So, you’ve subscribed with one of the house sitting websites. You’re all fired up about the prospect of free luxury accommodation in glamorous locations around the world. Your profile looks good and you’ve already submitted a number of applications. But why haven’t you been able to pin down an assignment?
Don’t worry and certainly don’t give up – this is quite normal. It’s probably because you need to learn a few more skills to make your application stand out.
Firstly, there are two things you need to realise about house sitting:
1) House sitting is a skill that you need to develop, just like any other skill you’ve learned in your life.
2) The benefits of house sitting are so great that the market is becoming extremely competitive.
In the past when the industry was in its infancy, it was easy to apply for a house sit. You could be confident that you’d be one of only a few applying for each assignment. Now it’s quite possible that you’ll be one of a hundred candidates, all applying for the most desirable house sit opportunities.
This depends to a great extent which platform you subscribe to.
TrustedHouseSitters.com is very competitive. They have more registered sitters than any other platform. This is, however, balanced by many more listed assignments. Other popular platforms can be a lot less competitive, but they may have fewer opportunities.
We’ve have had great success recently with HouseCarers.com
When you submit a house sitting application, it helps to think of it as a job application. The principles are exactly the same:
- You’re applying for a position of trust
- Your “employer” will receive many applications
- They’ll choose the applicant they think most suitable for the position
- They’ll assess your relevant skills
- They’ll base their decision on many factors, including:
- Your initial letter
- Your profile title
- Your profile details (equivalent to your CV or resume)
- Your photos
- Your references
- An interview
- Their own requirements
- Their feelings about you
Just like when you apply for a job, you’ll have to pass every stage of the selection process to secure a house sit. In the same way that you can be rejected by a potential employer, your house sit application can be discarded by a home owner at any point, for any reason.
But, if you make the most of every part of the application process you can make sure that you are head and shoulders above your competition, or possibly even at the top of the pile – just because you took some extra time and effort to make yourselves stand out. See how you can go from position 100 to position 1 in seven easy steps!
Your “job” application
The initial email
Your initial response to the home owner’s advert has to catch the eye of your “employer”. It needs to be written personally, addressing the requirements detailed in their assignment. Refer to their pets by name. Demonstrate that you have read the posting fully and know exactly what they need from a sitter.
Address their needs before your own and explain how your experience fits with their requirements.
Obvious copy-and-paste applications sent to multiple home owners will be the first to hit the recycle bin. Especially if the name is wrong – something we’ve seen many a time!
At this point 100 applications will be trimmed to 20
Your profile headline
Your initial email sent via the “job centre” (house sitting website) will contain a link to your profile. Your profile title will usually be displayed. This title has to be informative and should inspire confidence. A profile title such as “Students looking for some summer fun” will be in the bin far sooner than “Responsible ex-policeman who loves animals, is keen to look after your home and pets”.
20 applicants trimmed down to 10
Your resume or CV (your online profile)
You wouldn’t dream of applying for a job with a half-completed CV. So don’t expect success as a house sitter without spending some time producing a top quality profile. You need well written, error-free prose. Your pictures need to be suitable, and you should seriously consider adding a video to your profile.
For more information on creating a compelling profile, check out this article – Getting started – your house sitting profile
A great profile might get you into the final 5 applicants
You’ve made it to the final five! There are a number of factors that will now contribute to your ability to secure the assignment. Let’s take a look at these.
References are possibly even more important for a house sitting application than for a job application, as the home owner gets to read them immediately along with your profile on most websites. However, when applying for a job your references aren’t usually contacted until you’re down to the final selection.
Your references need to be up to date, positive and informative. If you are new to house sitting then a selection of good character references will stand you in good stead.
Your website and online presence
While having your own website isn’t a requirement, it can certainly help. You can add much more information about yourself than on your profile on a house sitting platform. You have total control about how your information is displayed and viewed.
It’s also important to consider how you come across on social media – Facebook, Twitter, etc. Many homeowners will look for you here to get a feel for who you really are.
Your references, website and online presence should get you into the final 3, possibly the final 2
The next step is often a chat via Skype or telephone. This is your in-person job interview. You may still be one of two or more people being considered for the post. You have to have the right answers and ask the right questions. This is a great opportunity for you to also get an intuitive feel for the job. If you use Skype, you can ask to be introduced to the pets, you’ll get an idea of what the property is like. You might also decide at this stage that the job isn’t right for you.
Securing the job
Just like applying for a job, you have to be successful at every step of the selection process. And, as with employment, getting a house sit position is a numbers game. You have to persevere. Don’t let a couple of early failures stop you from trying again and again.
As we suggested at the start, applying for and securing house sitting positions is a skill you learn and master, not just something you do as a casual hobby. Like any skill you need to invest the time and effort to develop mastery. But done properly your investment will pay off in ways you can’t yet imagine.
You can soldier on alone, hoping to get the process right eventually, or you can get some help from the experts.
Our online training course will shortcut the learning process dramatically, making you a very desirable house sitter in a much shorter time. We will also provide you with example email templates, checklists and home owner questions. All of this knowledge will ensure you don’t get tripped up along the way.
Don’t take our word for it – see what others are saying about our training program below:
Brilliant Course – If you are looking to start house sitting, or improve your sitting with a better profile and knowledge on sitting, then this is an excellent course. Well laid out, with high quality videos, it comprehensively covers everything you would ever need to know. As full-time international house sitters ourselves, we are proud to recommend this course as a great resource you can come back to time and time again throughout your house sitting experiences. Well done Ian and Vanessa on a great job!Nat & Jodie