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Starting a Childcare Career
Starting a new career can be very daunting no matter what skill set you have. With limited qualifications, experience and knowledge specific to an industry it can be incredibly hard to impress in an interview for a job in Early Years. However, do not fear! This article will outline all the necessary things which nursery owners and other childcare recruiters will look for in a candidate. I myself own several nurseries and look for specific qualities in new employees week in, week out.
Working with children is an incredibly rewarding career- so be interested in the position and full of energy! Yes, sometimes we don’t always feel incredible when trying to impress in an interview situation and trying to keep calm is usually priority number 1. But as long as you smile and are talkative it will make a lasting impression (as long as the interviewer can get a word in edge ways that is!) If a child comes over towards you, show initiative and interact- don’t just think you are there for an interview and don’t have to look interested in the little ones. Say hello to people already working in the setting- these could be your future colleagues and you need to prove to the boss you can enter into the work environment seamlessly.
Know how to get where you want to be
So what if you don’t have many qualifications just yet? If you are only just starting out in a new career, this isn’t the end of the world- as long as you realize you will be starting from the bottom. Knowing the qualifications needed to move up and win promotions in your career is essential- prove that you know about awarding bodies and childcare qualifications needed to become better qualified. And, most importantly, say that you are willing to do these courses as soon as possible but would also like the hands-on experience which the position will bring. With the right formal qualifications and experience, you can go very far!
Do not talk about some qualification you are looking into which isn’t accredited or is accredited by phony companies. These can be absolutely worthless to employers and do not show any level of competence- make sure you explain your desire to do a course with a reputable company (personally we feel CACHE are the best when it comes to childcare but others may prefer different awarding bodies).
Dress to impress
A suit is certainly not necessary when interviewing for an early years practitioners job: but there are other alternatives besides the oh-so comfortable Nike tracksuit. Wearing a nice pair of smart trousers and plain top is fine, and black shoes please- no trainers allowed! More importantly is the overall look, which means lashings of makeup and low-cut tops are a big mistake. This person needs to know you are mature and dependable enough to take care of children, so if that means dressing smartly for an hour or two it’s a good idea to do so.
Answer questions honestly
An interviewer does not expect you to be perfect, especially if you are just starting out in childcare. What they do need to know is that you can be honest and open. This is the only way that you will ever succeed in Early Years to become a practitioner- pretending you know it all gets you nowhere. So do not be afraid to simply state ‘I don’t know’ to a question if this is the truth. If you do this however, show a willingness to find out the answer and state how you would go about doing this. Never lie in an interview- the person asking the questions will usually have been in childcare for a long time and will easily be able to sense a false answer.
Following all these tips, along with leaving a copy of your CV and contact details, could be the difference between starting a new career and having just another job interview. So smile and enjoy the experience, this will make your chances of bagging the job much better as an employer is not only looking for someone dependable, but a well-rounded individual also.