Edna Freeman's work life was thrown into disarray last March. She was a nanny, an ideal gig for someone who has a teen and a toddler she could take to work with her. But COVID ended 15 years of steady employment.
"We were freaking out. We started borrowing money with our credit cards," the San Francisco resident said. "Literally, I thought I was going to go crazy."
Because her work arrangement was informal, she didn't qualify for unemployment benefits. Luckily, her husband was able to keep his IT job, and she brought in some money creating content on Instagram. Between the side hustle and a willingness to take on debt, Freeman is reinventing her career.
She's taking business classes at the City College of San Francisco, which is tuition-free for residents, in hopes of transferring to San Francisco State University to get her bachelor's degree in communications and marketing.
For those who want to return to child care, employment is looking up this year. Since the beginning of the year, more than 26,000 daycare jobs have been added, and the industry is expected to grow by about 2% over the next decade.
Better yet, women who must work from home or need a flexible schedule will find opportunities in the child care sector. Positions range from nannies who watch kids during a parents' workday to babysitters who only work a few nights a week. Here are five jobs you should check out if you're hoping to get your foot in the door.
5 child care jobs women can get now
- Nanny. While the main focus of nannies is taking care of children, they may also perform essential tasks around the house, from doing laundry to routine cleaning. Making $16 an hour on average nationally, nannies make as much as $23 an hour on average in wealthier parts of the country. You won't need an advanced degree to become a nanny. However, possessing a degree or license in early childhood education and CPR/first aid training may be required in some states and will always give you an edge over the competition.
- Daycare assistant. A good entry point into child care, daycare assistants help out around the daycare. Since daycare assistant is an entry-level position, you could transition into the role relatively quickly if you already have some babysitting experience. However, every role on this list may require background checks, orientations, and licensing requirements, depending on your location.
- Daycare worker. Daycare workers are simply the next level for daycare assistants, though their tasks may overlap. Such workers prepare meals and snacks, maintain a safe and positive environment, set schedules and routines, organize activities, and alert parents to any problems.
- Child care provider. When you search for child care jobs, you will come across titles like "child care provider" or "child care worker." This is a catch-all term similar to daycare workers' roles but occurs in various settings, including schools, daycares, community centers, and in-home care providers.
- Babysitter. Babysitting offers the most immediate entry into the world of child care. Most babysitters work in their clients' homes and are paid by the hour and in cash. Babysitters must be skilled at playing with kids, planning meals and activities, cleaning, and getting kids ready for bed. These days many babysitters connect with their clients on apps like Sittercity and UrbanSitter.
How to write a child care resume
When you're ready to write your resume, there are three different formats you'll want to consider:
Functional resume format: Best when you're new to the industry or have significant gaps in employment
If you've never worked in child care, you'll need to put your most transferable skills front and center on your resume, which a functional format does best. Highlight your interpersonal skills, such as persuasion and empathy, your speaking and listening skills, and your ability to solve problems, as well as top-notch time management abilities.
Combination resume format: Perfect when you want to put equal emphasis on your skills and work experience
The combination resume gives equal weight to your skills and work experience. No matter what you've done previously, you should highlight the most relevant skills to child care, like providing children with emotional support and excelling at age-appropriate instruction and communication. Meanwhile, your work experience section will show recruiters that you've been progressing toward this role all along.
Chronological resume format: Great when you can show solid career progression and clear achievements
Show off your career arc and achievements with a chronological resume. By putting your work experience at the forefront, you show potential employers you're highly qualified as a child care professional, and they'd feel confident putting their little ones in your care.
How to explain career gaps on a child care resume
COVID led to massive closures throughout the child care sector, so every employer will expect a resume to have work gaps. Plus, many child care jobs are one-off gigs. Consistent work in this sector will only be expected for upper-level jobs.
In any case, you can always overcome career gaps by explaining what you did to fill your schedule. Here are a few things to consider mentioning when you're looking to explain your time away from work:
- You took time off to care for your family. Not only is this understandable, but it may also enhance your status with child care employers, who are looking for candidates with exceptional caretaking skills.
- Volunteering to watch your friend's children. If you don't have kids of your own, maybe you watched someone else's. When the pandemic locked down the economy, most child care centers closed. By December 2020, one in four centers was still closed. If you helped anyone with child care during this time, you should mention it on your resume.
- You could pursue additional certification. The Childcare Education Institute offers more than a dozen professional certification opportunities. Check online job boards to see if these certifications would come in handy for any of the positions you're seeking.
Find a child care job with a flexible schedule
Flexible, part-time work is common for child care workers. Since child care centers are open year-round and operate long hours so parents can pick up and drop off their children before and after work, many offer staggered shifts, perfect if you're looking for a part-time job.
The downside is that some family child care providers may demand long hours or flexibility from their workers to fit the irregular pattern of parents' work schedules. You may even find some parents who need evening or overnight care. You should read listings on major job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor closely to know what you're getting into. Make sure to check out employment agencies like ChildCare Careers, or dip your toe into the gig economy with apps like UrbanSitter, Sitter Pro, Sittercity and Bambino.
In the end, getting back to work is about more than landing a job. You must find a job that fits your schedule, working for people who understand your unique circumstances. Creating a resume that highlights your marketable skills, and is targeted at the jobs currently available, is a step in the right direction.