In my position, I often hear things like “The domestic world looks like fun, but how can I break in?” or potential candidates will say “Thanks to raising 6 children I have all the skills needed to be an executive assistant or take care of 6 children.” These people may very well have the skills needed to work in the domestic field, but there is a big difference between working in the corporate world or at home and working for a client who requires experience in a home and the sensitivities that go with it.
So how does someone switch careers? I’m often asked “How do I get into the domestic world?” Many times candidates see how fun it can be from the outside and they want to make the switch from the corporate world to the domestic or residential world. These two worlds are not dissimilar in many ways and require similar skill sets, but the real difference often comes down to chemistry. In the corporate world, you’re hired primarily for your abilities and proven skills; while in the domestic world, you’re usually chosen based on chemistry and skills. When you work in a home, it’s much more intimate and personal.
So where to begin? First you need to be committed to making this important change and you need to have both short-term and long-term goals. You also need to play up your strengths and skills and find someone who will give you the opportunity to work in the domestic world. Many times, however, staffing agencies will have clients who aren’t interested in people who are changing careers. In those instances, you’ll need to search through your network to find openings and opportunities that closely match your experience.
You should also review your résumé and emphasize the skills that apply to the domestic position you’re looking to pursue, such as a nanny, housekeeper, personal assistant, or house manager. If you played a similar role in the corporate world, the skills should speak for themselves. But you’ll need to market yourself accordingly so that people can see how easy the transition would be. When you look at your résumé, make sure that someone from the outside can easily see that you would be a good fit for the position. I would also encourage a cover letter which neatly proves your case for their current need.
Some people ask me if they should go to school for this. School is one way to go, but finding practical experience is also very important. While some people get placed into positions without having prior experience, you’re more likely to find opportunities when you’re already working in a real world capacity (learning and gaining training).
If you’ve always been a nanny or a housekeeper and you want to move to the next level or switch positions, you may want to consider straddling a position that is nanny/personal assistant or housekeeper/house manager. These are smart transitions that can help you move closer to your ultimate goal.
Know what your long-term goal is and determine the best strategy to help you reach it. Be sure to keep in mind what benchmarks you’ll need to set and how much time can you afford in your search. These are important factors you’ll need to think through before considering such a career change.
Any questions? Feel free to give me a call. I’d love the chance to speak with you further.