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How to ensure that you are a strong candidate

When it comes to being an Au Pair it is important that you are a strong candidate.

You will be taking care of children and it is crucial that you have ample amounts of experience. Presenting more skills and experience will most likely also help you to get placed quicker with a family.



Here are some things that the perfect Au Pair has under the belt:


  1. Excellent driving skills: For most of the Au Pair destinations you have to be an excellent driver with a legal driver's license. The reasoning behind this is the fact that you will most likely be taking your host children to and from school and extra-curricular activities. In most cases you are going to drive on a different side of the road than what you are used to and you have to be comfortable behind the wheel prior to taking on new road rules!

  2. Childcare experience: To Au Pair is not a glorified holiday and you are going to work! To do your work correctly and to be accepted into the program you have to have childcare experience. Ways to gain more experience is by working/volunteering at a pre-school or daycare. You can babysit/Au Pair/tutor for non-family members as well for extra hours. In some cases Au Pairs take up shadow-nursing or volunteering at a hospital/orphanage as well. Some candidates also work as childminders at restaurants or wedding venues. All of these are sources for good references. The more hours you accumulate - the better your chance are of a placement. If you have looked after babies aged 2 years and younger for more than 200 hours, you will be infant care qualified which will make you a strong candidate.

  3. Personality: To be an Au Pair you have to have a couple of personality traits that will be crucial to completing the program successful. First and foremost you have to have a real passion to work with children, children will test you and you have to be patient, kind, loving and at times be able to stand your ground. Candidates have to be reliable, trustworthy, mature, adaptable and flexible. Things can change within the blink of an eye and you have to be able to adapt, improvise and overcome. That's why Au Pairs are superheroes!

  4. Qualifications: In some cases candidates are Degree holders (especially in Education), this does count in their favour, however it is not a strict requirement. If you have the opportunity to do a course in Early Childhood Development, First Aid or a Diploma in Teaching - do it! You can never be overqualified - it will only make your profile stronger. If you don't have any qualifications and only a Grade 12 High School certificate - don't stress, just ensure that you have plenty of hours under the belt to prove that you know your stuff.

  5. Medical: To be an Au Pair you have to be in excellent mental and physical health. Candidates that are diagnosed with epilepsy, depression and or anxiety normally don't make the cut to be an Au Pair. The reason is that in most cases the insurance does not cover chronic medication or pre-existing conditions. Candidates also have to be declared fit for travel by a doctor prior to matching with a family. To look after children is a physical job and you have to be able to run after children and engage in active activities with them.

To Au Pair is not necessarily a fun job every day, as every day will have its own challenges and obstacles but it is a very rewarding job. It is the only time where our jobs can give us hugs! It is important to prepare yourself mentally that you will go undergo mental and physical changes during your Au Pair year. It is a massive change and your body will take some strain at first.


In no time you will get used to your new surroundings, and then the fun will begin!


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