Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Marketing Yourself in a Down Market

Many nannies are impacted by the economic upheaval plaguing most of our country. It is frustrating for professional candidates with impeccable credentials, years of experience, and the continued passion to do this as a career, not a hobby.

As an agency director, we have been in the midst of a very confusing situation for both potential employers and nanny candidates. Many parents ask, "Are salaries, down"? Nanny applicants ask, "Do you have any jobs"? There is an increased and in many cases, painful, time lag between when nannies first appear on the market and secure a position. Candidates that were snapped up even a year ago find that they will have to play more of a waiting game. Tough times. Tough times call for a marketing strategy for nannies.

Here are some tips:

1. Do research and determine what your current market value range is.

2. Think out of the box. Be creative in coming up with ways in which the salary and benefits package you seek could appeal to concerned prospective employers.

3. Sharpen up your resume and tweak for typos and misspellings. Make sure that it is updated and highlights your strengths.

4. Every nanny has a special talent or skill set that will appeal to a certain market. After an honest assessment go after your target market. Eg. if you have a knack for relating to teens don't go after new parents. Maybe you have had much success in working for dual career doctors or professors. Make it your practice to pursue those types of employers.

5. Shop around for and use a professional nanny agency. Agencies will be able to market you and assure clients that you are well worth what you expect, even in this down market. Parents who use agencies are not looking for deals- they seek quality over all other factors.

6. If you don't already have one, assemble a nanny portfolio including your resume, certifications, recommendations, honors and awards and examples of your actual work as a nanny. Make sure that you keep this updated.

7. Dress for success. We are often asked what one should wear to a nanny interview. Best advice is to wear casual but professional slacks (khakis are fine) and a tailored sweater or shirt. Wear sensible shoes and look ready for action with children. Light on the make up, and no perfume. Leave your cell or blackberry in the car. Long and painted nails are not usually a big hit with parents.

8. Be reasonable about salary and be prepared to negotiate. You might not make as much as you could have made a year or even two years ago but with the right family and job description you might be more content then waiting months for the "perfect" offer. You might include performance reviews and options for raises/bonuses in the work agreement that you sign off on.

9. Show passion and interest. Most parents want to know that you are going to be excited and actively engaged with their children. Working parents really fear that the nanny will end up being a paid custodian. Genuine enthusiasm will give you a competitive edge. Ask lots of questions that demonstrate your understanding of their expectations, job description and qualifications.

10. After every interview follow up with a thank you note. Let the parents know that you think that this could be a great match all around, and why.

American Nanny Company
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  1. When the time comes for an interview, you must be polite! It makes a very bad impression to not use manners at a job interview. Why would someone who is looking for assistance in raising a child hire a person who has poor manners? It is important to be polite and make a good first impression!

    One way to be polite is to be prompt. It isn't respectful to show up to an interview late, so be on time or even early! You should be dressed professionally and neatly. Make sure your clothes are ironed and that they are appropriate for an interview as a nanny. You don't want to wear anything too suggestive and you want to make sure your clothes are kid-friendly. If there are children present at your interview, interact with them- don't hesitate to do so. A parent will appreciate that you took the time to interact with their child. You should also remember to have a smile on your face and to make eye contact, shake hands and thank the person for the opportunity to interview. Try not to use words like, "uh, umm, like, " and speak clearly and succinctly.

    Making a good first impression is key!

  2. Candi, You raise some good points. Sometimes applicants are so anxious about the impression they are making on parents that they do not focus on or interact with the children. Some applicants have suggested that they do not want to be over bearing. I have had clients call and say, "The nanny was lovely but seemed disinterested in the children.
    Thanks for your comment,