Blog > Interview tips

Top Ten Tips for Your Résumé

How do I write a CV that gives me the best chance of a good job in childcare or education?

1. Include photos of you at work - good ones!

When families or recruiters look at your résumé, it is a lot easier for them to picture you in the role you are applying for if you can provide photographs of yourself at work. It is a great opportunity to show an employer that you are both presentable and professional. It is particularly poignant for families to see images of you demonstrating any specialist knowledge you have - be it playing chess with a student, coaching a sport, reading, or simply a photo together with happy kids. Just make sure that you have the parents' permission to share the photos before sending them along with any application you make. 

 

2. Spellcheck!

As a recruiter, you wouldn’t believe the amount of CVs I look through that are littered with spelling and grammatical errors; and sadly most of them will never be put in front of any family as they come across as unprofessional. Furthermore, an agency can quickly lose faith in a candidate who makes mistakes in their application; we have to ask ourselves if the candidate really cares about getting the job.

If spelling and grammar are not your strong points, ask a friend to look through your CV and use a spellchecker to back it up. Most common mistakes include the use of apostrophes (please never use them to make a word plural!) and not capitalising proper nouns. Forgetting the capital ‘E’ in English is unforgivable if you are applying for any role as a native English speaker!

Grammarly is a great free app that can help you with this

 

3. Include your relevant work experience only

If you are applying for a role as a nanny or a governess, your part-time job working as an assistant in a coffee shop when you were sixteen will detract from your CV rather than adding to it. For your best chance of getting the role you want, only include work that is relevant to the position you are applying for now. The best CVs are the ones that are tailored to the role and include only the qualifications and work experience which the employer is likely to see as useful. As a general rule, work experience more than fifteen years ago is rarely relevant. Removing unnecessary work experience will also help to keep the length of your CV down; you want it to be as concise and easy to read as possible.

 

4. Write a covering letter

A covering letter is a great way to summarise YOU to an agency or employer. It is often as simple as a short email which accompanies your CV and explains who you are to the agency or employer. Your covering letter should include your own personal summary (name, location, availability, etc.) and the skills you have that make you a good candidate for the position available. If you have relevant work experience that you can quickly summarise, put this here too. For example, your cover email may read:

 

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I am writing to express my interest in role JIC1 as displayed on your website. My name is Anne and I am a 35-year old nanny from Epson, Surrey in the UK. I believe I would be a great fit for this role as I have recently completed a four-year contract working for a family in London and I am looking for something new. I am a fully qualified nanny with a clean background check. I also speak French and play the piano; skills which I feel I could incorporate into this role. Please find my CV and relevant certificates and photographs attached, and note that I can provide letters of recommendations upon request. I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards,

Anne Smith

 

Remember to try and keep your covering letter short (under 200 words) wherever possible; remember that it should accompany your CV, not replace it!

 

5. Watch the length!

It is to your benefit to provide a CV which is as easy on the eye as possible. Many employers groan when they open a résumé to find that it is ten pages long, with reams and reams of irrelevant material. The ideal length for a CV is two pages; if you really do have a lot of relevant qualifications and work experience that cannot be summed up concisely you may wish to venture onto a third page, but more than this is hardly ever advisable. Try to cut out any work experience that is very short term, unrelated to the role you are applying for, or longer than fifteen years ago. In this way you make your CV accessible and appropriate to your role, giving you the best chance of being put forward for the position.

 

6. Keep your personal and contact information updated and thorough

Believe it or not, many candidates put forward a CV and then later send a follow-up email saying that the contact details on the CV are not correct. Changes to phone numbers and Skype addresses are all common occurrences, but make sure you keep them up to date on your CV! If you only add these details as an afterthought they can easily be lost; employers end up calling the number on your CV only to find out that it is no longer in use and you lose your opportunity. This also looks unprofessional, and you want to put your best self forward for every role; keep those contact details updated!

 

 7. List your qualifications and experience in reverse chronological order

It is a lot easier for an employer or agency to understand where you are right now if they can read through your most recent qualifications and experience first. You want the person reading your résumé to be impressed with your suitability for the post from the outset; they can make their own way to the earlier and less relevant information in time. Remember, you are putting your best self forward so make this a chance to demonstrate your most recent achievements.

 

8. Make your résumé easy to read

As well as being limited to (ideally) two pages, it is a good idea for your CV to be clean and clearly laid out. Use a sensible font like Arial, Calibri or Verdana. Comic Sans was great at school but to an employer, it may look childish and unprofessional. Similarly, keep the font size sensible (11 or 12 is ample big enough for most fonts) and avoid crushing information together. Keep it sensibly spaced and make the extra room by removing any sections that are not required for an application for the role in question.

 

 9. Attach relevant supporting documents with sensible names 

If you have photographs, certificates or copies of qualifications that you can attach along with your CV to support your application, give them sensible names! First of all, this ensures you continue to come across as professional; you want the employer to receive a photo named ‘Annebackgroundcheck.jpg’ or ‘photofromwork1.jpg’, not ‘zzzzz.jpg’ or ‘chillingout.jpg’! Naming the files properly also means it is easier for them to be sorted and then found again at a later date, making your application process one that is comfortable and easy to follow for all parties.

 

 

10. Lay out your previous work experience with duties and results - what did you achieve? 

Finally - when listing your previous work experience, rather than just filling a paragraph, try and break it up and make it easy to read. When did you work there? What were your duties? And most importantly - how did you manage? Did your charges improve their school results, learn a new skill, get better at reading? Did their behaviour see improvements? Did they pass any exams or go through any significant changes whilst under your care? Remember that what your employer really wants is to see results in their child’s development and education as well as care for his/her well-being. Take this chance to show the potential employer the results you’ve had before and what you can do, and you’ll do great!

 

What makes your resume look great? Leave and comment and let us know! 

 

Register as a job seeker with Jobs in Childcare to apply for jobs and to receive information on excellent international tutor, nanny and governess vacancies worldwide.