Originally posted here.
Carving out a niche for yourself as a childcare provider, especially in a competitive job market, is one of the more effective ways to set yourself apart from the sea of applicants that are all applying for a limited number of jobs. With a properly developed area of specialization, you’re better able to position yourself so that quality posts within that niche are more available to you. Developing a niche can be a great way to boost your appeal to employers seeking a nanny with special qualifications, but can also be a difficult process to navigate. If you’re looking for a way to develop specialized skills in order to market yourself as a niche nanny, there are a few tips that can make the experience a less complicated one.
Play to Your Strengths
Choosing your niche can be a bit overwhelming for both new and veteran nannies. After all, there are dozens of areas in which you could potentially specialize. The best way to determine which one you’re most well-suited for, however, is relatively simple: you just need to play to your strengths. If you’re great with newborns but have a bit of trouble managing charges that have reached toddlerhood, establishing a specialization in newborn care can not only help you work within the area that you’re most comfortable, but also to hone your newborn care skills to perfection. Think about all of your strengths and weaknesses as a childcare provider objectively, then look for ways to capitalize on the areas in which you excel.
Educate Yourself Accordingly
In order to be credible as a niche nanny or private childcare provider with an area of specialization, you’ll have to take steps to obtain some sort of education in that area. For instance, nannies that wish to specialize in the care of kids with special needs may find that they’re taken more seriously as such with a degree in special education. Even certifications or workshop certificates are better than showing up with nothing more than an assertion of your expertise. Make sure that you have not only the knowledge you’ll need to market yourself as a niche nanny, but also the documentation to back up those claims.
Make Your Existing Experience Work For You
Over the course of your career as a nanny, you’ve gained a certain measure of experience in specific areas. Learning to market yourself accordingly can be a boon to you during a job search, even if you don’t have a specialized degree or extensive certifications. If you’ve held more than one post in which a charge had special needs, health problems or was a newborn, for example, you’re already in a position to make that experience work for you. Procuring letters of reference from those employers with an emphasis on your skill in the area you’ve chosen as a specialization are a powerful addition to your resume.
Understand the Importance of a Great Reference
Even the largest cities tend to have a relatively small community of private childcare providers and employing families in a certain neighborhood. The nanny community is, in many cases, a small world indeed. Establishing a bad reputation as a childcare provider will not only leave you with a dearth of precious references when you set out to find the next post, but can also precede you. Experienced nannies know the value of their references, which is why they’re so carefully guarded. Make sure that you maintain a sterling reputation as a childcare provider, especially if you plan to work in an even smaller niche community.
Be Patient and Maintain Realistic Expectations
Once you’ve decided that a career as a specialized nanny is right for you, it’s easy to become excited about your future prospects. After all, nannies with a niche can often command higher salaries, enjoy greater job security and are actively pursued by families eager to offer them a position. It’s important to remember, though, that it takes time to establish such a strong reputation. You may be forced to accept a series of niche posts in which your salary is significantly lower than you expected as you earn a solid reputation. Persistence and patience are essential to the nanny attempting to carve a niche in the childcare industry, so remember that it may take time to obtain the earning power you’re looking for. Keep working towards your goal of establishing a strong relationship as a specialized nanny, and never turn down the opportunity to further your education within that area of specialization. With a bit of dedication and plenty of patience, you could find yourself on the short lists of prestigious employers sooner than you realize.