Get ahead by finding out how to make your babysitting experience shine

When you're first starting out in your career, it can be tricky knowing what to put in the work experience section of your resume. You almost certainly have something to add in this section, however, whether that's voluntary work, a weekend job, or odd jobs that you've done for friends and family.

In this blog, we'll look at a job that lots of graduates have experienced: babysitting. Yes, popping by to play with your neighbor's kid for a couple of hours while the parents grab a meal, or watching TV while your niece sleeps upstairs does count as work experience! After all, it proves that you're reliable and sensible enough to be trusted with the most precious thing in a parent's life – their children. Babysitting can boost your resume with the valuable skills, responsibilities and experience that employers like to see, but you need to know how to present it well. 

Why babysitting is a great start to your career

To you it may just be some extra cash, but to a potential employer it shows that you have the right skills and attitude. If you can convey your employability by adding babysitting on your resume, you absolutely should! There are so many benefits to working as a babysitter – you're earning money, you can study while the baby sleeps, you can prove you have the right attitude to work, you'll have something to talk about in a job interview, and – very importantly – it gives you a starting point for that key Work Experience section on your resume.

So now you know why babysitting is more than just a side hustle, let's dive in and see how you can impress employers by learning how to describe babysitting on your resume.

Create a heading

It's important that your resume is easy for a potential employer to navigate, so clear headings are a must. The main headings you'll need on your resume are:

The headings should be in a larger font than the main body of the text and presented consistently throughout the document.

The one that's most important for the purposes of adding babysitting to your resume is the Work Experience heading. This section is where you can really make your babysitting experience sing.

Create a subheading

Next up, you'll want to create a subheading for each role you've held. Each subheading will need to include:

  • Your job title. That's easy – you can use “Babysitter,” “Childminder,” or “Caregiver” – whichever you prefer.

  • Your employer. This is a bit trickier – usually, you'd just add the name of the company you worked for, but – in most cases – babysitting isn't carried out for a company. What can you put as the employer if you're babysitting? You could add the name of the family you worked for, for example “Addams Family,” or use something more generic such as “Various Local Families” or “Townsville Families.”

  • Your dates of employment. Just adding the month(s) and years here is fine. You may want to add further detail, such as “part time” or “3 hours per week,” but there's no obligation to do so.

You don't need a different subheading for each babysitting job on your resume – that would quickly get repetitive if you've had several of those jobs. You can include them all under one sub-heading and add any relevant information underneath. For example: “Looked after an 18-month-old baby and 7-year-old twins for two local families.”

Note your babysitting responsibilities and skills

The detail under your subheading is where you get the chance to really show off the responsibilities and skills you gained as a babysitter. Before you dive into this section, think about the instructions you received before starting the job and what you actually did each time. There's probably more than you think! Try these prompts for responsibilities to get you going:

  • Putting children to bed at a certain time

  • Bathing them

  • Changing their clothes

  • Dropping them off in an agreed place

  • Ensuring they behave and disciplining them appropriately

  • Setting a good example as a role model

  • Preparing snacks or meals

  • Changing diapers

  • Keeping to their normal schedule

  • Meeting the requirements of children with special needs

  • Staying alert to hazards

  • Keeping an eye on the baby monitor

  • Reading stories, crafting and playing at an age-appropriate level

  • Helping with homework

  • Updating parents on behavior and incidents

And maybe you developed some of these skills:

  • Reliability

  • Maturity

  • Following instructions

  • Trustworthiness

  • Time management and punctuality

  • Communication

  • Customer service

  • Patience

  • Initiative

  • First aid

  • Creativity

  • Empathy

  • Hygiene and food safety

  • Supervision

  • Problem solving

  • Responsibility

  • Childcare

You don't just want a long list of responsibilities and skills on your resume though. Oh no. Now you've decided what experience and skills you've gained, you need to do two things.

1.  Figure out which are most relevant to the job you're now aiming for

2.  Write the experience and skills into achievement-focused bullet points

For example, if you're now aiming for a role in retail, you'll want to prioritize communication, customer service, and time management over less relevant skills such as childcare and creativity. If you're not sure which skills to prioritize, check out some job adverts for roles you're interested in and see what they're asking for.

Write achievement-focused bullets

It's easy to think that you didn't achieve anything of value in a babysitting job, but when you're adding babysitting on your resume you'll soon discover that you've achieved more than you thought. The trick is to present your responsibilities and skills in a way that shows how you made a difference.

Start each bullet with a different verb, to show your actions and contribution, then add what you did and the positive outcome from it.

