May-11 13:58:04

Hi confused

I wouldn't tell families about your bladder problem, it could be off-putting and as you say it doesn't affect you at work. I'd recommend that you just say that you're going to need a few days off for tests, but that it's nothing serious and won't affect your ability to do the job.
IMO it's not something a family 'needs' to know (and I say that as an employer) so I don't think it'd be terrible not to tell either - but happy to be corrected.

Don't know what to advise on the training, but I know that ofsted registration is a big plus for parents - so if you can afford the fee (before you start working) then I'd say go for it. However, we've just paid for our nanny's application to Ofsted, so not a deal breaker IMO.

Where are you looking for work? Are you registered on www.nannyjob.co.uk, www.childcare.co.uk and/or www.aupairworld.net, and of course the 'nanny seeking work' thread here!

We looked on all of those sites when we were looking for a nanny - so worth checking out. Also, have you thought about offering yourself as a temporary nanny? Good way to get experience - although a bit disruptive to your life.

I'd recommend expanding your search to London for a live-in role, I'd think there's a massive market there.

I wouldn't say that you should go for after-school work if full-time is what you need, you'll only end up potentially disappointing someone when you find work that suits your needs better.

Final point, why not put something about how you're happy to do nanny sharing - as that can be a good selling point for new families.

Also, in your adverts/responses to jobs - I'd recommend talking about what types of things you like doing with kids, and activities you've enjoyed. It made me feel a lot warmer towards candidates who made me think they'd be doing loads with my son.

Strix Tue 24-May-11 14:48:13

Have you considered taking a lower paid au pair job to give you some experience. You could live-in, have time for your course work. Then in a year or so you could have the education/training and experience and get a higher paid nanny position.

There are a lot of qualified and experienced nannies out there looking for work. So, I'm afraid the market is against you just now.

Have you considered a mothers help or part shared care and part sole care job to gain experience.

are you expecting too much salary wise - with no experience you would be looking at min wage unless in london then slightly higher.

consider jobs with split hours so doing a before and after school job (then perhaps temp work/volunterring in middle of day)

perhaps a nanny/housekeeper job

CharlieCoCo Tue 24-May-11 19:52:16

i wouldnt mention the bladder problem as they will think if you are telling them then you think it is something they should know/be a problem. you may also find that you will be so focused on work anyway and distracted you wont pee as much as you do now. also as you will be working with children you may be taking them to the toilet a lot anyway.

confuseddotcodotuk Tue 24-May-11 19:56:48

JinxyCat: I'm on nannyjob and childcare, apworld blacklisted me a few years ago so I can't re-register on there anymore! Thanks for the wording on mentioning tests needed, that will help smile
I'll look more into Ofsted, I don't mind paying for it myself if it means I'm more likely to get a job! The only problem is my blooming first aid certificate, which can take up to 3 months to surface itself! But I'll actually get myself signed up to the common core skills so that I'm eligible for it.

I've found a few temp jobs today which I'm going to apply for I think, summer ones normally with a toddler and an older child which I feel would be awesome for me and a lot of them are live-in, so I'll be applying to those! smile

I thought about London but am not keen, obviously I'll look there as I think I may have to get a job there in the end, but I love the countryside and wanted to be relatively close to home so wanted to try my luck in Essex first. I'm also worried about driving in London. I'm a confident driver, but had trouble driving around Bath which is minor compared to London!

I will edit my bits on the sites and include a few activity examples. I have loads for 4/5yos which suit older kids too (volcanoes being a firm favourite apparently grin), will need to re-read my activity books for the younger ones though smile

Strix: I can't afford to take an ap job right now. I want to go travelling a few years down the line so most of my money is going on savings for that.

eastmidlands: I'm looking for positions which are more MH or shared care but there aren't many and when there are they want somebody experienced again.

Salarywise I'm not advertising anything. when people ask I say 6-6.50ish net an hour negotiable (after being advised by people on here and nj), depending on the individual job and hours. I'll take less obviously, but don't want to advertise myself as less because the normal nanny wage here is £7+ net for a nanny with 2 years experience and I don't want to look dodgy by offering too little, iyswim? I'm usually trying to work it so that I'm earning around £200net a week based on a 35-40 hour week.

