Recruitment in the private household industry is booming, however it is still an industry shrouded in mystery and notouriously difficult to get into.
Many believe it is a world of aristocratic country estates similar to Downton Abbey, however whilst yes there are jobs at these types of estates, the majority are private homes and estates where the families might have multiple properties all over the world, all fully staffed.
Working in the private household industry can offer an incredibly fulfilling and lucrative career and can provide many opportunities to travel and see the world.
It is true that the industry is challenging and demands those who choose to work in it to be at their very best every day. However, no two days will ever be the same, so you certainly won’t get bored and through the variety you will always find something that you truly enjoy and can excel at.
Every household is unique and requires their staff to fit in with their working style. Some households like their staff to feel like part of the family and are happy for them to interact and engage, others are more formal and wish to maintain their lives with very little personal interaction and conversation with their staff. However, for all households you will become a vital and integral part of the team and they and your team will rely on you to help the household run smoothly.
It is therefore essential to find a household that you can feel at home with and that you take the time when applying and interviewing for roles to find out what is expected of you, as finding the right household to suit your personality and working style will have a direct impact on your level of enjoyment and success in the role.
The roles required can vary depending on what the individual household or estate needs, however most typically include:
- Housekeeping Services
- Gardeners & Estate Managers
- Personal Assistants / Executive Assistants
- Maintenance & Facilities Management
- Lady’s Maids / Personal Styling / Wardrobe Management
- Chauffeurs / Private Drivers
- Staff for Shooting Parties
- Household Managers / Butlers
- Estate Directors & Family Office
- Estate/House Manager
- Personal Assistant
- Gardener/Handy Person
- Maintenance and Facilities Management
- Lady’s Maids/Wardrobe Management
- Domestic Couple
Each role is equally important to the efficient running of the household and the team as a whole.
So, 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 excellent experience in a hospitality environment or to have experience in a relatable industry.
Consider your experience and skills base and how these skills are transferable to the world of private households and highlight these when applying and interviewing.
There are various training courses which are worth looking into if you do lack the hospitality experience required, including those for Butlers and Housekeepers. Although please check their credentials before making any payments, as there are a lot of bogus household training companies out there.
Very few households advertise their roles directly, therefore registering with a credible and experienced recruitment agency will be necessary. Plus, families often use the same agency every time they recruit and so they will have a good relationship with their consultant who will be able to talk to you about their understanding of the family, the household and the role and will offer advice on whether you will be a good fit for the household. The consultant may have even visited the clients at their home and so will be able to give you a better insight of the property and of the local area.
Obviously, a well prepared and thought out CV is essential, and any covering letter should clearly outline your skills set and match your qualities and experience to those required for the role and highlight your loyalty and commitment to any previous positions.
References are key when applying to work in a private household, after all you will be working in someone’s home, 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 allow them to be prepared and respond promptly and therefore not hold up the recruitment process.
So, what next?
Agencies will from time to time get junior roles that may require you ‘start from the bottom’, however this is often necessary to gain the appropriate level of experience to allow you to rise up the ranks.
Although the majority of househoulds advertise through reputable agencies, there are some perhaps smaller households who will advertise directly on jobs boards or in specialist newspapers and magazines. In order to build up your experience whilst or before contacting agencies, you may want to contact these private ads as they may consider candidates who are junior or who have less than 2 years worth of experience as opposed to agencies who typically request more.
If you have some great transferable experience in luxury or 5* establishments and feel you have the right personality and commitment necessary to work within a private household send your CV through to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.