Tips on how to apply for nanny positions, by Annemarie – Founder of the Australian Nanny Association
Do I need a cover letter?
A cover letter is not required unless specified, but it does often help to give a brief introduction, explain why you are interested in the position, and give an overview of your relevant experience. It can also give more insight into your philosophy and training. Your resume then backs that up with more details.
Employers often receive multiple applications and may only have time to briefly look at your CV. If your CV is not highlighting your ability to handle key responsibilities of the role, then that potential employer may discard your application or may need to reach out to you for further information before considering moving forward.
Resumes – why do I need one?
Your resume showcases who you are, your experience, your training, and previous positions held. It does not need to include every specific detail of your previous positions, but should give a clear overview. It should include your name and contact details, and list any certifications you hold (such as your Working With Children Check and First Aid). You might consider including a head and shoulders photo at the top as well. You do not need to include your date of birth or nationality, but if you are on a visa you should include this information to avoid confusion.
Setting out your resume in reverse chronological order (from present to past) is the best way to list your previous employment and make it much easier for the employer to review your application. I recommend listing basic information such as the length of time you were employed at that location, the ages of the children at commencement, the nature of the role (full-time/casual, etc), and a brief overview of the duties without going into too much detail.
References / Referees
Always check with your referees to confirm that they are ok speaking with prospective employers, and it is polite to give them a heads up when someone may be calling soon.
I do not recommend including referee contact details at the application stage. If both you and the employer are interested in moving forward then there will be an appropriate time to provide that important information at a later stage.
Pay – when is the right time to discuss it, and what is a pay range?
When you see a job advertised with a pay range, it typically means that there is room for negotiation. In order to negotiate for the higher end of the pay scale, you need to be able to show why you are worth it. For example, if you hold relevant qualifications, have extensive experience, or have certain relevant key skills (such as another language, or training in a specific area) that you will use on the job to benefit the family then that will make you stand out amongst other candidates.
Why hasn’t the employer responded to me about my application or interview?
In most cases employers will get back to you to either request an interview during the recruitment stage or to let you know you haven’t been successful in your application. This doesn’t always happen and typically that is because the employer has become overwhelmed with applicants. It is polite for employers to let applicants know the outcome of their application and is really something that should always be done, even if weeks later. Never be afraid to follow up politely if you need an answer or update before you have received one.
Being offered the position or declining the position
Sometimes an employer will put a formal offer to you in writing with the pay rate, hours, and other basic details. Other times they will offer verbally. They will then usually – but not always – offer you a contract to confirm the terms of employment. If you have been offered a job but not a contract, it is really important to discuss putting together a contract/work agreement so that your employment rights, working conditions, and expectations are in writing and confirmed with signature by both you and your employer. At this time you can choose to either accept or decline the position.
Declining a position can be done verbally or in writing.
Establishing a contract and getting started
If you receive an offer and you are interested but want to ask for changes to the contract, do so either verbally or in writing. This is called the negotiation process and is common with most jobs. Sometimes the negotiations go back and forth until a happy medium is agreed on, and other times it may just be a minor change. Once everything is confirmed in writing and everyone is happy, then you commence on the agreed date.
Your employer should set up a periodical pay period and provide payslips to you. Some employers manage this themselves and others use a payroll service.
In your contract it is likely you have an agreed probationary period – generally around 3 months. This comes under the Fair Work National Employment Standards and gives both employee and employer the opportunity to ensure the arrangement is going to work. During this time there is usually less notice required to end the arrangement. A review is typically held at the 3-month mark to discuss how things are going and confirm whether both parties are happy to commit to continuing on.