Nanny/housekeeping is something I'm trying to get into as well, I love cleaning grin. Basically trying to find a job with any work with an under-2 to gain experience! I'm going to head to the nursery I used to work at tomorrow and find out if they need anybody at the moment, they're always happy to let me cover for their staff while I'm looking for work smile

Thanks for the advice though. Not going into childcare when I was younger is a huge regret for me, wouldn't have to worry about qualifications and everything now if I had!

raindroprhyme Tue 24-May-11 20:25:04

say you are happy to clean the ovenwink

confuseddotcodotuk Tue 24-May-11 20:38:14

I am actually! And quite good at it! grin I managed to get an oven used by 14 people on a daily basis in a share house nice and sparkly on the inside with some good old scrubbing and Mr Muscle grin It did stink out the house for the next week though...

confuseddotcodotuk Tue 24-May-11 20:52:41

I just realised what you were referring too doh

But I still would be happy to do it if I had a few hours kid-free!

raindroprhyme Tue 24-May-11 20:55:14

Sorry should have linked. I have no other advice for you either. Hope you find something soon.

How is your CV? As an employer, I was put off by a lot of CVs - they were badly misspelled, didn't clearly articulate their personality, experience etc. I ditched those CVs without bothering to interview the nannies. I don't ask for a brilliantly written CV, but i don't think it's too much to ask for someone to take the trouble to do their CV properly, you can tell when someone has made the effort or not. Perhaps get someone to look at your CV?

Also, have you been offered any interviews yet? Because how you do in an interview matters a lot. My last nanny had less experience than most of the others I interviewed but she had a really bubbly personality that came across well, she got down and started playing with the kids really spontaenously and she brought along a little portfolio of activities and suggestions of things she hoped to do with the kids.

it does sound like you are doing a lot to 'sell' yourself which is great and it's a pity that the market is as it is.

by the way, i would actually hold off on spending the money to be Ofsted registered. It's an employers benefit and employers usually pay. What you could add in your CV is something along the lines of 'willing to be Ofsted registered'. it does take time to come through but most employers should be aware of it.

confuseddotcodotuk Tue 24-May-11 21:17:49

raindrop: no problem, I'm having trouble with my internet so am only loading one page at a time and only going on 'essential' pages grin

sometimes: My CV is spot on for grammar/spellings, I'm fussy about that too! Not much about my personality and whatnot so I'll have another look at it and see if I can get a few people to look at it and help me out again smile

I had one family offer me interviews, and another family offered me an interview at the beginning of May who I now can't get back in touch with because of childcare.co.uks weird policy of one of you having paid, I keep going on her profile in the hopes she'll call me again! grin

I think I'm a bubbly person who comes across well so I think that once I start having interviews I'll be more reputable with the agencies iyswim? The agency who hooked me up with the last interview are keen to push me on people as apparently the family really liked me but they don't have the jobs which I could apply for unless they were live in jobs, which is a shame!

I was just browsing another thread which had an idea of being paid less until the candidate was qualified and I might see if I can go down that route. Apply for some of the more highly paid (well, £250+net) jobs that are live-in and mention that I'm happy to take a lesser wage if they're happy to support me in getting my qualification by allowing examiners to come observe me and be okay with me taking their kids to the library so I can get books and things like that. Would many parents be willing to do that?

I like the idea of a portfolio of activities too. I may borrow my Nan's foster kids and do some fun bits with them for photos smile I have a load of videos of me and my last charge (8yo) making all sorts of random concotions and blowing up a mini volcano so I'll try get some stills of those too smile

Re applying for jobs and take a lesser wage sounds good, confused. All depends on the employer but i think you will find that if the parents like you, they will be willing to support you to becoming qualified. Not sure about examiners observing you with the kids though, not all parents like that.

Definitely do the portfolio of activities - i've always been impressed with nannies who made the effort to do so.

everyspring Wed 25-May-11 23:25:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

confuseddotcodotuk Thu 26-May-11 00:54:07

sometimes: I thought most employers were happy with observations I must admit, I didn't have a problem with it when I was nannying for two older kdis and quite often the parents of their friends were happy to let me 'borrow' their kids for a few hours to help. I will make sure that I talk about it in interviews as observations are something I don't think that I can pass the course without. I do prefer to go to local nurseries and things for my own obs though I must admit.

