Once you have officially made the decision to become an au pair, have understood the requirements and have chosen an agency, you will begin your application.
The application can be lengthy and you must use your time efficiently. Aside from filling in an application that will be published online for potential host families to find you, as part of your application, you must upload an introduction video, write a letter to your potential host family and add a few photos to your profile. Yes, it’s kind of like filling out an application for a dating site, but the more information the better the match.
Here are some tips on your application, letter to your host family, video and photos based on the requirements of the agency I used (AUPAIRCARE):
- Photo format: JPEG
- Stay away from multiple selfies
- Upload authentic childcare photos (Have someone behind the scenes take photos at random while you play/work with kids)
- Add captions to your photos (good descriptions)
- Add photos of you and your family (If you have any pets, BONUS!)
- Avoid photos in swimsuits, with boy/girlfriend, at parties (clubbing), with alcohol. (These photos may dissuade families and are seen by potential host kids, be child-friendly)
VIDEO REQUIREMENTS & TIPS:
- Length: 1 min (minimum) to 3 mins (maximum)
- Format: MPEG, MOV, AVI, WMV or FLV
- Film your video in a quiet place, your videos sound quality is important!
- Good lighting is MAJOR KEY! (Dull videos aren’t very persuasive)
- Make eye contact with the camera when you are speaking. (THERE MUST BE FOOTAGE OF YOU SPEAKING)
- Speak clearly, slowly and smile, naturally!
- Think of this as a 21st-century resume, dress appropriately, brush your hair and don’t blabber about stuff you wouldn’t tell a potential employer.
- DON’T START WITH “HELLO HOST FAMILY” After watching my host family go through this process, after a while you start hating those words. Be creative!
- DO add action video snippets of you working with kids, involving kids is a good idea!Whilst completing my application, I was taking care of my one-year-old sister, I added videos of our daily routine and adventures in my video (BROWNIE POINTS ACHIEVED!)
- Make use of any talents or musical abilities.
- Don’t forget to thank host families for watching your videoHost families go through more than a dozen videos a day, after a while, it gets very tiring watching every 20 something girl say “Hello host family, my name is…” – BE CREATIVE, sing your introduction, rap your introduction, anything unique and outside of the box will earn you a lot of attention and will keep host families interestedDon’t spend 3 mins talking in a monotonous voice, switch it up, don’t be boring, host families WILL NOT watch the whole video
- The first 30 seconds are the most critical if you do not grab their attention chances are they will exit and put you in the nope pile (there is a nope pile, seriously!)
- Be honest, and show your bubbly side.
HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS & IDEAS YOU CAN INCORPORATE IN YOUR VIDEO:
- Why do you want to be an au pair?
- Why should the host family choose you?
- Share your childcare experience
- What do you like most about taking care of children?
- Share your personal interests, skills and educational background/goals (Your host family wants to know you better)
- Talk about your country, what traditions you want to share?
LETTER TO HOST FAMILY:
- Introduce yourself again, add more detail to who you are. (Think of it as an elaboration to the points mentioned in your video)
- Talk about your family: your siblings, do your parents support your decision to become an au pair
- DON’T talk about how much you will miss your family and friends, this might cause host families to think you won’t be able to handle this commitment.
- Be positive.
- Take your time completing the application
- Gather your references well in advance, giving the ample time to complete the formsAt least 3 non-family child care references and 3 personal references from people who know you well and will not be biased. You can pick the best ones to go in your applicationYou will need 1 personal reference and 2 childcare references.
- Go to your family physician and get a verified medical history note from him/her. Good health is important.
- Read through the agreement before signing and handing it over. Make sure you understand everything and ASK FOR HELP if needed.
Here is a link to the AUPAIRCARE APPLICATION: Application form and agreement
This should assist you in knowing what information any documents are necessary. Your agent will assist you further with any questions needed!