For those looking to have success as housesitters, there are two major things to keep in mind when setting up your housesitting profile. First, homeowners have hundreds, if not thousands, of housesitters to choose from and can even be overwhelmed by the number of applications they get.
Second, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This well-worn expression is probably the most important thing to understand when creating your profile. Homeowners want someone trustworthy above all else to care for their home and pets for extended periods of time.
We go into detail in our post, How to set up the perfect housesitting profile, where we talked about the importance of the right photo, a catchy headline and how to highlight how you fit the homeowners needs, even if you don’t have any experience housesitting.
Our first ever housesitting profile makeover
One of our readers, Kristen, is feeling frustrated that, despite being signed up to two websites, she is not getting a response to her housesitting applications.
The challenge: Compared to many housesitters out there, Kristen is young, between 18-25. This might make some homeowners nervous. However, Kristen is an online entrepreneur so she is very flexible with times and locations, and she also has a healthy amount of experience caring for homes and pets. We need to highlight the trustworthy and experienced elements of her profile without trying to hide her age.
Let’s start with a look at Kristen’s existing profile on MindMyHouse.com
The availability of references is an encouraging start, being self-employed shows flexibility and Kristen obviously has experience with the gamut of household pets.
Room for Improvement
The Headline: Friendly, nonsmoking + responsible young woman excited to look after your home!
Suggestion: Add profession into headline to counterbalance young age:
Friendly, animal-loving online entrepreneur available to care for your home and pets.
The photo has a great, large view of the face like we suggest, with a big open smile, which makes her seem friendly and open. However, it comes off a bit too young and seemed like a webcam photo at first glance.
Suggestion 1: I would include this in one of the additional gallery photos, but opt for a more professional looking picture.
Suggestion 2: Add a few more photos to the gallery showing yourself with pets or doing one of your hobbies.
About this sitter
20something woman seeking meaningful adventures through housesitting. Longer term house sits are preferred and I’m willing to go anywhere from N. America, Central/South America + Europe.
Homeowners usually want older, mature couples, and Kristen is a young, single female. That doesn’t mean she isn’t capable, but she needs to lead with a more mature angle, rather than ‘20-something’.
Room for Improvement
Why not start with an introduction like this:
‘My name is Kristen, I live in XX and I love to travel. Because I am running my own online business doing XX, the location independence allows me to housesit for long periods of time and/or at short notice.’
Even though there is an extra section for ‘Experience’, this is the first and potentially only paragraph busy homeowners will read. This is why something like: ‘I have experience caring for homes in TOWN, TOWN and TOWN, and have cared for pets like dogs, cats, hamsters, fish and birds.’ should be added here, too.
You mention willingness to go anywhere, which shows commitment, but we would suggest leaving out ‘adventurous’. An adventurous retired couple has a very different feeling to it compared to someone in their early 30s. You want to avoid giving homeowners any reason to worry about parties or something similar.
Why they want to house sit
I am a responsible, adventurous and passionate young woman starting her own online business through coaching and freelance writing.
Experiencing new cultures like a local is my passion (did I tell you about the time I interned in Bucerias, Mexico for a summer?) The best way to experience a new place is by living like a local and experiencing everything the town/city/country has to offer.
I am also looking to expand my Spanish from intermediate to fluency, so if you’re in a Spanish speaking country, talk to me!
Room for Improvement
Again, we would suggest leaving out ‘adventurous’ and start with responsible, honest and trustworthy writer and XX coach, who works full-time online.
Reword ‘looking to expand my Spanish’ to something like ‘I speak Spanish and would love to use my language skills during a housesit which is why I look forward to housesits in Spanish speaking countries.’ – say what you can offer rather than what you want.
Keep your statement of ‘the best way to experience a new place is by living like a local and experiencing everything the town/city/county has to offer.’ This is a great reason to housesit. Why not also add that while you love to experience new cultures and countries, you need a quiet place to be able to focus on work as well.
This reads as responsible, plus pet owners like this as it suggests you plan on being around a lot to spend time with pets and won’t be out sightseeing and day-tripping all the time and neglecting the pets.