I'll definately get to work on the portfolio business, will have two parts to it possibly, recipes and recipes for disaster experiments/activities grin I like having recipes on hand as I'm rubbish at being spontaneous and get ideas from them, so I'll group them for my own use once in a job too and the families can see my idea of a half-decent meal wink

everyspring: I thought that would be the situation for many. I'm trying to sort out the common core skills course at the moment but need to wait until I can pop to a library and get the application form printed for it (broken printer, typical, only breaks when I want to use it! grin). I'm looking at using MNT, who will be making a fair deal from me in the coming months! grin

catepilarr Thu 26-May-11 01:16:58

i feel your pain. i was in a similar situation a few years ago. had a year off uni and wanted to spend it working as mh/nanny (having had some ap and mh experience). found a family but had to leave due to health problems i developed in their house. so my time available was running shorter (people wanted a year min, 10 months wasnt enough), i wasnt sure where i stand with my health problem and the family was obviously saying something not very good about me when families called for a reference. most of families i went for an interview for didnt want to pay tax or paid ridiculously low wage (like 100 for a 50 hour week). ended up working in a hostel that year...
found nice family some time later though and now i am about to start my first proper nanny job in the summer. good luck.
ps. it might be good idea to postpone saving for your travel and just get yourself a job and take it from there.

confuseddotcodotuk Thu 26-May-11 08:25:43

catpilarr: Thanks for sharing the experience! I'm worried about the no tax/low wage thing and am trying to use agencies to avoid being in that situation myself. It's amazing what some people think they can get away with!

I've actually been putting nannying off the past few years because of a boyfriend even though I had quite a few job offers, especially when I had half-completed my NVQ3 in 08/09 and a lot of people on here offered me and bf couple ap work so I could finish it but he wouldn't go with it.

Now I've kind of figured to bugger all else and do what I enjoy doing before I'm stuck in yet another seasonal job grin

However I can't afford to put off travelling saving because I don't plan to go for 2-4 years (basically will go when a job or maybe two come to their natural end) and plan to be gone for 4 years, I can't put it off any longer because quite a few countries won't issue working holiday visas to over 29's, and going later would mean pushing on that boundary too much later on in my trip, so I'll desperately need any money I can get in that time. Especially as I'lll be spending most of my savings so far on nannying qualifications!
I have, up until now, been saving half of my wages (min wage, 40hr a week jobbies), which is what I need to be saving in order to support myself for so long abroad and give me the opportunities I want like working with the orangutangs in Borneo, child-led voluntary work in Asia/Russia and conservation work in South America, South Africa (elephants!) and the others. Funnily enough I plan to AP/nanny whilst I'm away too grin

I'm very excited about my travel plans as you may be able to tell :D
Up until now it's all I've had to get me through the dull and rubbish jobs I've had, now I'm doubly excited as I can try to get a foot in the nannying door and do what I love for a few years and save to travel at the same time. Amazing stuff grin

candr Thu 02-Jun-11 13:17:22

Hi, the family I worked for had had au pairs for 6 months at a time and they were all young and looking for a substitute family. I was older and had worked in nurseries etc which appealed to them. They need to know that you respect boundries, can be firm but fair and can think creativly on your feet. I did not worry about portfolio's etc but asked the children what kind of things they liked doing and their favourite activites in school. Had lunch with the family and found that a balance as the table manners were not all that but did not feel I should intervene at that point. I did make sure that when the child asked me to do something I got htem to say please infront of parents and they later told me they were pleased with that. They wanted someone they could trust to make the right decisions and would be fun and caring with their kids. Don't under sell yourself either, if you know you are good with kids and being creative make sure they know it too. I foun a nice house in the countryside with a family that commuted to London so best of both words. best of luck

frakyouveryverymuch Fri 03-Jun-11 05:05:29

You know you want to come work for me grin Travel + experience...albeit with a screamy refluxy baby!

Seriously though you are doing all the right things and it will fall into place eventually.

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