How to write an outstanding CV – advice for Nannies and Governesses/Governors
It is time to update your CV. Odds are, like so many of us, you might find yourself staring blankly at the screen wondering where to start. What is it about talking about ourselves and our professional lives that feels so challenging? Where we find talking about the professional qualities of other people a breeze, that positive, honest, professional appraisal that comes so naturally talking about others can feel laboured and unnatural when we try to write about ourselves.
The odd thing about writing your own CV/resume is that we become very aware that we are trying to impress other people, knowing we will be judged instantly. We want them to look at us in a particular light, one that makes them want to employ us. Yet sometimes the anxiety of speaking about yourself in a confident, although not arrogant manner seems impossible. The good news is it doesn’t have to be! Here at Great British Nannies, we know great CVs. Follow our top advice below for creating an outstanding CV and maximise your chances of getting to interview for that dream job you’ve been waiting for!
First and foremost – relax
The most important thing to do when writing a CV is to relax; to consciously decide that it’s a task you are going to enjoy, rather than dread. After all, it is a great chance to talk positively about yourself and develop your appreciation for your personal and professional qualities. What isn’t great about that?!
Do your research – tailor your CV to the job
A standard CV doesn’t work well for every job. You have to have a real understanding of the role you are applying for. Your CV should be tailored specifically to meet the requirements of the role, assuming you possess the skills to apply for the job in the first place of course. Showing diligence and tailoring your CV appropriately is the best way to maximise your chances of getting your CV to the top of the pile. The best place to show this is in your introductory paragraph sometimes called a personal statement.
Writing a great personal statement / introductory paragraph
The introductory paragraph part of your CV is the best place to show prospective employers that your specific qualifications and experience will benefit them and cover their unique needs. When applying for positions in childcare, specifically Nanny and Governess/Governor roles, it is important to be clear about your approach to child-rearing.
What is it about your style that gets the best out of the children you work with? How do you provide a wonderful environment for the children, ensuring they obtain a desire to learn the educational, social skills, discipline and etiquette you implement into their daily routine? What is it that you can add to their lives that makes you stand out amongst other candidates?
Don’t forget the added extras only you can bring
Do you have any special skills or talents that may prove to be an added benefit to your Nanny/Governess role? Don’t be afraid to list your qualities and potential. If you are a sportsman/woman, musician, cook, artist, writer, poet, photographer, scientist etc… then these skills should be highlighted. Families want to know that the Nanny/Governess they hire not only has experience and qualifications but is a well-rounded and interesting individual.
Nanny/Governess roles are very diverse, but you can bring your personal skills and achievements to any role, with a dash of thought and creativity. You may be able to teach computer skills alongside the required educational, social and etiquette skills, for example. Or teach tennis as well as developing the English Language. Everybody has something unique and rewarding to offer, it is just a case of understanding what it is about you that makes you the ideal candidate.
Once you have a great introductory statement, it is time to think presentation. Presentation and formatting may seem fiddly, but it the first thing any employer will notice, and it is well worth getting this right. Scruffy, badly formatted, and unprofessional-looking CVs won’t often be given a second look – regardless of the wonderful skills you possess. This is so easy to avoid! You don’t need to be a genius on Microsoft Word to create a presentable and aligned CV.
Start with looking up tutorials online and researching pre-formatted templates. These are freely available online and save you a lot of work creating a design from scratch. Notice that many templates are only two pages long. This is the gold standard for the perfect CV. Try to find the balance between detailed and concise. If you can present a CV bursting with quality information at just two pages long, you will be topping the pile straight off!
Spelling and Grammar
It might seem like a simple detail but do not forget to run a spell check! You would be amazed at how many people forget this. Having accurate spelling and grammar is important in putting your best side forwards. After making sure all spelling is correct. Have someone with an eye for detail proofread your CV before you send it out to employers and agencies. With digitally created documents. There really isn’t any excuse for simple errors in spelling and grammar. It may seem a little tedious but in the long run, the extra time and effort will be very much worth it when those interview invites start rolling in!