We suggest you leave the part in brackets out ‘did I tell you about the time I interned in Bucerias, Mexico for a summer? Go for something like: ‘Experiencing new cultures like a local is my passion and I loved my time in Bucerias, Mexico, in 20XX, when I spent the summer interning at a XX organization. The XX months there showed me I adapt well to local life in new countries and my preferred way of travel is living like a local / soaking up local life, for weeks or months at a time.
Throughout my life, I’ve been taking care of animals. I grew up with cats, dogs, birds, fish, hamsters – you name it! I take care of my friend’s cat while he’s out of town (which is at least once a month for a week) as well as maintain plants and bring in the mail. While my parents are out of town, I also will go home to take care of their three dogs and bird.
Room for Improvement:
This paragraph comes off a little young, with the mention of your parents and your friends. Instead of saying ‘your friend’s cat’ you could say here that you ‘take care of a cat one week a month,’ and regularly return to your parents’ house to look after their three dogs and birds, along with other household responsibilities such as XXX. You can even mention the breed of dog, since that might be all some homeowners with the same pets need to choose you over someone else.
What can they bring to the assignment
I have experience taking care of animals + houses alike (including my own apartment) and I am no stranger to having someone else rely on me to take care of their pets. I’m naturally attracted to animals and love to be around them.
Room for Improvement
Everything you say here is great, but you can also add here specific characteristics if you have them:
Do you enjoy any chores or household work in particular, like gardening or anything else around the house? Point out again that you are flexible, self-sufficient, reliable, great with animals – anything that could be of interest for homeowners. If you have a car (if you’ll be applying for housesits in your home area) you should also mention this, as many homeowners prefer sitters with their own cars.
Thank you for taking the time to look at my page! I am absolutely thrilled about the opportunity to house sit as I have traveled extensively to quite a few countries around the world. I believe the most authentic way to experience a country is by living like a local and feel house sitting is a great compromise.
I’m also a huge animal lover and have experience taking care of dogs, cats, birds, fish and more. I find myself to be very capable and responsible. I would treat your home as if it was my own.
I am friendly and love getting to know people on a deeper level. I think it’s important to make connections with people you meet in your travels and even in your own home town.
Other random facts about me: I have an intermediate level of Spanish and am open to learning other languages. I am a nonsmoker, vegetarian, and an optimist.
I look forward to hearing from you!
All my best, Kristen
Room for Improvement
Overall this is a very positive representation. We would suggest neatening up the content a bit and always keeping in mind that your profile should include information that will resonate with homeowners looking for a stable, safe sitter for their home and pets.
We would leave out the first tow sentences – ‘Thank you…’ and “I am absolutely thrilled…” It comes off a bit too keen. Start with your second sentence instead: ‘I believe the most authentic way to experience a country is by living like a local and feel house sitting is a great compromise.’ - this is a great intro.
While it is important to emphasize you are good with animals, continue from that first sentence and talk about why you want to housesit: you are self-employed, location independent, can work wherever you want, and that housesitting allows you to work in a quiet environment and yet allows you to get to know new places at the same time, etc).
Next explain time you have spent abroad in one or two sentences and then go into your experience caring for pets and homes.
In the second paragraph you say ‘I find myself to be very capable and responsible.’ Do others find you responsible? If so, we would say something like ‘those who I housesit for would describe me as capable and responsible’ making it somebody else’s assessment of your characteristics rather than you rating yourself.
Keep the sentence ‘I would treat your home as if it was my own.’ – that is what many homeowners want to hear and truly appreciate.
The ‘random facts’ are great, but why not address it as ‘additional information’ or just include it in a small paragraph without naming it. I have an intermediate level of Spanish and am open to learning other languages. I am a nonsmoker, vegetarian, and an optimist. This will give you an advantage for housesits in Spanish-speaking countries, and we have come across many housesit ads where the owners prefer vegetarians, so this will be an advantage for you as well.
If you are not a party girl, don’t hesitate to say that – should homeowners be worried about trusting a 20something with their house, they will appreciate it if you say something like: ‘At the moment, I am focusing on growing my online business and spend most days in front of the computer. I am social and like to go out for drinks occasionally, but I am not a party girl. I am a hard worker and truly enjoy the company of pets while I work from home, which is why housesitting works great for me.’
Another thing that you should add is that you have references, if you have any. If they will give you glowing references, don’t be afraid to say that ‘excellent references are available on request.’