While working as an au pair interviewer and counselor it was my job to check my girls’ online applications. Yes there certainly were very, very good applications and yes, some girls definitely put more effort into it than others, but in general there is NO such thing as the ‚perfect application‘! What seems perfect to one person, doesn’t necessarily seem perfect to another. Things like that are always highly subjective since thankfully everybody is different. In the end you should be the one who considers your own application as: “The best I could do”.
I still wanna give you some inside knowledge along the way though on how to make the best out of your online application:
First of all I highly encourage you to be 100% honest when filling out your online application. It neither helps you nor your future host family if you pretend to be somebody you are not. Don’t lie about your childcare experience. Don’t lie about your medical history. Don’t lie about your hobbies. Just don’t lie in general. This applies to the personal interview also. The family should like and accept you the way you are. You are just perfect the way you are.
BE AUTHENTIC! BE HONEST! BE UNIQUE! BE YOU!
Read and Listen
I am quite sure your agency provides you with a lot of information about how to apply for the au pair job (via e-mail, handbook, website, personal phone calls etc.). Please read and listen to the instructions they give you. Even though it seems like a lot of paper work it’s a good preparation for your future au pair life.
Work together with your counselor
If you have a counselor/interviewer who is guiding you through your application process, you should definitely see her/him as your coach. Your counselor is there to help you to make the best out of your application but she/he can’t do it for you, they are not your babysitter! All they can do is coach you and give you advice. Listen to her/him, answer calls, reply to e-mails, act reliable, comply with a term, ask questions, say what you think and be on time. It’s never wrong to leave a good impression.
Show what you’ve got
Make sure that your application represents YOU. What are you passionate about? What do you love? What are you good at? Maybe a sport? Music? Writing? Sewing? Baking? Do you have certificates or talents? What did you do in the past? What do you do with the kids you look after? What do you enjoy doing with children in general? Show in your application how awesome you are and why the family should pick you as their next au pair. Every one of you is great in their very own way.
Know what you want
Usually you are able to choose right away whether or not you want to work for example with toddlers, special needs children, more than one child etc. Some of you may not care at all how old the kids of the host family are or how many kids there are and that’s perfectly fine. For those of you though who DO know exactly what kind of family they are looking for it’s crucial to realize what you can handle. How to find out.
Age and experience certainly help to know what you want. When I decided to au pair again at the age of 25 (without an agency) I knew exactly what kind of family I was looking for. Why? Because I au paired in the past, because I worked for an au pair agency and because I had time to get to know myself. In my online application I wrote things like: ‚I want to be treated as an adult … curfews won’t work for me … you should be interested in showing me your culture and lifestyle … I don’t want to work more than ? hours a week … I want to be off on weekends … I don’t see myself as a cleaner nor house made …‘
I didn’t care how many families my profile attracts. At this point I was confident enough to express my wishes and needs since I also had a lot of life and work experience to offer.
Your online application is going to be your ‚business card‘. After looking at it the families decide whether they wanna get in touch with you or not. Make sure your application is accurate. Try to do your best. It’s so worth it. Especially when you wish to find a family that suits you. In the end you should be happy and proud about your own application, not your counselor or anyone else. You are looking for a good dictionary? Use dict.cc – it’s the best!
Pictures and Video
What do you think families go for when they open your application? Right! Your application video and the pictures you uploaded. You never go wrong with pictures that show you working with children. Party pics are probably not the best choice for a job in childcare. The video is definitely the first thing they will look at though. You can find several application videos on YouTube. Look at them and find out what you like. By the way, you also figure that the family will try to google you and look at your Facebook profile, right? You might wanna check if you are fine with what they may find.
Keep your application updated
Depending on how long in advance you start looking for a host family, I encourage you to keep your online profile up to date. Don’t forget that you wanna show off here, so once you increased your childcare hours for example, you wanna make sure that you modify it in your application.
Improve your Au pair skills
I already wrote about the importance of improving your skills in order to make the au pair experience an enjoyable one. These practical skills will certainly help you and your applications outer appearance. (How to improve your Au pair skills)
I truly hope that this post is helping you. Please never forget that your profile doesn’t have to please every single host family out there. You are not the right au pair for every family and not every family is the right host for you. Stay true to yourself. I totally get that most of you wish to attract as many host families as possible in order to have a big choice. But think about it: Do you really have to appeal every family? Even the families that don’t match you at all because they don’t accept your tattoo for example or the fact that you are a vegetarian or that you are allergic to pets? Why would you even wanna attract families that don’t suit you at all?
Always keep in mind that you probably plan to stay with this family for a whole year. It is a long time when you don’t feel comfortable with each other. That’s why my golden rule is: Be you!
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