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5 tips for landing your first child care job

08 March 2024 - by Renuka Malhotra

With updates from Tia Morrison on March 11, 2024

The child care sector is brimming with job opportunities. According to an Infiniti Research Limited report on the Global Child Care Market 2023–2027, the sector is expected to grow by $189.07 billion between 2022 and 2027. The Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement is a five-year plan the Ontario government signed with the Government of Canada to lower child care fees for eligible families, improve wages for child care staff, and increase access to quality child care programs. It launched in 2022 and has created even more demand for child care. That means there are more opportunities than ever to ignite your career in child care, specifically at the YMCA, one of Canada's Top 100 Employers. 

If you’re passionate about working with children, want to work at one of Canada's largest child care providers, and are excited to be the spark that makes a child shine, read on for five tips to help start your career.

Tip #1: Carefully read the job description

Lisa Paulo-Alberto, General Manager of Child & Family Development at the Y, says, “Be aware of the job description and posting — read the job posting!” She recommends carefully reviewing the expectations, skills, and qualifications required for the role so you can highlight your relevant experiences and skills. It’s also a great way to prepare for your interview!

Tip #2: Polish your resume

Make a good first impression on a potential employer with a standout resume. Customize your resume based on the job description — you shouldn’t send the same resume to multiple job postings. If you need help, consider reaching out to  YMCA Employment Services or investing in the services of a professional resume writer to create a polished resume that showcases your skills and experiences.

Tip #3: Highlight relevant experience

If you have limited or no professional experience, highlight any related experience you have in child care, including certifications, diploma programs, working with children in other settings, or even experience working in customer service or other related fields. Volunteer experience is relevant when applying for child care jobs! Check out organizations like the YMCA of Greater Toronto that offer volunteer opportunities that can help you get started in child care.  

An educator surrounded by three children at a round wooden table guides a child to draw with a blue marker on a sheet of paper. On the table are a box of markers and a blue toy airplane.

Tip #4: Gather references

YMCA Child Care asks for three references as part of the application process, so have a list of references from professionals, schools, or colleagues ready. This will save you time in the final stages of candidate selection and may give you a competitive advantage over other applicants.

Remember to tell your references that they may be contacted by the employer.

Tip #5: Practise your soft skills before your interview

The YMCA Child Care Recruitment Team recommends having mock interviews to help build your confidence, practise your interview skills, and prepare for different types of working with children scenarios. During the interview process, consider highlighting your communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and child safety knowledge.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications or request to repeat the question when an interview question is not clear to you,” recommends Aradel Malvar, the Child Care Recruitment Coordinator at the Y. When you’re clear on the ask, you’re better able to respond.

Use these tips to stand out from the crowd. Be the spark that changes a child’s life, and apply to join the YMCA Child Care team today!


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