I started the process of finding a family to live and work for a bit over a year ago now, and my first red hot tip is: don’t do that!
Naturally I can’t speak for every family, but in my experience most host families weren’t looking for new au pairs until a couple of months (maximum) prior to the start date. This meant that I was matching with and chatting with several families who were looking for au pairs to start in the Summer of 2016, not ’17.
I was working full time at a job I didn’t like but had to keep in order to complete a certain part of my uni course. Because of this, I was super eager to plan and confirm what I would be doing next year, but really couldn’t find much.
Initially I was very close to accepting a job with a family who had very different life values to me, purely because they were the first family in 2-3 months who were actually looking so far ahead in their schedule. It’s absolutely worth taking the time to find a couple of families who are willing to take you in, and then choosing the one that fits best for you. Remember, when they invite an au pair into their home, they are employing you to be a part of their family from the safety of their normal lives. You have to choose a family to work for that will make you feel comfortable being away from your own home for a significant amount of time – possibly for the first time in your life!
Luckily I have ended up with a family who seem like a really good match for me, but I think that by starting too early you can easily fall into the trap of picking the first people who say yes because they are so few and far between.
Be patient, there are thousands of families looking for au pairs, there will be the right one for you.
The site I used to find my family was Au Pair World. This is an entirely free program and is as simple as creating a profile and selecting some parameters regarding the type of family you would like to work for: age of kids, number of kids, country, small town or big city, whether or not you are comfortable driving, smoking/non-smoking and so on. It’s really a very simple process!
When you create your profile there is no need to go overboard with information. Just introduce yourself, your family, what you study or where you’ve been working, if you have any experience with kids*, and things you like to do in your spare time.
*Hot Tip: Experience is totally unnecessary, but if you’re anxious about having no experience, think about any times you’ve looked after your siblings or cousins, or even just spent some time with a friend’s younger siblings. If you’ve never spent time with kids then you may want to test it out before committing yourself to a few months living with them!
Once you’ve signed up and completed your profile the website will automatically create a list of families who match your preferences. It’s as easy as clicking on each profile, reading about the family and sending any who look like a good match for you a message. This system works both ways and families can contact you as well.
Most families will get back to you within 24 hours and usually within the first few messages will offer to exchange Skype details for a Skype ‘interview’. I’ll be reasonable and allow the Skype interview it’s own post, as we all know first impressions are the most important ones!
Don’t be alarmed if you receive ‘rejection’ messages, as it’s likely that they have simply already filled the position for the period of time you’re looking at.
The last thing I want to mention is that this is just my experience with one website. There are lots of programs out there you can use, some are even done through a company who will match you with a family themselves. I really liked Au Pair World because it was free and easy to manage on my own, but keep in mind that something else may work better for you!
That’s all I have for today – hopefully some of this information has been helpful and you will be able to find the perfect family for you!
Until next time, Anxious Au Pair out