Your CV is the first step towards finding your dream childcare or tutoring role. It is your chance to impress upon the agency and ultimately the employer that you are a professional and experienced candidate with the right personality for a great position. Read on for top tips from our recruitment team and ensure that your CV helps you put your best foot forward.
1. Keep your personal and contact information updated and thorough
Believe it or not, many candidates submit their CV and before long send a follow-up email saying that, in fact, the contact details they provided are incorrect. It is perfectly acceptable that your phone number or Skype address has changed, but make sure you come across as professional and well-organised by checking that they are updated on your CV! If you send your contact information in a separate email you also risk it being misplaced; employers may call the number on your CV, find out that it is no longer in use and give up – so you miss your opportunity. Don’t make this mistake!
2. List your qualifications and your work experience in reverse chronological order
It is far easier for an employer (or indeed a nanny or governess agency) to understand your current work situation if they can look at your CV and see your most recent qualifications and experience listed first. Naturally you want the person reading your CV to understand your suitability for the post as soon as they start reading; later on they can read about your previous experience and the things you did longer ago. Use your résumé to demonstrate your recent achievements first.
3. Include relevant work experience only
From the perspective of an employer hoping to interview a suitable nanny or a governess, your part-time job working in McDonalds as a teenager detracts from your CV rather than adding to it. To make sure you get the job you want, only include work experience that is related to the role you are applying for now. The best CVs are those well tailored to the position, and including only the qualifications and experience which the employer will see as useful. As a general rule of thumb, work experience over fifteen years ago is rarely relevant. The removal of unnecessary work experience will also help you to keep the length of your résumé down; you want your CV to be as clear, concise and easy to read as possible.
4. Add duties and results to your work experience – what did you achieve?
Make it easy for the employer to fully understand your previous work experience by using summary points for each role. When did you work there? Why did you leave? What were your duties? And most importantly – what results did you achieve? Did your charges progress at school, learn a new skill or improve their reading? How did their behaviour change? When did they pass any particular exams or gain entrance to a certain school whilst under your care? Remember that what your employer really wants to see is results. Use your résumé to demonstrate to a potential employer what you’ve achieved before and what you can do for them.
A surprising amount of CVs submitted come littered with spelling and grammatical errors. Sadly most of them will never be put in front of any potential employers, because they come across as unprofessional. If the candidate hasn’t put the effort in to check their résumé, do they really care about getting the job?
If spelling and grammar are not your strong points, that’s fine! Ask a friend to have a look through your CV, or go over it using a spell checker like Grammarly. The most common mistakes include the use of apostrophes (please do not use apostrophes to make a word plural!) and not capitalising proper nouns.
6. Make your résumé easy to read
Ideally, your CV will be limited to two pages and should be clean and clearly laid out. Please use a sensible font such as Arial, Calibri or Verdana. Perhaps Comic Sans was suitable for when you were at school, but to an employer it may come across as childish and unprofessional. Equally, you should keep the font size sensible (11 or 12 is an appropriate size for most fonts) and avoid squashing the information in your CV together. Keep your CV sensibly spaced and make the extra room by removing any sections that are not relevant to the role in question. Avoid photos that are not relevant to your application – it’s great that you’re patriotic but a photo of the Eiffel Tower doesn’t tell us anything about you.
7. Watch the length of your résumé
It is in your own interest to provide a résumé which is as easy to read as possible. Opening a résumé to find that it is ten pages long is not pleasant for an employer; and you can be sure that not all this material is relevant. The ideal length for your CV should be two pages. If you really have a lot of relevant qualifications and work experience and there is no way to sum it up concisely you can of course venture onto a third page, but this is rarely advisable. Instead, cut out work experience that is very short term, irrelevant to the role you are applying for, or took place longer than fifteen years ago. Make your CV accessible and well-suited to the role you are applying for for the best chance of getting an interview.
8. Include quality photos of you at work
When a family or a recruiter looks at your CV, they will find it much easier to picture you working in the position you are applying for if you can provide photos of yourself working. Adding photos is a great way to show an employer that you are both presentable and professional. It may also be helpful for families to see photos of you demonstrating any specialist skill you have – be it playing chess with a student or teaching a sport. Equally, photos teaching or spending time with happy kids can be beneficial. Please do make sure you have the parents’ permission before sharing photos of their children as part of your application.
9. Include relevant supporting documents (with sensible file names)
If you are attaching photographs, certificates or copies of your qualifications together with your CV as part of your application, make sure you give the files sensible names! Reasoning for this is twofold – firstly, you come across as professional (in your employer’s eyes, a photo named ‘Johnbackgroundcheck.jpg’ or ‘photofromwork2.jpg’ is a lot more professional than ‘zzz123.jpg’ or ‘mechilling.jpg’. Secondly, naming the files properly means they can be more easily sorted and later found again by you our your employer, thus your application is one that is comfortable and easy to track for all involved.
10. Write a covering letter
Every CV submission should include a short covering letter which summarises YOU to an agency or employer. The letter can simply be a short email with your CV attached, explaining who you are to the agency or employer. The covering letter should include your own personal summary (name, location, current work status, etc.) and a brief outline of the qualifications or skills that make you the perfect candidate for the position available. Relevant work experience that can be quickly summarised can go here too. A short, sensible cover email may read something like this:
Dear Sir/ Madam,
I am writing to express my interest in role FG1000, as displayed on your website. My name is John Peterson and I am a 32-year old governor from Manchester, in the UK. I believe my background in teaching and my PGCE make me a great fit for this role. Recently I have completed a four year contract working in an international school in China and I am looking for something new. I hold a TEFL certificate and a clean background check. I also speak Spanish and play the guitar; skills which I feel could be useful in this role. Please find my CV and relevant certificates and photographs attached to this email. I’m ready to submit references and letters of recommendation upon request. Hoping to hear from you soon.
Try to keep your cover letter short (ideally under 200 words); and remember that it should supplement your CV, not replace it.