Hey! A new sitter to the family!

Hey, everyone! Andrei here, 26 yo, currently living in Bucharest, Romania and looking to expand my travel journey while spending time in the unique and exceptional company of pets.
I am new here, just a few weeks since I bought a membership and I joined this forum and wanted to introduce myself and also ask how did you guys dealt with the situation of being new here and constantly being rejected for sits just because you are new and don’t have any actual reviews from sits on TrustedHousesitters? I have external references but seems like those do not help, also I always include a personalised messages when I apply for a sit.
I am looking for some advices and how was your experience regarding this? Because I am starting to feel disappointed as I feel like it’s a lottery and I never been lucky at lottery when all I want to do is meet and spend time with different pets while I also discover new countries and cities.
For example I am trying to find/be accepted for any sits around London for in December cause I already have a booked flight and I tried to dozen of sits that fit the dates and been rejected to all of them.
Would be super happy to hear some of your experiences. Thanks!

Post moderated – member DMd – removed dates

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Hi @Andrei welcome to our community forum and to TrustedHousesitters, getting started can often be challenging, it took me almost 2 months and numerous applications before I was successful and remember every sitter member you see with numerous sits to their credit started in exactly the same place as you …

I’ve included a link to a topic started by a member with almost the same narrative as you and now he has sits scheduled back to back for almost 12 months and the forum helped greatly with his success.

Tips from me: … when surveyed pet parent/owner members have three particular important points of interest when considering sitter applications.

Photos, they like the cover photo to show the sitter member with a pet (your second picture is lovely) add some more images to your profile … images with pets & with people. Show your love for animals and warmth with people.

Upload at least one more reference and when you apply for sits be sure to really personalize your application (if you are not doing that already)

We do recommend, when possible to start with local sits, even last minute and short sits to get the experience and that all important first TrustedHousesitters review and I realize that may not be possible for you but applying for International sits for specific dates, in a very popular location can be difficult. Once you are in London your position is likely to change, although it seems that you are looking at very specific dates. Flexibility is one of the keys to success.

I suggest uploading your profile to your Forum profile that way other members can view and give you feedback … we have a very helpful and experienced community >>> This link will explain how https://forum.trustedhousesitters.com/t/how-to-add-a-listing-or-profile-link-to-your-forum-profile/

Meanwhile keep applying, don’t give up and don’t take the rejections personally instead look at how you can improve your applications.

Also the website blog has great articles on getting started. …

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Hi Andrei,
My advice would be to look for any pet sitting that’s available and see where it takes you - rather than trying to find something that specifically fits your own destination and dates. Once you have built a nice reputation, then you can start to be more demanding! Hope this helps.
All the best,
dingobob

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Welcome, Andrei!

When I was in grad school at Caltech, I knew several Romanians. So the country always has a soft spot in my heart.

I’m now in Texas, so it’s been relatively easy to start locally. Sadly, I see Romania has only one sit available in the entire country. First, I’d set up a saved search for your country, so you can be notified as soon as any new listings pop up. Perhaps you can get in a sit or two before London, or at least after. Play the long game.

Another thing that’s tricky is to consider from the standpoint of the HO. You may be the most experienced sitter in all of Romania, with a wonderful heart, but how can the HO know that? Or how will you compare to more experienced sitters, or even new sitters from the UK, Western Europe, or the U.S.? Your English is very good, BTW, but it’s clearly not your first language, so some may hesitate from that.

Some ideas:

  • Think about the stages, and try to focus on bottlenecks. The first stage might be to get a reply from a HO (or what % of HOs reply). Second might be to get a video chat (or what % of HOs agree to a chat). Third would actually being offered a sit. Similar to job interviews: Your resume gets you the interview; the interview is what actually gets you the job. You want to figure out where your bottleneck is.

  • Consider applying outside your planned radius, or play the long game. The long game would be similar to what @dingobob suggested. But if we’re focusing on the UK, what if you expand your search beyond London to the rest of the country? I’ve seen recent posts where HOs in the UK countryside were begging for Christmas applicants.

Perhaps you have an agenda in London that requires you to be close by. Then as @Angela-HeadOfCommunity noted, flexibility is key. It might just be that you have to take this as a learning experience: Many sitters book months (a year?) in advance, especially for longer sits or sits in popular areas. As London is so populated, I’m sure there will be many more Christmas sits coming up, including last-minute ones. I don’t like to hurry, so applying to those might stress me out. But you’ve probably got more youth and energy! =)

Above all, just remember that the rejections aren’t personal. The HOs have limited info, time, and energy to choose a sitter.

Have you ever sat outside Romania? It might be good to have that as a reference, even mentioning it in an application.

In your apps, you can try to alleviate any concerns from your background (e.g., no sits yet, younger, male, ESL, maybe people are less familiar with Romania, etc.) and/or emphasize what makes you special. Think outside the box!

Think about ways you can show, not just tell. E.g., one can say, “I care deeply about any pet I am around.” But a photo can be worth 1000 words! Or I might have a story, like the time I stayed up all night in a freezing barn to help rehabilitate an old horse (true).

I just thought of another idea: Definitely don’t try to game the system, as, well, that’s wrong. But if you have HOs in Romania who could use a sitter, ask them to sign up for TH! There’s some win-win membership stuff if you get your friends to sign up (e.g., free months), and that would give travelers to Romania more sitting options in the future! Or bring more tourists to Romania! Plus, you might be able to (honestly) sit for your friends via TH to get some rep.

Good luck!

I just noticed something else: I currently see only 1 sit in all of Romania. But it happens to be a British girl in Bucharest! With only 1 applicant. Maybe you can befriend her (e.g., help connect her with locals not on TH who might be good sitters, and of course maybe you can sit for her in the future). She might have insight into a British perspective, etc. Just be upfront.

Something that helped me when I first got started is having lots of photographs on my profile with me interacting with the animals so owners got a real sense of what I would like with their own pets. I used to apply for local sits or even go for ones that weren’t so popular to increase my chances of being selected and to build up some more reviews. By taking this approach, I was then in a much stronger position to go and often get some of the more popular, desirable sits. Last week, I just celebrated getting my 20th 5 star review after 3 years on this site but I started off very much feeling as you did. Don’t lose hope. These would be my key tips to help you get started. Best of luck!

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Having a ‘sitter’ is an extremely subjective thing. Instinctively (rightly or wrongly) when someone contacts me the language is of the utmost importance as it is the first’ port of call’ Should someone start with 'hip hop ’ language, Yo! etc. then I wouldn’t consider them. I’m not moralising, just being highly subjective. I would want someone using the language of a pet lover and not using pet sitting simply as an excuse to see other regions or countries, There is a difference. Quite obviously I expect sitters to take advantage of the visit and explore and enjoy themselves, it is a very subtle thing I’m trying to explain here. and I hope I have managed to do so.
In addition to that first contact, when I look at the profile of the ‘proposed’ sitter I want to see something that pleases me, a nice photo; or photos with a narrative that’s talking about the animals, all that before any contact!!! Once contact is made then the ‘inquisition’ goes on! How the exchanges go is very important and the ‘gut’ feeling is good or bad! If applying to sit then it is important to sell yourself. Being casual or not approaching a ‘sit’ in a warm and caring way invites rejection.

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