Writing A Great Résumé

It's a tough economy, even in the nanny world.  If you're looking for a new position, Northshore Professional Nanny Agency is always looking for great candidates!  Although I would love to be the one to place all of you, I recognize that there are several routes to go about getting a new position:  brick and mortar agencies, online agencies and word of mouth/networking being the most common.  However you proceed, you will need to start out with one indispensable piece of paper:  your résumé.

I recently read a great article by Kerry Hannon who interviewed Tony Beshara, author of Unbeatable Résumés, on how to write, well, a great résumé, of course, which I thought would be very helpful to the nanny populace.  I will paraphrase the best information here along with an added bit of my own:

  • A good résumé is simple and no more than 2 pages 
  • Avoid fancy fonts and layouts; stick to Times New Roman in black on white paper in 9 or 12 size type.  Be consistent and avoid using too much underlining, bold or italics.  Putting your name and who you've worked for in larger type is okay.
  • It is best to create your document in Word so that it can be opened on any computer.  I strongly recommend sending pdf's only, which can be created in newer versions of Word.  Be sure to save the document in both formats so you can make changes easily if necessary.
  • Start with your most recent position and work back, listing the month and year you started and ended and your accomplishments.  You do not need full sentences; you can start with a verb (Transported children to and from school and activities, for instance).
  • Take out the objectives and summaries - they are no longer in vogue; however; with a nanny position, I do recommend writing a personal, open letter to prospective families telling about yourself, why you enjoy being a nanny and what your idea of a nanny position entails.  This letter does not need to contain too much personal information - just stick to the topic of being a nanny - and may be on a separate sheet of paper or in a brief paragraph at the top of the résumé.
  • Avoid overly-used key words and phrases such as 'excellent communication skills.'
  • For most job applications, you should avoid submitting a photo; however, in the nanny world, this is not always true.  Many online nanny sites encourage/insist you use a photo of yourself.  A brick and mortar agency, however, should not request a photo but should be meeting you in person.  Your recommendation to a family should be made on your experience, qualifications and personality - not on how you look.
Keep in mind that a well-written résumé will only help you get an interview.  It is your performance at the interview that gets you the job.  NPNA insists on a 3 step interviewing process beginning with a phone interview, then on to an in-person interview in a public place and, finally, an in-home interview with the family.  NEVER go to a family's home for the first interview unless the agency you are working with has met with the family in advance.  NEVER agree to accept a position with a family without having interviewed extensively and NEVER send a family or an agency any money in order to interview or secure your position.  With that in mind, here are a few more tips:

  • Show up on time.  No excuses.
  • Be put-together - no heavy makeup, perfume, long/elaborate fingernails and wearing modest and sensible attire (this is not the place for mini-skirts, high-heels or low-cut tops).  You should appear as if you're ready to be active with children.
  • Be a good communicator:  make eye-contact, smile, speak clearly and ask plenty of questions.
  • Be a confident professional, without being demanding and without a sense of entitlement.  Understand your obligations as a household employee, as well as your employer's (in case they don't!).
  • NEVER accept a position with a family who refuses to pay you legally or who refuses to work with an employment agreement!
If you have questions, NPNA is happy to help!  If you need more information about household employment taxes or law, work agreements or even just help with putting together a résumé or portfolio, contact NPNA for a Nanny Consultation.  For a small fee of $25, NPNA will provide you with a minimum of one hour of time along with a wealth of information to help you safely and effectively navigate the nanny world - especially beneficial to nannies using online agencies!  Call (262) 573-6678 or email Mary at northshorenanny@gmail.com to find out more or to schedule your consultation.