How To Create A Successful House Sitter Profile
House sitting is a growing trend amongst savvy travelers keen to save their pennies and have a more immersive experience when they travel. With assignments on offer all over the world, house sitting abroad is a great alternative to a low cost staycation.
If you’re contemplating becoming a house sitter yourself, the first step to securing an assignment is to sign up for a house sitting service and create a profile. As with so many things in life, first impressions matter and it pays to remember that your profile can make or break your application.
So how do you make sure yours is eye catching and portrays your credentials in an appealing format?
As a regular house sitter I have my own theories as to what makes a successful profile. It is my view that with a compelling description of your personality, hobbies and relevant experience, along with engaging images to illustrate the points highlighted in your application, you can make your profile stand out from the crowd.
But what do other experienced house sitters believe gives an applicant’s profile that eye catching edge?
I’ve reached out some seasoned house sitters to get their view on what makes a successful profile and how best to set about constructing your own application.
Introduce and Inform
Dani & Jess the authors of Break Free – The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting, advise that you should introduce and inform.
The beauty of house sitting is that it is a win-win situation: home owners find someone they trust to care for their home and pets, while travelers or digital nomads can live like locals in quality accommodation around the world – and no one pays a cent. However the key to this successful union, is the trust you build during the application process so that you, and the home owners are both sure you meet each other’s needs.
Be entirely up front about who you are. Show your true personality and be honest about your hobbies and habits. That way, if the home owners feel a connection with you, it is a true connection and not one that will erode the more they get to know you. This is especially important for house sitters without any experience. If the home owners see that you have a common interest, they might favor your application over another with experience but no connection on a personal level whatsoever.
Honesty is also a significant factor. If you have no experience with dogs, then don’t lie and say that you do. Should the home owners choose you to house and dog sit for them, it will become apparent that you don’t. Both the dog and the owners will notice and it might cause an uncomfortable situation resulting in the home owners, perhaps doubting their judgement and not being at ease the entire time they’re away.
Even if a house sit sounds fabulous, like a beach front villa with an infinity pool, only apply if you are comfortable with all of the responsibilities involved.
Detail Your Motivations
Warren & Betsy from Married With Luggage, suggest detailing your motivations.
When applying for a house sit, remember that you are making an introduction to home owners who are likely filled with anxiety and concern at the possibility of having someone they do not know step in to look after their possessions and pets. Your role when writing to them is to assuage these concerns and let the owner picture you, in their homes, taking care of their house as if it was your own.
Your goal when writing your response should not be to focus on why you want to take care of their home, but instead to provide comfort and assurances that you can be trusted with their most valuable possessions. Focus on how you can help them while sharing more about yourself. Make it clear that you understand the importance of maintaining a home and keeping it secure.
Share a bit about yourself and why you house sit. What do you get out of it? Let them know how you enjoy seeing new parts of the world as a local or that you enjoy having time with animals because you cannot have your own. Whatever your reason for house sitting, share with them honestly. Your goal is to make a personal connection. In addition, let them know you’ve done it in the past and share examples so they can visualize you in their home.
Your introduction letter to a home owner is your opportunity to share why you will be the ideal candidate. By taking the time to make the letter personal you will be helping to address the concerns of the owner. In addition, you will differentiate yourself from the group of potential applicants and greatly increase the chance of landing your next great house sitting gig.
Highlight Your Skills and Experience
Talon & Tigger from Travels4Yum, recommend drawing attention to your credentials.
Think of your house sitter profile like your employment CV. One of the things you want your potential employer to know is how varied your expertise is, how you deal with commitment and challenges, and so on.
Like all job opportunities, a home owner is going to get a LOT of applications. You need to be able to stand out. “Hi, we’d really like to come live in your beautiful home and take care of your dog and cat!” is going to earn a click of the delete button.
Let them know why they need to select you. Ask yourself what you would want to know about someone you were going to select to come live in your home and take care of your pets (which most likely are family to them). What would be important to you is very likely going to be of similar importance to them. As with a CV, you want to keep it brief, but you want to really tempt them to reach out and follow up with you.
Nicole & Michael from Suitcase Stories, advise you to illustrate your profile.
The saying “A picture tells a thousand words” is very appropriate when constructing a successful profile. Photos give home owners insight into your personality before they have a chance to speak to you. After all, they are asking a complete stranger to come into their home and look after their beloved pets, of course they want to ‘see’ who you are before contacting you further. If someone was applying to look after your precious home and beloved pets you would certainly want to ‘see’ what they looked like before even considering handing over your keys.
Including photos of yourself with animals will have a big impact on anyone who is considering you to look after their pets. It can be your own pets or ones you have cared for, but it shows your love for animals, which is by far the most important aspect for most pet owners.
Make your profile a little more personal by adding photos of yourself doing the things you love such as pottering in the garden, or reading by the pool. First impressions are very important for the home owner. Put yourself in their shoes and you will understand why.
Pete & Dalene the authors of How To Become a House-Sitter and See the World, discuss the importance of sourcing relevant references.
Random home-owners, perhaps on the other side of the globe, are considering trusting their pets and property to you – a complete stranger – and will want to learn as much about you as possible. Ensure that you have quality references who are up for the task (ask them first!) and that you have their contact details ready.
References are especially important for first-time house-sitters.
Consider getting references from: former landlords, or anyone who can speak of your ability to take care of a home; veterinarians, neighbors whose pets you have taken care of, or anyone who can share an insight into your abilities and disposition towards animals; and anyone who can attest to your character, reliability and trustworthiness (former bosses, long term friends and colleagues, etc.).
Of course, if you have cared for a property before, be sure to ask the owners for reference letters that clearly state when you worked for them, for how long, and what responsibilities were involved (number and type of pets, yard work, etc.), as well as how they would rate you as a house-sitter.
A big thank you to my savvy seasoned sitters for sharing their knowledge and expertise. If they have inspired you to become a house sitter take a look at our list of the top 10 international locations to house sit and start applying for assignments today.