10 Bad First Impressions a Sitter Can Make

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Everyone knows the old adage that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. For better or worse, first impressions tend to be lasting ones, so you want to put your best foot forward. When it comes to employment, it’s the difference between getting hired or being passed up. If you’re a babysitter, that means avoiding the following first impression no-no’s at all cost:

  1. Tardiness – Regardless of the occasion, or the job, you never want to be late. Remember that your employer will be parents who will entrust you with the care of their children. Everything you do needs to shout “dependable”, and being late screams the opposite.
  2. Inappropriate Dress – Child care calls for a level of responsibility and maturity that should be reflected in your demeanor and your appearance. Sitting jobs aren’t the venue for showing off your party attire or the latest goth fashions.
  3. Disheveled Appearance – A certain amount of order, cleanliness and sanitation are involved with babysitting. That should be a part of your image, and not just your job description. Parents should be able to see that by looking at you.
  4. Unauthorized Guests – Your employer expects that your attention will be focused on the care of their kids. You shouldn’t take their hospitality for granted, or use the occasion as an opportunity to entertain a date or a friend. It’s rarely something that your employer would approve of, and even if they did, it should be expressly given and not assumed.
  5. Laying Down On The Job – Just because there’s a couch there in the living room doesn’t mean it’s OK to get horizontal when you’re on the job. The kids are supposed to be asleep when the parents get home, not you.
  6. Inattentiveness – It’s important to always keep in mind your reason for being hired. You’re looking after children, so you need to be listening as well as looking after them. When your attention is distracted by TV, music, video games, book, etc., the message is clear: the job is not your top priority.
  7. Getting Names Wrong – Everyone makes mistakes and a slip here or there isn’t the end of the world. Still, you’re dealing with parents who are willing to pay you to care for their kids, so it’s not unreasonable for them to expect that you get their names right, for Pete’s sake. Make it a point to memorize them ahead of time.
  8. References Don’t Check Out – Whatever information you provide on your resume or job application needs to be complete, up-to-date and accurate. Before including any names or numbers as references, be sure to contact them to ask permission, and make certain that only references that are going to give positive reviews are listed.
  9. Canceling Appointment – Emergencies happen that can’t be helped or foreseen. Anything else is inexcusable. If you agree to take a job, you’re going to be counted on to be there. At the very least, when you cannot possibly help canceling, provide ample notice, typically a minimum of 24 hours.
  10. Exploiting The Hospitality – Families will frequently offer you the option of helping yourself  to food or drink when you sit their kids. The last thing you want to do, however, is to take too much advantage of their generosity. And you always want to make sure you’ve left the home as clean as you found it.
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