Thursday: Stepping up your game in 2013

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By Nanny X

Want to step up your game in 2013? 
Yes. It’s vital that you keep your resume fresh and filled with a wide range of experiences. This will make you more attractive to nanny agencies and more sought after by parents. While it is important to build up solid references and maintain a reputation of loyalty, if your vocation is childcare, you will want to have a keen sense of where your career is heading. Staying with a family beyond five years may simply stagnate your skills and long-term prospects, leading you down a dead-end road of decreasing hours and income. 
Niche nannies like baby nurses and tutor nannies often earn more per hour than generic nannies. Being a niche nanny does require more flexibility but if you’re willing to specialize you could find yourself in demand. How can you specialize? 
Are you good with infants? Have you built up a client base that can attest to your experience? Ask those people if they would consider acting as a reference down the line. Consider taking some evening courses that add credibility to your resume. Basic certificates like CPR and First Aid can be obtained easily through local health centers. If you have built up experience with babies and are self-educated in sleep training, common infant conditions and pediatric nutrition, why not add a feather to your bow and apply for jobs with multiples? Parents with twins are willing to pay more for competent, experienced care-giving.
Is your background in education? Are you proficient with numbers, in the sciences or in literacy? Do you have experience helping your own children with their home-work? Transfer those skills into your resume and apply for jobs working with older children. 
Are you involved in the arts? Are you are an actor or an artist? Do not be shy! Seek work experiences that enhance your natural skills. Consider supplementing your weekday nanny job with weekend work over the Summer in children’s camps or city programs. Look for low-cost evening courses that you can take and add these to your resume. Agencies like Smart Sitter actively source care-givers with additional skills and gifts. 
Don’t earn enough? Consider moving. Urban nannies generally earn more per capita than rural or suburban nannies. Elite nannies who earn high incomes often work for the 1%. This type of employer tends to live and operate in large metropolitan centers like NYC or LA. 

I don’t know where to start. 
Check these out:

Here’s what eNannySource recommends that nannies follow in their job search. 
1. Compile a good nanny resume that includes your education, schools attended and a good description of your job worked in, both nanny jobs and others. A nanny application may be even better since it covers more areas.

2. Get letters of reference from your prior nanny employer and others. If you haven’t worked before get letters of reference from teachers, ministers and other people important in your life.

3. Go online and make online registrations at all of the online nanny agencies and job sites such as you can find.

4. Go to local nanny agencies in your city and make applications there. Find out from your friends which nanny agencies are the most reputable in your area.

5. Have a good picture of yourself to post in your online registrations. Appropriate dress, smiling and it should include only you or you and a child, no one else. Be sure that you’re close enough to be seen in the picture.

6. Write out in a word processor what you want to say about yourself and be sure it’s well written and free of grammar and spelling errors. Be sure to use complete words and punctuation—this isn’t text messaging!

7. Go online and search for appropriate nanny jobs and make your applications for the jobs.

8. Respond promptly to all emails and phone calls.

9. A phone interview is just that, it’s not a casual conversation. Answer the questions completely and stay on point. Find out what you feel you want to know about the job and try to get a sense if you feel the family would be right for you.

10. Arrive at your in-person on time and dressed for a nanny job interview. Be sure to bring your resume, nanny job application form and letters of reference.

I’m afraid to rock the boat in a bad economy. 
Don’t let that hold you back but be cautious. 
By Alison

“Switching jobs is always a risk, even in the best of economic times. And right now, it’s extra risky because if the new job doesn’t work out, the escape route–leaving and finding something else–is far more clogged with people than it used to be.
So if you’re considering switching jobs, here are some factors to consider–anytime, but especially now:
  • You might hate the new job or the culture or the boss. People tend to see only what they want to see when they’re considering a new position, but this is a time when you should be as clear-eyed as possible. Don’t let yourself overlook danger signs or you might jump from one bad situation into another.
  • The new job might pay more, but it also might lay you off in three months. What do you know about the new employer’s financial stability versus your current employer’s?
  • Are the things that are driving you away from your current job things that you might be able to change by speaking up? Or that you might be able to live with more or less happily by changing your perspective?
Obviously, it would be silly to say people should never change jobs in a bad economy. Maybe you can find your dream job, or a way out of a career sinkhole, or a financial windfall. But if there was ever a time to proceed with some extra caution and not leap rashly, it’s now.”
Good advice but that shouldn’t stop you looking. Remember, that opportunities continue to exist even during lean times. Did you know that more millionaires were created during the Great Depression than at any other time period? So keep your eyes open for new opportunities, enlist now with reputable nanny agencies and build up your network of nannies as often jobs arise through the nanny grapevine. If you join a nanny agency but are not ready to change jobs, ask agents not to contact your current employer for a reference. 
Being a nanny is a vocation it is not a series of dead-end jobs. Make 2013 count by taking charge of your future. Seek opportunities and diversify your experiences. Look to refine existing skill-sets and add to these  through further education, certified courses and evening classes. Build up your network of peers and families. Follow childcare trends and stay ahead of the industry. Above all else remember that your career remains your responsibility and that’s a wonderful freedom. 
Nanny X 2013, if reposted please acknowledge the source.