Whether you’re just starting your degree or you’re at the tail end of it and about to graduate, it’s important not to get too comfy when it comes to building a resume, especially in the childcare industry. The world of resumes is an ever-evolving place, and if you’re resting on your laurels, waiting for the job fairy to land upon your shoulder, you may not end up in the childcare position you’ve always dreamed of.
If you’re looking to pursue a career working with kids but have never sought a professional job in the childcare industry, the resume building process may seem overwhelming to you. But, it’s important to remember that not only are there a plethora of resume resources available through your school’s Career Services department and online, but there are plenty of tips and tricks to crafting your experiences and accolades into a compelling document that will make you seem like a childcare whiz.
The basics of resume writing
While you’ve probably been taught all your life not to boast, your resume is one place where bragging is entirely appropriate. Talk big and show off the experiences you’ve had, the jobs you’ve held, the awards you’ve won, and the organizations with which you’ve volunteered.
When highlighting your childcare experience, be aware of the order you add your past jobs. As a mother of a 7-year-old, Chey Connor believes that the first skill or quality listed should showcase the ability and experience you have caring for kids and specific age groups you’ve worked with.
Other things that Connor suggests are any teaching, instructing or volunteering you’ve done with kids—perhaps you created worksheets to fill out and color or taught swimming lessons at the local pool over the summer. Connor also recommends listing any training and certificates you’ve received as a result of your time working with kids.
By stressing the key attributes that a hiring manager—or a mother, for that matter—might be looking for in a professional childcare provider, you make it that much easier for a potential employer to see just how great of a fit you would be.
What do they want to see?
There are a lot of things that moms and professional childcare managers are looking for in potential childcare employees. So what kind of experience do you need and which attributes do you showcase? Is there a way to make your resume the most masterful one in the bunch? The answer is yes.
“Experience with children of the same approximate age can give you extra consideration,” says Sandra Lamb, author of How to Write It. "[So] can statements that illustrate special skills, like teaching children the alphabet, how to write their name, or a second language.”
Lamb explains that by demonstrating job skills in the areas of nutrition, socialization, and intellectual achievement, you will automatically distinguish yourself from other applicants. It’s also important how you communicate that you have job skills, such as the ones that Lamb listed.
“Most resumes fail because they fail to tell a compelling story,” explains Jezra Kaye, president of Speak Up for Success. “So don't just state your experience; point out how your experience informs your skills with children. Instead of ‘studied sociology,’ say ‘my sociology studies have made me sensitive to cultural differences and their importance in child development.’"
Crafting a great childcare resume is all about taking the experiences you’ve had in life and the experiences you’ve had with kids and showcasing them in their best light. Concerned you don’t have enough experience? Volunteer! Babysit for friends. Take a CPR class or read up about daycare policies online. Check out books from the library. There are plenty of ways to gain the knowledge and skills you will need to equip you for a professional childcare position.
Keywords in your cover letter
When it comes to keywords that are important in childcare resumes, Dr. Alexandra T. Greenhill, a physician mother of three and CEO of myBestHelper, explains the basics.
“Families really look for a combination of trustworthy, caring, and experienced [candidates]," Greenhill says. "Add any prior experience with kids, be it personal [with siblings] ... or babysitting-related. Definitely include three references that can vouch for your reliability and character.”
It may seem like a no-brainer that a childcare worker would be caring and have at least a little experience, but it’s important to emphasize even the most obvious of qualities. Not every childcare employee has the sunny disposition of Mary Poppins, and it will only make your resume shine brighter if you showcase that you do.
"What will make you stand out from the rest of similarly qualified candidates is being authentic and unique,” Greenhill goes on to say. “Indicate any ... sports you practice, instruments you play or things you know a lot about. These especially add value to your ability to offer care especially to toddlers and older kids.”
With all of this in mind, make sure you market yourself as providing reliable childcare and creativity in how you work with kids. These are also important keywords to include in a cover letter, on your LinkedIn page and in the rest of your communications with a potential employer.
Interested in more information?
Request more info about Rasmussen College's early childhood education program today! There are multiple tracks within this program, including child development, special needs, child and family studies and more. Not only will you learn more about what is trendy, current and important in the childcare industry, but chances are, you’ll emerge with a host of keywords, ideas and experience to include on that resume.
Once you feel confident about your resume, visit the School of Education blog to gain more tips and tricks on what you need to have a successful ECE career.