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How to use your time as an au pair to boost your CV

By Susanne Becker on 18-04-2018

What can you do as an au pair???

  • See the world

  • Learn a new language

  • Meet lots of new friends

  • And NOT spend a ton of money

You can find out all about being an au pair and search for host families with Au Pair World.

Life after your au pair gap year

Of course, every gap year comes to an end (that's why they call it a gap, after all)! And when it's time to get back to your career plans, you might well wonder: How can I present what I've learned as an au pair in a way that will impress potential employers?

We have some ideas about that.

First, the most obvious: As an au pair, you gain serious expertise in a foreign language. You don't only spend some time at a language school, you speak and hear the second language every day in your host country and family over a longer period of time. And your host kids and family life will teach you a way of speaking that you'll never get at school.

More than just language skills

But as an au pair you learn more than "just" a language. Also on the list of "skills acquired"  can come:

  • Independence

  • Intercultural competence

  • Perseverance

  • Self-motivation

And you need to possess plenty of distinctive characteristics (that should interest any employer) to even begin the au pair adventure. Like being:

  • Curious

  • Energetic

  • Creative

Let's look at all of these a bit more closely:

Independence: Young people who head abroad as au pairs, show that they aren't afraid of changes or challenges. And that they can truly stand on their own two feet. What could be better for an employer than someone who's open to new things and really ready to tackle them?

Intercultural competence: As an au pair you learn lots about the culture of another country through the real-life experience of living in a family. And through the friendships you make with au pairs from around the world you also get a new understanding of their cultures. These are super tools for working in a globalised world and in companies with international teams and relations.

Perseverance: Alone in unfamiliar surroundings, far away from home... An au pair adventure can also be difficult. But sticking with it is worth it – the good times just about always far outweigh the hard times. In your CV you should use this point to present yourself as determined, solution-oriented and persistent.

Energetic and creative: Two characteristics that are essential in dealing every day with children – because the little ones have endless energy and respond best to creative impulses. The customers and projects that you confront on the job exactly need the same sort of input!

Self-motivation: With something like an au pair adventure, there certainly were moments where you might have had cold feet and thought about turning back. When you come home from your time away, you can give yourself top marks for self-motivation. You were ready to follow through with the adventure!

Curiosity: As an au pair abroad, you're trying all kinds of new things – new food, new hobbies, new ways of travelling, new customs. And working as an au pair is proof of the fact that you're truly interested in another culture and ready to build a connection to it and not just pass through as one more tourist.

An au pair stay in your CV

So when it's time to present an au pair stay in your CV, don't just write: "Au pair in country XYZ". Instead, think about which of your personal qualities and characteristics were put to the test in the course of your stay and how these could interest potential employers. Look at all the different things that you learned, the challenges that you met, the successes that you had... And tell that story in your CV!

And remember, you can find a host family quickly, simply and free of charge at Au Pair World.

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