Applications: personal or practical, long or brief?

Hello!
I’m new to TH as of May 2023. I’m on my 2nd sit and have a few applications in the mix out there right now.

Question for both sitters and HOs:

In the application email - is it best to treat it like a cover letter essentially? To be a little personal, make connections to the HOs listing or pets, to share more in a personal way in letter form?

This has been my MO thus far and it’s been getting me great matches, but I do take a lot of time to craft a nice, personal letter style application for each sit.

But I’m wondering if some Sitters just keep it brief like -
Hi! I’d love to sit for Poppy on this set of dates! Please see my profile for my experience. I meet all your requirements and am happy to have a video call.
Done?

As HOs - what do you prefer and why?
As Sitters - what’s worked best for you getting sits you want?

Thanks, All!

Hello @KellySue_Nate & welcome! We’re experienced sitters who secure nearly all the sits we apply for (in a non smarty pants way). Always send a personal application that mentions the pets by name, habits, meds if relevant, our experience, a bit about where they live, our reviews & availability to video chat and a bit more. Treat it like an application for a gig/role/job that you really want and you’re way more likely to be successful. Which it sounds like you’re doing well already :raised_hands:t3: Note of caution. Don’t do the latter. Every HO we know who gets those “I’d love to sit for Poppy, please see my profile” thinks they’re lazy and deletes them instantly.

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That’s a great question. I’ve gotten both as a PP. I think a more personal application is great; to me, some details about the sitter’s experience with animals, especially the type in question (cats, in my case), are the top priority, as well as something about why the sit appeals to them - it doesn’t have to be my house specifically, it could be the area, time of year, whatever, just something that tells me the person has taken the time to read my profile and thinks it would be a good fit for them. Overall, a longer/more personal application suggests to me that the sitter is thorough and reliable.

That said, a brief application such as your example wouldn’t make me decline the person on that basis, but it would seem like a boilerplate app they could send to every sit they apply for, which wouldn’t take much effort. On the other hand, that could mean they are sensible and good time managers! Also, writing, especially about themselves, isn’t everyone’s forte, so again, I wouldn’t reject them outright. In that case, the video call (which I have with all potential sitters) would be especially useful.

One more thing on the longer app - I got one for a sit that was waaaay too long and read like a job application. They quoted almost everything in my profile and added a largely meaningless comment: e.g., profile says, “this is a vibrant community with many parks and trails to explore” . Sitter wrote, “it sounds like a wonderful area with a vibrant community and plenty of parks and trails to explore” I later had a call with the person and they rambled nonstop about themselves.

So I would advise against that approach : ).

If you’re getting great matches, you’re clearly doing it right!

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As a HO I am impressed when sitters take the time to mention my 3 pets by name and get the spelling right! It’s great to keep it short but personalized too—like has been suggested. I don’t automatically delete the canned sitter but it’s not the best start.

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I think your short version is a bit toooooo short, but definitely agree that you dont want to go on too long.

I look for three things really:

  • a little bit about yourself (not too much as you can cross-refer to your profile) - make it clear if it’s just you or you plus a partner if you sometimes go solo or as a pair

  • be clear that you can meet the pet’s needs, eg, dog’s walking requirements or any medication. Eg, I had a couple of applicants when I had an elderly rabbit who required medication and cleaning; those applicants made absolutely no mention of this. I didnt need someone particularly with rabbit experience but I did want someone to be willing & sensitive to his needs. I asked a broad question about their experience (just to test the waters) and they just asked if there was anything specific I was concerned about. (Well, yes, the specific needs outlined in my sit…!)

  • broadly what your plans are - why are you in my area, what do you hope to do whilst you’re there. Partly just getting to know you and partly seeing how my pets fit with your plans.

Happy sitting :slight_smile:

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I agree with all the answers above and have one more piece of advice. Make sure you add something that shows that you have carefully read the ad, and that is not mentioned in your profile. For example, tell them about your experience with exactly the type of pet they have, be it the breed, the age, a behavioral issue or a medical condition. This makes the message caring and personal. And keep it short nevertheless. For example, there is no point repeating information which is already included in your profile listing. About 150 words seem to be a good length and have always worked well for me.

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Thank you @Romana ! Oh yes, I am a detailed girl and for sure have read the listing multiple times even before I go to apply! LOL I don’t know how sitters would do otherwise. But yes, I try to make this apparent in my application too, so the HOs don’t need to worry that I’m not thorough or repeat their pets needs, etc.
I appreciate your feedback!

These are helpful bullets to hit! Thank you for sharing what you are looking for in an application! Much appreciated!

Love this! Yes, I always mention the pets names! Thank you for this feedback!

Thank you @mgp for all of this helpful information! I always wondered if PP’s didn’t want to read a longer application, but from the consensus here, many prefer seeing that the sitter has taken the time to read the listing thoroughly, make connections to pet and place and treat the application in a meaningful way.

