How do you create a good impression when applying for a housesit?

Hi I am Susan I’m new! I would love any help you could give me on the best way to promote yourself in an introductory letter applying for a sitter?

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Always mention the names of the owners and animals. Make it personal!

Tell them why you apply for their particular sit, focusing on the animals. (E.g "I always wanted to go to Paris, isn’t great. Better is to write something like 'I love to explore local neighbourhoods and walking x seems like a great opportunity to get to know the city)

Mention relevant experiences (e.g. you know the particular breed, you grew up around horses, you are used to administer medication to cats)

Other relevant things e.g. you speak the language of the country you apply for.

Welcome to the wonderful world of housesitting!

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I use a semi-form letter. I always address it to the HO’s name & their partner’s name, if mentioned.

The first paragraph is similar, but a custom response for every sit and outlines what drew me to their sit, why I’m interested in the area, and I mention their pet(s) by name and references the time period they’ll be gone. I also use this to point to things mentioned in the listing to prove that I read it. I also mention what I’ll be doing prior to their set to help them feel more comfortable that I’ll be available.

ex: I’d love the chance to talk to you about staying with {pet name} in {time period} when you {reason they’re going}. {x breed is one of my favorites / x is one of my favorite cities in y / I’ve always wanted to stay in x type of home} and I think I’d make a great new friend for {pet name}. I’ll be visiting my family/friends/random city nearby in the weeks before/after your sit so the timing would work out perfectly and getting to you would be easy.

The second paragraph is mostly boiler plate. It’s a quick summary of me, my experience, and what I tend to do during a sit. At the end I call out any specialized experience I may have that would make me a good fit based on the listing.

ex: A bit about me: I’m {age}, single, non smoker, vaccinated, and I rarely drink. I’ve been pet sitting for x years because I travel full time, so am unable to have a pet of my own. I’m mostly a home body and I enjoy cooking, reading, and exploring new areas. I work a few hours each evening, so no worries about me having late nights out. I’ll be home to cuddle up with {pet name} and provide all the belly rubs they want. - at this point i’ll customize a bit with things that might make me stand out, based on their situation. ex: I really enjoy long rambling walks to explore new places, and that’s always more fun with a dog at my side. or, I used to volunteer doing x, which I think would help me a lot in caring for {pet name}. or I’ve taken care of elderly pets before and have experience giving daily medication and sticking to a strict schedule. or While English is my native language, I do speak enough x to get around, which would be helpful in an emergency.

The last paragraph is all boiler plate and is basically reiterating that I’d love to talk to them more and answer any questions they have and I invite them to contact me to set up a time to do a video call to see if we’d be a good fit. Then I wish them luck in finding a great sitter for their needs.

You’ll figure out what works and what your style is. Good luck!

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There was a similar thread here that you may find useful

Hi @susanhg and welcome. As you spend time on the forum, not surprisingly you’ll see a wide range of responses and styles of how sitters handle things. I agree with many points I’ve read in the responses so far, especially with respect to using names and points in the listing to show the homeowner that you’ve read the listing thoroughly. Now I’ll go off on a different approach.

Ask yourself why you think you are a good fit, and be honest with yourself. Many sitters find that, over time, they get more particular about which sits they apply for. If you don’t feel you are a good fit, but are eager to get that first sit under your belt, think again. Now, if you can list off why you think you’d be a good fit, then start your sales pitch. Remember to focus on the points that are important to the homeowner, rather than the reverse.

I tend to keep my applications shorter than I think most do, from what I’ve been reading. However, very early on I do highlight why I think I might hopefully stand out from the crowd. For you, that would be different than for me, as my profile shows my experience. I would suggest to avoid repeating a lot of what’s in your profile, to respect the homeowner’s time. Respect how time-consuming reviewing applications can be. Keep in mind that a job resume gets an average view of a few seconds before it might go into the reject pile.

If the homeowner has had previous sitters, take a look at their reviews of the previous sitters. If they complimented them on certain things and you can match that e.g. loved that they hiked with Rover for 5 miles a day, then sell yourself. This is not the time to be modest, but keep it honest.

We’ll look forward to hearing about your first sit, and of course we love to see photos too. I hope all goes well for you.

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I write a short introductory letter always mentioning the names of the homeowners and their pets. I make reference to my profile and the wonderful references we have and why we would make a good fit. Once the sit is offered, I like to have a phone chat. One thing my husband and I have never done is a video chat/skype/zoom which seems to be the norm on the site. I just prefer to have an old-fashioned chat and it hasn’t prevented us from getting sits. Best of luck to you!

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Hi
I am so grateful for all your comments and advice. I definitely will take on board many of things that you mentioned. You have been a great help thanks so much x

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One of the best things is personalizing the message. Having had previous owners share some of the messages they got, it surprised me that many people did not personalize this at all. They merely said they were interested and referred them to the profile and basically nothing more.

Make sure to read the entire thing and if there is something the owners seems particularly concerned about, or think is important, address that. For example, my husband and I tend to spend a lot of time at home because we work and while we like exploring, we definitely aren’t ones to spend all day every day out and about doing stuff. So we would mention that, if it was important their animals couldn’t be left alone for long stretches.

I personally do not make my application message very long at all…maybe a paragraph with five or six sentences max. Our profile is really detailed and I imagine most owners are going to look at them. So I tend to keep to the ‘broad strokes’ about how we sit full time, why this opportunity seems like a good fit, any relevant experience that seems important to them that we are self employed, maybe a short personal anecdote or the like that seems relevant to something they said.

That has seemed to work well for us. When I read about people spending an hour or two putting together an application, I can’t imagine what that process entails, but everyone is different I guess! Just be relaxed about it, don’t try too hard and don’t get too attached to any one opportunity.

You never know what someone is looking for, and while many people may lose out on opportunities because their applications, profiles, interviews and the like could use a bit of tweaking, in most cases, their not getting picked has nothing to do with anything being ‘wrong’ with them. The owner may have picked someone who has sat for them before, who they have something in common with and feel a connection to, have a certain type of experience, is already in the area…it’s really anybody’s guess.

There were two recent sits to which we applied where the owners liked everyone equally so simply opted to pick the first person who reached out. You will often not get the owner’s reasoning and won’t hear anything so it’s extra important not to make any assumptions.

I recently saw a post from someone who said they didn’t want to pick people with long hair because she didn’t like finding it in her house when she got back…never in a million years would have guessed that reason until I saw it. So yeah, don’t read too much into any ‘rejections.’!

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Hi @susanhg Welcome to the forum.
People are attracted to people who show interest in them. As others have said, speak to them about them, their pets, lifestyle, home whatever they themselves have highlighted is of importance to them. Follow their lead.
Don’t get too hung up on “trying to impress”. Be genuine, be yourself. Encourage them to review what you have written in your profile, particularly why you feel you are a good match to meet their needs.
Again as mentioned, don’t take anything personal.
I don’t have any canned, elevator speech template nor do I do copy and paste. I look carefully at the offer and then just write a nice short personalized message as it comes to me. I do mention the pets and anything they have shared on their profile that connects us in some way, like common interest.
Best wishes, you will do great!

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Keep the emphasis on the animals and how much experience you have with them. Use their names. Never open with i have always wanted to visit wherever. It gives a bad impression.
Leave all the personal bits about you for the second or third paragraph. Include links to a blog, Airbnb profile or anything that proves what a good guy you are. