As there are currently no legal requirements on a person applying for a job as a nanny, the employer must be confident as far as possible that they are making the right decision about employing you. You should expect all prospective employers to check your identity, background, qualifications and employment history. At an interview you will be asked for proof of identity and at least two references.
Proof of identity
You can use your birth certificate, passport or full driving licence as proof of your identity. Agencies and/or employers will need to see the originals as photocopying can disguise forgeries. At least one of these forms of identity must carry a photograph.
Employers will usually ask you for at least two references, even if you are from a nanny agency. One reference should be from your current or last employer. If you are a student straight from college, you should supply a reference from your college tutor and another reference from your final work placement. Ask permission from the person before you give their details as a referee.
A potential employer will contact your referees and ask them about:
- your work when they employed you as a nanny/nursery nurse
- how they rated your care of the children
- why you left their employment
- what your strengths and weaknesses were
- any difficulties they think you might have if you were left in sole charge of a child
- any health problems and sick leave you had during your employment
- whether they would consider re-employing you.
Your Professional Portfolio
You should prepare and organize a professional portfolio. If you prepare a well-presented professional portfolio in advance, with all the relevant documents that will be required when you are invited for an interview, it will save time when you apply for jobs or register with a nanny agency.
Having a well-presented portfolio will demonstrate to potential employers that you are well organized and have a professional attitude towards your career as a nanny.
Your professional portfolio may include:
- school examination certificates
- college certificate or diploma
- first aid certificate
- basic food hygiene certificate
- curriculum vitae
- written references
- statement of your childcare philosophy
- examples of previous work with children
- relevant college assignments
- Enhanced Disclosure from the Criminal Records bureau (if you have one).
You can use a display or presentation album with plastic pockets to organize your portfolio. Your portfolio should include the originals of your school examination certificates and college certificate or diploma. Make sure that your first aid certificate is up-to-date.
Your curriculum vitae and references should also be updated as you gain more work experience and/or further qualifications. You could also include examples of previous work with young children or relevant college assignments, e.g. activity plans suitable for a young child in the home or working with parents in a family setting.