Take this one for example…….
It’s titled ‘I’m Your Guy’ and goes on to give you his name, where he comes from and that he’s single. The accompanying photograph shows an attractive male, smiling alluringly at the camera.
My first reaction was that he got this house sitting platform mixed up with a matchmaking site instead. But who knows maybe he is looking for love too.
What makes a good house sitting profile as opposed to a bad one?
To answer that question we need to look at a profile from a homeowner’s perspective and ask ‘what are they are looking for in a potential sitter?’
As a homeowner who has used house sitters, I wanted someone who was reliable, practical, a cat lover and someone I could trust not to have wild parties. Therefore when looking for a sitter anything that threw any doubt about the sincerity or reliability of a person, immediately set off warning signals for me.
Before we get into what makes a good profile let’s look at a few examples of ones that quite frankly suck!
Should your profile heading be good, zany or confusing?
The first thing that a homeowner sees is your profile heading. A good one will encourage the homeowner to click on the link and read more. A bad one (such as the ones below) will have them screaming with laughter, or hastily moving on.
Here are a few profile headings that don’t inspire confidence.
Novice French Speaking Australian Teacher/Author –
This one isn’t too bad but it’s a source of puzzlement. Novice what, house sitting or speaking French?
How about these three………
Happy Home Warmer
I mean what the heck is a Home Warmer? As for the others they are a complete waste of valuable marketing space.
Then there are those that look great at first inspection. Like this one-
Trusted Retired Military, Very Available, Very Handy with Reverences
Retired military, yes that’s good. Very available? Well why are they very available, what’s wrong with them? The turn off for me though as a homeowner is the ‘Very Handy with Reverences’……
I think they mean References?
The golden rule is to proof and spellcheck your house sitting profile before you publish! Or get a professional to do it for you.
Then there is the uninspired –
House Sitter Available
On one site alone I found at least 4 profiles with this heading. No information on who they are and a profound lack of originality.
It’s all about ME!
I’ve left the worst offenders till last. Those that are making the worst possible mistake as would be house sitters. They are making it all about them.
We would like to be in the SD, IN, IL, IA, MI, area for two months beginning mid August
I am changing my study subject and want to spend the time in between traveling
At least the sitters who posted the first example are being very specific about where they want to be and their timeline.
The second one is all about them, it’s a ‘me me me’ headline. It also tells us that they are students and as they are changing their study subject perhaps giving commitment is a problem?
I hope you had a chuckle over these but more importantly do you see why these are ‘poor’ examples of headlines?
Let’s now look at a few good examples of house sitting profiles
Female couple–responsible, experienced, good with animals
Excellent, tells us who they are, that they are experienced and will be great with your pets, all in less than 10 words. The next two are also good examples.
Mature, clean, experienced, loving pet sitter available
Active retired couple – will take GREAT care of your home and your pets!
The trick is to get as many benefits in as possible, without getting too long winded about it.
My final example shows how to use your past profession as a benefit, the only downside to this is that it is a little long.
Retired Peace officer and wife will take care of your pets and your home while you are away
What makes a good profile picture?
The next thing that a homeowner sees is your main profile picture.
Peruse any house sitting matchmaking site and have a look at the profile pictures. You will find glamour shots and couples sitting behind tables full of empty glasses and wine bottles. Even photographs where it is impossible to see the sitters face, thanks to sunglasses, hats and poor lighting.
What do you want your photograph to convey? Is it you as an attractive single on the lookout for fun, party animals or some stranger who is unwilling to be seen?
Your photograph needs to be a clear head and shoulder shot of you and your partner (if sitting as a couple). If you are sitting as a couple, a photograph of just one of you is inconsistent with whom you are and causes doubts.
Most sites allow you to upload more than one photograph, for the others use action shots of you with yours or other people’s pets. Every photograph is there to reinforce the image that you want to portray. Hopefully that image is one of reliability and trustworthiness if you want to land the more sought after sits.
If the homeowners like what they see in the headline and the photos they will go on to read your ‘profile’. Your profile is how you introduce yourself as a potential candidate and can be tricky to master.
Perfect house sitting profiles
The aim is to introduce yourself in a way that allows homeowners insights into who you are, without being all about you. Yes, this does sound like a paradox but is really not that hard to do, when you know how.
So here’s how. Many of the sites ask you to answer three questions and even if they don’t specifically, this is a good format to follow.
The first question is ‘tell us about you’.
This is where you explain who you are, where you’re from and your background. If you are a couple, do an introduction of you as a couple and then do a more detailed mini bio each
The second question is ‘tell us why you want to housesit’
This is not an invitation to regale them with a long involved sob, sob story and why you need to house sit to feel better about your life. However it is an opportunity to give an insight into why you choose to house sit. Unless it is just because you want to save money and travel the world while you find yourself.
The third question is along the lines of ‘tell us what you bring to the assignment’.
This is your opportunity to say if you are a homeowner yourself as it shows you understand the challenges of ongoing maintenance and security. Any other useful skills also go here, such as having a green thumb, pet first aid training, problem solving skills developed in your career etc.
Rather than list all these skills, present them as ‘benefits’ to the homeowner. For example ‘having a green thumb’ means their garden will be cared for and maintained and they won’t come home to a neglected wasteland or a 3 foot high lawn.
A couple of extra tips
Write your profile up in a word document rather than on the site itself. Most of them offer only a very small working ‘window’ making it really hard to see the layout. It also allows you to check for spelling and typo errors.
Once you are happy with it in word, upload to your platform of choice and if possible do a pre-view of it. This is important as the software may change spacing’s making your carefully separated text all merge together into one daunting block of text.
When you are completely happy with the appearance, click ‘publish or post’ and congratulate yourself on your live profile.
Now you can sit back and watch the offers roll in, right? Wrong! You are missing a vital component.
Yes, I know you are new to house sitting so how can you have references? Even if you think you have no house sitting experience you may find that you have in the past cared for a neighbors or a family members pet. Those people are your first references.
Even with no prior experience you can gather employment and character references. The easiest way to do this is to ask employers, friends and yes, even your landlord if they would give you a reference. You can make it easier for them by writing the reference for them.
Most references follow a simple format and to make life easier write a few different ones and ask them to choose one that is the same or similar to what they would have written.
If you are shaking your head in disbelief that anyone would give you a reference saying that you are a reliable character or took good care of your rented home. You probably aren’t going to do well as a house sitter.
Homeowners want reliable, trustworthy people. If this isn’t you, save your own and the house sitting community’s reputation and quit now.
Gaining an edge
Following these simple guidelines will enable you to build a good solid house sitting profile. However I know from personal experience that some people prefer to get some expert help. This is why I offer a unique, customized, house sitting profile writing service.
The House Sitters Edge combines your input and my expertise as a professional writer, to create a spectacular, benefit driven profile and to launch your house sitting experience in style.