While celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna were raising the visibility of mannies in a largely female-dominated industry, the “man-cession” left men bearing the brunt of job losses during the 2009 financial crisis. As more men found themselves looking for work, the idea of hiring a male childcare provider was gaining ground. Though the majority of private, in-home childcare providers are still female, there is a rapidly growing subset of the community actively seeking a manny to care for their children. If you’re interested in breaking into the business, however, you may have already learned that succeeding in the private childcare industry can still be a bit more difficult for men.
It may not be fair that gender biases can affect the perceptions of hiring parents and prospective employers, but it is a fact. If you’re determined to pursue a career in the private childcare industry, it’s an unfortunate but unavoidable fact that some families will be more suspicious of your motives than they would be of a female applicant. In order to truly succeed as a manny, you’ll have to be dedicated and patient, because it may take a bit longer for you to find a quality post than your female counterparts will face. Even when you face difficulties locating and securing a great job, you can’t give up if you have a genuine desire to work in the private childcare field.
Get Some Relevant Education Under Your Belt
A relevant degree or at least some college is a requirement for many employers, regardless of an applicant’s gender. Because it can be more difficult for mannies to find the right post, it’s doubly important for you to obtain an education in a related field. A background in education, social work or even healthcare can help set you apart from the nannies vying for a choice position, giving you a bit of an advantage.
Keep Your Certifications Current
A childcare provider, male or female, will find it almost impossible to obtain a high-quality post if they neglect to obtain basic certifications in first aid and CPR. It’s also imperative that you keep those certifications current; lifesaving skills aren’t the kind that you use every day, and forgetting a crucial step because your certification is far from current can have disastrous results. Before you ever show up to your first interview, be sure that you attend some CPR and first aid classes to become certified. If there are other certifications related to childcare offered in your area, it’s wise to obtain those as well. Remember, there’s no such thing as having too much education when it comes to caring for children.
Understand the Power of a Great Reference
References are among a nanny’s – or manny’s – most powerful weapons in the battlefield that is a job hunt. As a manny, you’re likely to automatically face a bit more hesitance than other applicant’s, so you’ll need to make sure that all of your references are impeccable. Treating every post with respect and performing to the best of your abilities will help you to build your references. Remember that in the childcare industry, your reputation is everything. Guard yours carefully, as it can give you the edge over a competitor during the hiring process.
Emphasize Your Unique Attributes
As a manny, there are areas that you’ll have an inherent advantage over most female applicants. Part of selling yourself to potential employers is to emphasize those attributes. If you’re exceptionally strong, you may be able to help a child with mobility issues more than a slender nanny. Playing sports or volunteering as a coach will make the parents of budding athletes take notice. Whatever it is that makes you unique, sets you apart, and makes you an outstanding childcare provider, make sure that you bring it to parents’ attention during the interview or include it on your resume.
Be More than a Buddy
The perception of a manny can be more of a grown-up playmate than a responsible caregiver, a reputation you’ll have to combat a bit. While part of your appeal as a manny is that parents may see you as more willing to play and have fun, they also need to know that you’re able to be responsible and confident in an emergency. Establishing a reputation as a manny who knows how to build a blanket fort while simultaneously changing a diaper and stopping a sibling war isn’t easy, but it will serve you well as you search for and retain a great post.