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Resumes for Personal Assistants and Domestic Workers

In this article, you will find resume tips for people seeking positions serving the needs of people in their homes and other settings. Targeted jobs include:

  • Personal Assistant
  • Nanny
  • Elder Care Specialist
  • Housekeeper
  • Estate Manager

One of the more interesting, highly challenging, and potentially most fulfilling career paths one can choose is working directly with people to address their day-to-day needs in their homes or other unconventional settings (for example, hotel suites, tour buses, movie sets, corporate suites, and so on) . This could mean acting as the personal assistant for a celebrity, managing a large estate for a wealthy family, or providing care and companionship for an elderly person no longer able to manage on his or her own. Because you're working in someone's home, and thus will have access to a great deal of sensitive information about your employer, the element of trust figures largely in hiring decisions for such positions. If you plan to pursue employment in this arena, there are several key things to remember about preparing your resume and cover letters and conducting a job search. Here are just a few tips that you may find helpful:

  1. Emphasize your versatility and resourcefulness. One day you may be picking up dry cleaning and walking the dog; the next day you may be planning a dinner party for 20 or more guests; and on the next you may be asked to select the perfect birthday gift for a relative living abroad and ensure it arrives on time for the celebration. Your resume needs to demonstrate your problem-solving skills and ability to address such diverse demands in an effective manner.
  2. Do your research. Because your prospective employer is likely to be an extremely busy, high-profile person—and possibly one with little patience—you need to do your homework to understand who he or she is, what motivates him or her, and, most importantly, what he or she expects from employees. You probably had to network to learn about this opening in the first place, so use your networking contacts to gather as much information as you can about the position and the employer. Tailor your cover letter specifically to them, and develop answers to anticipated interview questions that will strike just the right chord with the potential new boss.
  3. Network, network, network! These opportunities aren't likely to be advertised in the Sunday classifieds or on Monster.com. The employers we're talking about are typically very private and guarded about the details of their personal lives and probably wish to be as discreet as possible. There are some agencies in larger metropolitan areas that specialize in placing people in these types of positions. Seek them out and learn what they are looking for in candidates. If you have friends in this line of work, find out if they or their employers know of any opportunities. Do the people you plan to use for references have friends or acquaintances in the market for personal assistants? One of your job requirements will be ingenuity and resourcefulness, so use these abilities to find the job opportunities!
  4. Include your references. Most resumes these days do not include references directly on the resume, and even the old standby, “References Available Upon Request” is quickly going out of style. However, in this category it's all about trust, so you should include your references on a separate page that is paper-clipped to the resume (no staples!). Include the references’ names, professional affiliations, daytime phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. These people should be former employers, former coworkers, or other professional acquaintances who can genuinely speak to your work-related qualifications. If you know a high-profile public official, celebrity, or person of substance who is willing to serve as your reference, by all means consider going for it. Always ask permission of all your references before listing their names on your reference sheet. (See an example of a reference sheet accompanying Serena Montoya's resume, which appears first among the resume samples that follow.)

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