These examples show how you can write achievement-focused bullet points to make the babysitting on your resume sound impressive:

  • Arrived on time for every shift, despite frequent bus cancellations, demonstrating excellent time management and reliability

  • Received recommendations to other families needing babysitting, having impressed the family with a mature and trustworthy attitude

  • Supported a 7-year-old with English homework, resulting in positive feedback from teachers and strong grades

  • Communicated effectively with parents and children alike, building a positive rapport and securing further requests for babysitting

  • Minimized hazards and provided first aid for cuts, bumps and bruises, showing empathy and initiative

  • Prioritized excellent customer service to parents, including following instructions, advising them of problems arising and providing them with worry-free time out

This list of bullets doesn't need to be exhaustive – in fact, six is probably plenty. Make sure that the bullets show off YOU and your skills. A recruiter knows what a babysitter does, so they're not looking for a general description of your responsibilities. They're looking for the skills and experience that set you apart from every other babysitter.

Babysitting skills for your resume

Above, we brainstormed babysitting skills that you could include on your resume, and no doubt you'll be able to think of plenty more. As with the Work Experience section though, you don't just want to include a random and exhaustive list. When it comes to compiling your Skills section, choose roughly 5-10 skills that align most closely with the requirements of the job you're applying for.

Babysitting on a resume  - example

Let's put all that together to create an example of how to put babysitting on a resume in an impactful way:

BABYSITTER                                                                           Dec 2023 – Feb 2024

The Carter Family

  • Cared for an 18-month-old baby and a 3-year-old girl for 4 hours once a week, freeing their parents' time to socialize and complete chores

  • Invented engaging games and prepared craft activities, with the father noting that his daughter spent far less time on her screens as a result

  • Prepared healthy snacks, ensuring good hygiene standards and table manners, and cleared up afterwards to minimize work for the parents

  • Changed the baby's diaper and bathed him, and supervised the girl's evening routine, using excellent time management to ensure they were ready for bed when the parents returned

  • Gained the parent's trust, having proved to be reliable and patient, resulting in a referral to their friends for ad hoc childcare

  • Balanced a busy job with full-time studies, prioritizing effectively to achieve consistently strong grades without impacting performance when babysitting

What not to do

Now you know how to write a stand-out resume showing your babysitting experience – but wait! Make sure you're not committing any of these faux pas before you mark the job as done.

Being too honest

Okay, honesty is definitely the best policy when it comes to writing your resume and we don't condone lying for any reason. But there's such a thing as being too honest. Maybe the kids you babysat had appalling manners and behaved like feral beasts. Don't say that! Nobody wants to work with a Debbie Downer or Negative Nora. Speak well of your employers and their offspring at all times. Remember what your mum told you – if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

Giving too much information

There are two strands to giving too much information. One – keep the information concise and to the point. You get no points for waffling here. And two – don't overshare. Your reader doesn't need to know diaper details or a minute-by-minute routine. Tell them only what they need to know to realize they need to get you in for an interview, and no more.

Making assumptions

Conversely, don't assume that your reader knows what you did. There's a world of difference between watching TV while a baby sleeps upstairs and helping an 11-year-old with their homework. Give them enough information to understand the main remit of your role, without getting bogged down in detail or, as we said above, stating the obvious.

Being indiscreet

An employer wants to be assured that you will keep their company information confidential. That means the parents employing you as a babysitter expect you not to share how they rolled home drunk every time you babysat, and your future employers will appreciate your discretion in not spilling that. Showing discretion and the ability to maintain confidentiality on your resume and throughout an interview will make your star shine brighter.

Other experience for an entry-level resume

Is your work experience section still looking a bit thin? Babysitting experience is better than no experience, but have you considered other ways to give this section a shot in the arm? Experience in any of these areas counts too:

  • Internships. These are definitely worth a shout-out on your resume and are more likely to be aligned with your career goals.

  • Voluntary work. Unpaid experience counts just as much as paid experience – it's not about the money honey, it's about the skills you developed and the experience you gained.

  • Gig work. Think only permanent or full-time work counts? Think again. Selling your crafts on Etsy, delivering pizza, designing flyers for local businesses and other ad hoc work are still contributing to your skill set and employability.

  • University responsibilities. Yes, being a subject rep, captain of the soccer team, college ambassador, and any other positions of responsibility you held while studying are all relevant ways of gaining experience for your resume.

When not to include babysitting on a resume

Babysitting is a great career-starter for your resume, as we've seen. It's not for every resume, however! Can you imagine a company looking for a CEO for their multinational business and being impressed that their senior executive applicants did some babysitting 25 years ago? No, there's a time and a place for everything.

When you're settled into a permanent or full-time role, there's really no need to include babysitting on your resume any longer. You'll develop professional skills and gain relevant experience that is far more likely to impress recruiters as you progress up the career ladder. 

That's not to dismiss babysitting as not resume-worthy! As we've seen, it's a great opportunity to start building those skills and that reputation to get your career started. Just be mindful of when it's time to remove it from your resume. After all, a resume is your personal sales brochure, not your life story.

Step into the world of work with a resume you can be proud of

In this article, we've discussed why babysitting is a great addition to your resume and how to include babysitting on your resume, as well as some mistakes to avoid. You should be feeling pretty proud of what you've achieved!

If you'd like an unbiased review of your resume before you send it off to an employer, why not let our experts at TopResume provide a free review? It will highlight areas of concern so that you can iron out any bumps before you let it loose on the world.

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