09 Nov The Nanny Portfolio (8 tips for making it perfect)
Finding the perfect pairing of nanny and family is a combination of instinct, interview skills, and research into both the client’s needs and wishes, and the prospective employee. (And okay, a dollop of luck, too!)
As a professional nanny, you can speed the process up and make sure you’re paired with the right family by compiling a “nanny portfolio.” Some might say, “What? You mean a resume?” No, not just a resume. A portfolio is much, much more. And we assure you that it isn’t just those employed in the “outside” world who need them; they are an ideal way for you to offer an employer a thorough summary of your skills, experience, certifications and other accomplishments that made you the nanny you are today. In other words, a portfolio is your professional life at a glance.
What should a portfolio contain? We’re here to give you a selection of ideas about that; you will probably have at least a few of your own to add when you’re designing it. But these are inclusions we consider absolutely necessary. For instance:
Naturally good references are crucial when you’re seeking a new position. However, it’s best not to wait until the day you resign to ask a current employer for a sterling reference (in writing) to give to a new one. Explain that you simply want to keep your portfolio current, and your employer’s opinion is a key component of that. Having this conversation while you’re still working for someone also opens up the chance to discuss how and where you can improve your performance before moving on to a different family.
2. Education Certificates
Whether you attended college, university, or some different post-secondary institution, including diplomas, degrees and other certificates is vital. Saying you spent a year at the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris is one thing; proving you graduated with honors is another. Or perhaps you took a night school class in vegan cooking at a community college; it may not offer a diploma, but be sure to include verification that you attended and completed the course.
If you’re able to drive anything bigger or more unwieldy than a car, offer copies of those licenses. Or if you do not currently have a drivers license, get one! Also if you have an international driver’s license, prove it – as that’s a huge advantage for any family that travels overseas. for vacations or business.
4. Background Checks, CPR, & More
For many families, running a police check isn’t mandatory; as an Elite Nanny, you don’t have anything to hide! But seeing a formal police check on paper that confirms your record is squeaky clean just goes the extra mile, and many employers appreciate seeing it in black and white, so to speak. The same goes for CPR training, and any other medical courses you may have completed.
5. Formal Hobby Training
By this we mean, for example, let’s say you are an experienced swimmer with formal training that won you a variety of awards in competitions. Include those ribbons! Employers feel much more secure with a nanny on vacation who doesn’t just watch the children at the beach, but is able to intervene if (heaven forbid) one of them swims out too far. And if you are a certified life guard, so much the better. The same goes for horseback riding, or gymnastics, or any other sport that has earned you certificates and/or recognition. Including this evidence of your accomplishments will be greatly appreciated by any prospective employer.
6. Accomplishments With Kids
Include a list of the growth stages you’ve dealt with before: helping a child learn to walk, use the potty, and tie their own shoe laces, and anything else on the ladder to independence. These are particularly important if the family who needs you has a newborn at home; new parents are reassured knowing their nanny has dealt with (for example) a colicky baby in the past.
7. Language Courses
Many parents today are anxious for their children to learn more than one language. If you are bilingual, or multilingual, demonstrate it in your portfolio. If you learned a second language at your own parent’s knee rather than by taking a formal course, you can still use it in your portfolio. Write a brief essay in, say, Spanish, explaining why you think you’re the perfect nanny for this family. Seeing that you can write in a language other than English, as well as speak it, will knock the socks off the prospective employer — trust us on that!
8. Include a ‘Sample’ Timetable
Create a chart that demonstrates how you might spend time with your charges. What does the average day look like when you’re in the home? Break it down hourly, so parents can see when you would do the shopping, cooking and supervision of a child’s homework. Include anything that shows how well organized you are, even with multiple children in the home.
These are just some of the elements you should include in your nanny portfolio. You can create one that’s in a binder, or a photo album, or almost anything else that looks like a professionally collected series of documents. The goal is making it easy to peruse at a glance, but ensuring that what’s contained therein is substantial and verifiable. Don’t let your portfolio get too “cutesy” — remember, this is support material that proves your professionalism, not a walk down memory lane. It will remain with the family you hope to work for, at least for a little while, after your initial interview. Think of your portfolio as proof you are who you say you are, you’ve done what you say you’ve done, and loved the families you’ve worked for in the past. It’s the paper version of you!
We at Elite Nannies are more than happy to help guide you in the creation of your nanny portfolio. Get in touch with us at your convenience, for a confidential consultation. Who knows? Your portfolio just might lead you to your dream family through Elite Nannies!