As an au pair, you gain knowledge and experience of many different sorts that will be useful in any professional setting. Not only do you learn how to deal with new structures and responsibilities in a challenging new environment, you also develop your personal capabilities and expand your general horizons.
Read more to find out about the new strengths and capabilities that you'll be able to point to after your au pair experience:
1. Foreign language skills
Multilingual competence: A super ability that that will benefit you in whatever professional direction you choose to go after your au pair experience. Being immersed in a foreign country and surrounded by people of different nationalities gives you the most intensive and effective language training available anywhere.
At first it may be difficult, you'll probably make many mistakes and you won't always find the right words. But as you spend more time in your host country you will become more and more bilingual. And being bilingual in the international job market is a great advantage for any type of job search.
2. Growing up and gaining courage
As an au pair you go alone to an unfamiliar country and work with people who at first you don't know at all. This takes courage and it's not something that everyone can manage. As an au pair you'll learn to handle unfamiliar situations and master all kinds of different challenges - practically, culturally, interpersonally. These are experiences that add to your maturity and self-confidence. And these are qualities that any future employer will value and that will make you stand out from other candidates with recruiters.
3. Flexibility and adaptability
Working abroad as an au pair, you'll be immersed in the culture of a new country. The customs and habits of your host family will almost certainly be different from those of your home country. You'll need to adapt to a new way of life. This sort of intercultural flexibility and adaptability is highly sought after by recruiters and employers. A candidate who can easily adapt to a new environment will be able to integrate quickly and without much difficulty to a new team and a new corporate (or international) culture.
4. Responsibility and discipline
Providing childcare in a new family is a big responsibility and requires discipline, patience and steadiness. After handling a challenge like this, you can be confident of your ability to handle stress on a daily basis and to manage serious responsibilities on your own as well as when working in the family team. This will add to your self-confidence over time and make you better able to assert yourself – one more asset to put forward on your CV in connection with the au pair stay!
5. Setting priorities and establishing structures
As an au pair you learn firsthand how to plan and structure family activities as you take on responsibilities for childcare and household activities. You need to keep a good overview of what needs to be done and prioritise so that things runs smoothly. These are skills that are relevant to every working situation and you can point to them as you develop your career after your au pair experience.
Telling your au pair story
So when it comes time to present your au pair experience to future employers, be ready to tell them all that you have learned. It is much more than "just" being an au pair!