I would be the same if I were an HO - I’d probably prefer applications that made me and my pets feel seen and that someone really cared to accompany them, explore the area, etc.
Thank you for your feedback!!! (And I love cats! I mainly apply to cat-only sits! I’m on 1 right now with 2 floof boys!)

Love all of this, so helpful! Thank you so much for this confirmation!

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I’m both a sitter and home/pet owner. I echo what everyone else has said. I would add that when Ive applied to sits in Europe, I make sure to let them know my general plans as well as the fact that I’ve got a flight booked, or, have checked airfare and expenses and am prepared for that.

I recently applied for a cat sit and was accepted immediately. The HO then phoned me and said it was the first time she had ever accepted a sitter without hesitation. The main reason? In her ad, she mentioned she was travelling to Melbourne to get married hence why she needed a sitter. My main first words of introduction were blah blah blah and congratulations on your upcoming wedding. She said not one other applicant had even acknowledged that, hence I got the sit. I write as I would as though I am speaking with someone face to face on a personal level, I am who I am in my applications. I think it pays to be yourself. Obviously you need to address the things that others have mentioned but stay true to who you are.

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I tend to keep our applications messages pretty short–about a paragraph or so, maybe a bit longer depending on the particulars of the listing. My husband and I have been sitting for almost 10 years. While I can’t remember our total record over this time, for several years now at least, we get almost every sit to which we apply.

Because of our pretty strong track record, I am fairly confident of our chances for being accepted to any sit we apply to, and I think that confidence, relaxed attitude and detachment comes across in my writing, or at least I like to think it does!

We have a really detailed profile and over 60 reviews–I never mention our number of reviews in our message but I do mention how long we have been doing this-- so I don’t feel compelled to write really long application messages that would probably just repeat much of what I wrote in our profile.

But what I do cover in the message shows I read the listing fully, and I assume they are going to check the profile regardless of the length of the message–provided it isn’t a poorly written one that would automatically discount the applicant. So I am comfortable with these shorter introductions. I suspect really long messages can often come across as trying too hard to sell yourself.

I always address the HO and pets by name, and touch on anything in the listing that seems important to them, whether it be experience administering certain types of medications, watching a certain breed of dog, familiarity with the local culture,etc… I usually give them some background on our current schedule so they know where we will be coming from–if I know that information-- when we could arrive,etc…

I may also address something about their travel plans if they mention them, like having been to where they are headed and how I think they will enjoy it, sorry about having to visit a sick relative,etc…

Just be yourself, don’t sound too thirsty and read the listing carefully to craft a message that shows you actually did read it.

Also, in sharing my experience of writing short messages, that isn’t to suggest that is a better approach, just that this has worked well for us. I think there can be assumption a longer one is better but not necessarily. I think it really depends on the contents in either case.

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In addition to others comments, in our application we offer to chat with them via video call and provide our mobile number .

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As a homeowner, I’m probably going to look at the profile for either the short or long version you wrote, but the long version is going to leave more of an impression, and may put you ahead of the game. However, I’m in a competitive city, so I figure when I see the short version, the person just wanted to get the application in ASAP, a wouldn’t have gotten in with the 5 application rule if they’d waited to craft something. I try to respond quickly just to let people know I’m looking through, so if you get a note like that, it could be an opportunity to give more details. Logistics are also good. Example: “I’ll be in ___________ for another sit until the day before yours starts, so they’ll be time for an in person meet and greet.” OR “I’m a two-hour train ride away, so getting to your home won’t be an issue.”

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We treat the personal message, like a cover letter but very friendly and very personable, and we have a great success rate. We include personal info about us that is relevant to their particular sit.

You will find that over time, as you apply for more, you can use specific ones as a template, ie for example if you have already crafted one in a similar area, or similar type of pet etc, but it still takes a lot of time to adapt and personalise it, but I think it’s definitely worth it to get the specific ones you really really want.

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This is amazing! Of course you would congratulate her! Wowzers, I’m shocked, but yes - these details would matter to me as a HO/Pet owner, as it shows the person applying is being thorough as well as thoughtful. Thank you for sharing and congrats on the sit!

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Thank you @KC1102 ! You are #sittergoals! I appreciate the time you took sharing your experience and tips! And not to sound too thirsty - I hope I don’t! LOL But yes, I try to be thoughtful and make personal notes about things referenced in their profile, about their pets, town, etc.

I love how you basically get every sit you apply for now - that is the dream!

Thanks so much!

Thank you @Marion - I’m not in a super competitive area, but I understand how sitters in your area would just want to get in under that 5 app deadline.

I like the idea of sharing logistics of where I might be coming from, time frames, etc. so they know that getting to them is already easy and doable for me.

Thanks for the tips!