As a Nanny/Governess, the family almost always like to see a picture attached to the CV. This is another key opportunity to show yourself as a professional and approachable candidate. This is not the time
for a selfie with friends, or to show off your favourite new cocktail dress! The best photographs are head and shoulders, in smart or smart casual attire, against a plain background with good lighting. Think passport photo but with a winning smile!
Must have CV Content
It is important to be thorough and specify as much information as you can when providing your personal details. If you don’t supply the necessary information. The agency/employer is given extra work to do just to get you to the stage applicants with correct information are already at. The easier it is for an employer/agency to contact you if they want to arrange an interview, the better. It is good practice to include the following information of your CV:
· Phone Number.
· Country of residence.
· Date of birth.
· Languages (Mother tongue and other levels – fluent, intermediate, beginner).
These are all details any Nanny agency/employer will require at some point so, rather than have to keep answering the same questions if you are registered to many. It’s probably easier to put all the information into your childcare CV, to begin with.
Next up, your work experience. Make a list starting with your most recent employment first. Ensure you insert the date, your job title, employer and location. It is also important to include brief details of the children you cared for. Abbreviated is standard. Write G3 to indicate you cared for a three-year-old girl. For example:
It is very important to then list what your duties were in that job. Make sure it is clear, and has structure; bullet points are fine. This is the place on your CV to show what you are capable of, what makes you unique, and how amazing it would be for you to be their Nanny/Governess. Make sure you put all work in chronological order and include part-time roles. With job gaps, don’t be afraid to put them in and explain why. It’s better than adding time to other jobs, keeping in mind that in this field, your references will always be checked. Job gaps are not a problem and often gaps are filled with interesting things which add to your value as a rounded individual anyway.
List your education in reverse chronological order. Whether it is an NVQ in childcare, Social Studies, TEFL, A Degree; put it all in there. Include the date, title and institution it was obtained. For example:
· October 2018-April 2019 – Diploma in Montessori Training – New York – USA OR,
· Sept 2012–June 2015 – PGCE in teaching – Goldsmith’s University – London – UK
Highlighting your specific skills is important. They show what you have taken from your work experience and education and what you can bring directly to your new role. What skills do you have that will be directly applicable to the job? Skills obviously include educational, behavioural management, pedagogical skills etc. Can also include languages, musical ability, sporting ability, cooking, first aid, driving, computer skills, photography etc. Put all the skills you genuinely have here. The skills section is a good way to also show off your interests. This gives employers a more rounded picture of who you are / what you could bring to their home.
Finally, don’t forget to add your references; simply writing ‘available on request’ makes it more difficult for a childcare agency to check them, as well as your potential employer. Speak with your previous employer/educator who has agreed to be your referee. Make sure they are prepared to take a call on your behalf as you are applying for new jobs. When adding your reference details to your CV, there is no need for lengthy company addresses and full details of the position. Simply provide their name, dates employed, position, telephone number, and email address. E.g.
Providing the employer with the details is a way for them to quickly gain some more information about you as a Nanny/Governess. Feel comfortable enough to go ahead and interview you. It is another thing worth putting the time and effort into getting right.
Stay ahead of the pack
Following the above advice is the best way to get the attention of agencies and prospective employers and show them your professional and personal skills. We guarantee such simple adjustments to your CV will put you ahead of applicants who did not take the time to be thorough.
Once you have a great document to show off your skills, don’t forget to keep updating them! Employers love nothing more than evidence that the applicant is dedicated to their career and their practice. Gaining additional qualifications. Evidencing ongoing professional development on your CV is a great way to show just that.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualifications are always highly regarded by families (for example, TEFL, or CELTA). As are specific qualifications in childcare (see CACHE.org.uk for examples of training available).
If you are looking for a more targeted course in Governessing, Great British Nannies runs our own popular online course. Developed specifically for Governesses/Governors. Our students have found the course unique in its focus on Governessing as a career. Our feedback indicates that it provides a highly valuable learning experience, with the added bonus of looking great on your CV at the end! Check out the first module of our Great British Nannies Governess Course completely free.
If you have any other top tips for writing amazing CVs, or if you follow our advice and have a great experience. Please let us know! We wish you all the best for your job hunt!
Great British Nannies