Guidance

Why host families don’t choose you…

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You have finally made  your decision that you want to become an au pair. You have narrowed the au pair agencies down to one and finally applied to become an au pair. After creating and completing your profile, you submit your background information, upload pictures and your references and then the waiting time to find your host family starts.

After waiting for a couple of days, there is still no match in your profile. Maybe, you even started the application process with another person and they have already multiple matches or may have even finalized with one family. Doubt may set in and maybe you are sad or even confused. Here are some tips that we have from other au pairs on how to stand out and be matched by multiple families.

Profile

When you fill out your application, the letter that you get to write to host families is very important. You get to write a little about yourself, introducing yourself to them. If you don’t take your time and just write a paragraph, you may give the host family the impression that you are not invested and they will pass on getting to know you. If you are not sure, just reach out to other former or current au pairs and see what they included in their letter.

Pictures

Pictures are another window for families to get a better understanding of who you are. Remember, this is not SnapChat or Twitter where you post the best pictures of yourself. If a host family only sees selfies or pictures with your friends, that does not tell them anything of who you are and why they should pick you to be their au pair.

They usually pick au pairs who have included;

  • pictures of the children that they took care of,
  • pictures with/of their family (parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents, etc.)
  • pictures of you and your hobbies (soccer, sailing, horse riding, baking, gardening, etc.)
  • 1-2 pictures with your friends/colleagues
  •  maybe 1-2 selfies

Videos

Host families seem to love watching au pair videos. No, you don’t have to create a Hollywood style video. The video should represent your personality (serious, fun, etc.). You can make one where you…

  • introduce yourself
  • tell the potential host family of why you want to be an au pair
  • show of your English skills
  • introduce your family, friends, etc
  • your driving skills – have a friend record you
  • anything else you would like sharing with a host family (hobbies, talent, etc.)

Experience

Be truthful when it comes to your experience. If you have never babysat children, please don’t apply to become an au pair. Babysit first, to see if this is even something that you would consider doing over the course of 12 months or longer.

In order to take care of children under the age of 2, the Department of State requires au pairs to have at least 200 hours of documented infant childcare experience. However, be detailed in the age range. If you don’t feel comfortable taking care of 6 month old children, but have watched kids that are 12 months and older, then say so.

Different host families look for au pairs with different backgrounds and experiences. Not everybody needs an au pair that is infant qualified.

All host families are just looking for another young person that will help them raise their children; for them to be warm, affectionate, attentive, loving, organized, kind, etc. They are entrusting their babies/kids to you!

Social Media

Host families may like your profile and want to connect with you but decide to check you out on social media and then you never hear from them again. You have to treat this whole process like a job interview where a potential company will check out your social media postings to see if you are the right fit for them. No, I am not telling you to remove pictures. Just consider, what type of picture are you painting with your own?!

Some host families may ask to befriend you to get a better insight of who you are or simply to establish a relationship. Don’t feel forced. You don’t have to. Many au pairs don’t even have Facebook anymore and if they do, they only use it to share pictures and stories with their own families.

Smoking

Smoking is a big NO-NO and majority of the agencies will have you sign a contract confirming that you are a non-smoker; or have at least have not smoked within the last 12 months.

There will always be a small percentage of au pairs that smoke. Just like there will always be a (very) small percentage of host families that don’t care as some may even smoke themselves.

If you are a heavy smoker, don’t think that you can just slide it by a host family. If they are very specific that they are looking for a non-smoking au pair, be honest.

Driving

If you have never driven a car, be honest. If you are driving once per week or a couple of times during the month or daily, please state so on your application. Not all host families need a driver and some don’t even have a car for their au pair.

HOWEVER, if there is a host family that is specifically looking for a driver and you don’t have the experience or feel comfortable, just let them know. Either the host family will decide to look for another au pair or are still willing to match with you and get a driving instructor for you once you join them to help with the adjustments.

Nevertheless, it always depends where you are coming from. According to one of our South African au pairs, she had to have a driver’s license to apply to come to America. But it was not an agency requirement to become an au pair in the USA. However, it is not a requirement to become an au pair in Europe.

Conclusion

Just remember that these are all suggestions and opinions of au pairs that are currently au pairs or have already completed their au pair term. After making the adjustments, you still don’t see a change. Please contact the au pair agency. They are suppose to help you be competitive in the au pair pool.

At the end of the day, you need to remember that your profile needs to be a true representation of who you are!

Written by Sam @ Au Pair Buzz. July 1st, 2018

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