Why do a house sitting job application?
Your first priority
Before I go into the detail there’s one overarching theme that must permeate all your interactions with your hosts — make the hosts, their pets and their needs your top priority. When hosts are assessing applications for house sitting jobs they will be looking for how you can help them. They want to know what qualities, skills and experiences you’ll bring to the sit.
While your travel history and fitness expertise might be interesting to you they’re are not necessarily what your host will want to read about. Our hosts’ feedback has given us a really good idea of what hosts have appreciated in our approaches.
Your application letter must tell the host something about you, but focus on their needs and how you can meet them.
House sitting jobs must suit you, too
Having said that we are not suggesting you become a doormat. House sitting is a two-way street. The best house sitting jobs are based on mutual respect and an exchange of skills, experience and interests. We regard it as a privilege to be invited into someone’s home and our hosts’ preparation, care and support indicates they feel much the same way about us.
Consider your own needs carefully and apply only for sits that fit with what you can offer. This post might help you get clearer about these things.
All letters will be different, of course, depending on to whom you are writing and their needs. But we think there are eight essential parts of a good house sitting jobs application letter.
Eight steps to successful house sitting job applications
1. Host and pet names
Address hosts by name and mention their pets’ names. While this might seem obvious it’s amazing how many people forget this simple courtesy. Most people like to hear their own name and knowing their pets’ names shows you have read their profile and are genuinely interested.
2. Your name and occupation
3. Reasons you want the house sitting job
For the love of animals
It’s pretty obvious why most people want to house sit. They do it for one or two primary reasons – to travel and/or save money. If you are travelling and there’s somewhere you really want to go for whatever reason, let your host know. We went to Egypt for the amazing pyramids, the Netherlands for the culture, Switzerland for the mountains and England for the beautiful, green landscapes and historic buildings.
People generally take a lot of pleasure when others enjoy their home town. If they know you are coming to an area that specifically interests you they may feel more sure of your commitment.
We find hosts really want us to enjoy their locations. They often provide lots of useful information about the best things to do and see and it’s great to get local insights.
We are the long-term, slow-travel variety of tourist, so we’re looking for the opportunity to explore our destinations in a relaxed way. Our house sitting job provides the perfect opportunity for us to travel the way we want. We’re not bucket-list-focussed though we don’t object to visiting popular tourist trails once in a while. Every destination has its unique characteristics and we love wandering around to discover them.
This style of travel is ideally suited to the house sitter. You’re not wedded to anyone else’s schedule. If you want to spend a rainy day on the sofa, watching Netflix and patting the cat, you can.
4. Respond to hosts' needs
Read all information you have about the sit and your hosts’ situation before writing your house sitting job application. Note the hosts’ preferences and specific requests about their pets. For example, if the pets have health problems and require medication, let the host know your experience administering pills, injecting insulin or changing dressings. If they mention wanting the sitter to come a day or two early, let them know in your letter if you are able to meet that requirement.
5. Give concrete examples of your experience and skills
We try not to generalise our experience. Specific, positive experience with particular pets can be very attractive to hosts. For example, we’ve cared for retrievers and they can be quite challenging, especially when they are young and strong. When applying for a sit with a retriever we might mention this. Another example is if your host has a swimming pool and wants someone to be able to look after it. We tell prospective hosts about homes where we’ve looked after pools.
6. Provide reviews or references
Reviews and references are also a way of building trust. This is because trust is critical to relationships with hosts. Good reviews attest to your competence, an important factor in building trust.
7. Express a positive attitude -- be enthusiastic and friendly
This one is pretty straightforward. Attitude is everything. For hosts to invite you into their home they will want to feel a connection with you. So, in your letter, show your genuine enthusiasm and friendliness.
When we started house sitting I was wary of big dogs, the result of an unpleasant experience as a child. Besides quite a few adorable small dogs, we have now cared for medium-sized and big dogs and my attitude has changed. All the dogs we’ve met have been fun loving, sweet natured, affectionate and great company. I now look forward to spending time with breeds such as labs, retrievers, border collies and airedales.
So when we send a house sitting job application that says we would love to care for the hosts’ dogs, we mean it.