You have signed up with one or maybe all the housesitting websites, but have yet to have one of your applications accepted. We feel your pain. Getting that first housesit is very difficult, so here are some tips that can help you to improve your chances of being chosen:
1. Improve your profile
After putting you in a list of possible housesitters to accept, the homeowners will most likely have a look at your profile. Make sure that your profile is as detailed as possible. Provide a well-written paragraph about yourself, your profession, where you are based/from and how old you are. It is also a good idea to explain how/why you have the mobility to be a housesitter (you work remotely, you are retired, you are on a career break).
The most important piece of information is to share your experience with house/pet-sitting. Even if you have never taken care of someone’s house (friends/family counts here), you can at least mention your experience with animals. Have you owned cats or dogs? Have you worked with horses? Make sure to include anything that might be of interest for a wide variety of homeowners, including that you have references.
Lastly, include some pictures. Select a couple of pictures that show your face, maybe you caring for a pet and most importantly the pictures should reveal your personality.
The best way to find out about new housesitting assignments is to sign up for daily email alerts. Most of the housesitting websites let you choose a country / several countries, and you will be notified of new housesits in these countries via email every day. As soon as you see an ad for a housesit you might possibly want, react quickly.
Write and send your application as soon as you see the ad. Homeowners get dozens of applications within the first 24 hours and housesitting positions get filled very fast. The earlier you apply, the higher the chance that the homeowners will remember your application and that the position is not filled yet – some gigs, especially in popular locations, are filled within a week of posting.
3. Make your application personal
Not much different to a cover letter for a job application, personalize your housesit application for each and every housesit you apply for. Include details that the homeowners mentioned in their ad, for example that you have experience with the type of pet they have, have spent time in the same location before, or anything else that you can show that you relate with that makes you a great choice for caring for their home.
Even though the homeowners can look at your profile, the application will most likely be their first impression of you, so introduce yourself again with a more personalized version of the information in your bio.
Another important thing to include: if you have references from previous housesitting assignments, make sure to include them right in the application letter. This makes you appear experienced, trustworthy and confident that these people have good things to say about you.
4. Get references
If you don’t have any housesitting experiences, get creative and think of who you can put down as a reference. Have you dog-sat for a family member who would agree to be your reference? Do you have a great relationship with your landlord who can confirm that you are a responsible tenant who values their home? Tell friends that you are interested in housesitting and maybe they can help spread the word so that you can housesit for friends or co-workers to get that first reference.
Homeowners just want to know that they can trust you. When we casually mentioned to a client that we were looking to housesit in the U.S., she was thrilled at our experience (which was limited at that time) and asked right away if we could house and cat sit for her in Los Angeles.
5. This application is not about you
When you apply for a housesit, the homeowners are choosing the person or couple that is best for their home and their pets, not based on who you are or what you need.
It is perfectly fine to list things the most basic things that you require – like internet, transportation, an urban environment – but both your profile and your application need to focus on what you bring to the assignment. Finding out about your needs and looking at your deal-breakers can be discussed after you have been selected as a possible housesitter.
For now, making a responsible, reliable and friendly first impression is most important and there is no better way to do that than to relate to the homeowners why choosing you will reduce their stress, make them feel their home is safe, and allow them to enjoy their time away from home.
Getting that first housesit can be tricky, but we are certain that following these steps will help make your profile and application stand out amongst the crowd. We started in just the same way and have now had eleven housesits in two years all over the world!
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