Thinking about becoming an au pair?
Listed below are some things that may be helpful as you consider becoming an au pair.
- Create a file with:
- A letter introducing yourself, including why you want to be an au pair
- 2-3 reference letters from adults in your life that know you and have responsible positions in the community (former employers, teachers, ministers, coaches, etc.)
- Resume / CV- Highlight your previous work experience, training, and education in order to show the potential family. Why they would want to hire you? (for example: first aid training, lifeguard, previous babysitting jobs)
- A recent photo of yourself
- All your contact details (phone numbers, email address, home address, etc.)
- Determine what you want to gain from the au pair experience, for example:
- – Is your primary goal to gain child-care experience?
- – Is it your priority to learn about another culture and learn a new language?
- – Is it your goal to travel and explore new places?
- Do the jobs you are considering help you meet these goals?
- Later in the interview process, make sure to communicate these goals and expectations to the family.
- During the interview process, consider these important areas:
CHILDREN & FAMILY:
At the beginning of the interview, concentrate on the children & family.
What are the ages of the children?
What are their likes/dislikes? Hobbies/interests?
Try to get a good feel for the inner-workings of the family: style of discipline, eating & sleeping habits, daily routines, school-year & summer schedules, etc.
Ask yourself: Do you sense that you could be compatible with the family?
Ask for a job description in writing, so that expectations are CLEAR.
What are your responsibilities and duties?
How many hours a week are you expected to work?
Do you need to drive? Cook? Clean the house?
Do you work evenings? Weekends?
Will you be paid for extra hours worked? If so, at what rate?
Do they live in a house/apartment?
What’s your living arrangement? (Ask them to describe your room/bathroom.)
Do you need public transportation or is there a car available?
If there is a car available for your use:
Who pays for the gas/petrol?
Who pays for damage in case of an accident?
Can you use the car for personal use, or just for work?
If you must take public transportation:
Who pays for the costs?
How far away is the public transportation from the house?
SALARY & BENEFITS:
What is the monthly pay?
How/when will you be paid?
Will the family provide a work permit?
Will they pay for language school?
Does the family provide medical insurance, or do they expect that you already have insurance?
Do you get vacation time? How much? Is it paid/not paid? When can you have time off? Only during school holidays?
Only during family holidays?
Will they pay for your travel to and from your home country?
Will the family provide a mobile phone for your use? What kind of plan does the phone have: pre-paid or subscription? Who pays for it?
Will the family pay for the home phone use? Do they have internet access?
EARLY TERMINATION CONDITIONS:
If you or the family wishes to terminate your contract early, what are the conditions?
How much noticed is required?
Are there penalties? What are they?
Tips for Au Pairs:
- Know why you want to be an au pair. (See section entitled, “Thinking about becoming an au pair?”)
- Ask the family for:
- – A written job description so that everything is clear and precise
- – A regular time to meet
Suggestion: ask to meet once a week (at least for the first 2 months). This allows you to discuss the children, your performance, their weekly schedule, and to communicate your schedule needs (travel we