How to start your career within a Private Household

How to start your career within a Private Household

As a new year (and new decade) starts, one of your New Year resolutions may be to start searching for a new job?

January is one of the busiest months in the job market, with lots of opportunities to find an interesting new role. Recruitment in the private household industry is also currently very strong. For those contemplating it, working in a private household can offer an incredibly lucrative and fulfilling career and can often provide opportunities to travel and see the world. However it remains an industry shrouded in mystery and is still notoriously difficult to get into.

Many believe that it is a world of aristocratic country estates similar to Downton Abbey, however most roles tend to be in a wide range of locations, from private homes in town and country to multi-property estates in international locations which are fully staffed.

It is true that the industry is challenging, and it demands the very best from those who choose to work in it. However, no two days are the same, and so there's plenty of opportunity to find something that you truly enjoy and can excel at.

Finding the right fit

Every household is unique, and staff are required to adapt to the prevailing lifestyle of that household. Some like their staff to feel like a part of the family, with interactions between staff and principals being relaxed and informal, whilst others are more formal with limited personal interactions. However for all households, each staff member will become a vital and integral part of the team, and everyone is dependent on each other to help the household run smoothly.

It is therefore essential for you to find a household which suits you and where you can feel at home. So when applying and interviewing for roles, it's worth taking the time to find out more about the working culture of the household involved and what is expected of you, so you can ensure that there's a good fit with your personality and working style, which will then ensure you enjoy your role and will succeed in it.

Roles on offer

These can vary depending on individual household or estate needs, however the most common ones most typically include:

Housekeepers
Nannies
Private Chefs & Cooks
Domestic Couples
Butlers
House Manager
Gardeners
Chauffeurs / Private Drivers
Personal Assistants
Estate Managers
Lady’s Maids / Personal Stylists / Wardrobe Managers
Staff for Shooting Parties
Staff for private yachts and ski chalets

Each role is equally important to the efficient running of the household and the team as a whole.

How do you start your career within a Private Household?

Each role will have its own set of desired qualifications and experience, however to kick start any career within a private household, it is ideal to have gained some experience in a hospitality environment or a related industry (such as luxury) where there's lots of personal interaction and a requirement to adhere to high service standards.

Consider your experience and skills and how these skills can be transferred to the private household world. Prioritise the most relevant, and highlight them when applying and interviewing for private household jobs.

There are various training courses which are worth looking into if you do lack hospitality experience, including courses for Butlers and Housekeepers. However, do your due diligence and check their credentials before making any payments, as unfortunately there are a lot of disreputable household training companies out there.

Very few private households advertise their roles directly, therefore registering with a credible and experienced recruitment agency will be necessary. (Click here for more information on our own registration process). Families often use the same agency every time they recruit and so they will have developed a good relationship with their consultant. In turn, the consultant will be able to give you valuable insight on the family, the household, and the role. They will also be able offer expert advice on how best to succeed in the interview process.

Obviously, a well prepared and thought out CV is essential, and any covering letter should clearly outline your skill set and how your experience and skills match those required for the role, as well as highlight your loyalty and commitment to any previous positions.

References are key when applying to work in a private household, so consider who will provide these and if possible have them ready when applying. It is a good idea to forewarn your previous employers that you have given out their details and that someone will be contacting them to obtain a reference for you. This will enable them to respond promptly, so not holding up the recruitment process.

And for those with no experience?

From time to time agencies will receive junior roles that may require you to ‘start from the bottom’. These roles can provide a good opportunity to gain the appropriate level of experience, in order to then rise up the ranks. Although the majority of households advertise through reputable agencies, some smaller households advertise directly on jobs boards such as Gumtree, or in specialist newspapers and magazines such as The Lady. In order to build your experience, you should consider these private ads, as they may be open to candidates who are junior or who have less than 2 years worth of experience, as opposed to agencies who typically request more.

Get in touch

If you're looking for an exciting new challenge, have some great transferable experience in the 5* hospitality sector, and feel you have the right personality and commitment necessary to work within a private household environment, then please send your CV through to info@greycoatlumleys.co.uk for consideration. We'd love to hear from you!

Posted: 18 May 2015 12:15:00
Filed under: Private Households & Estates

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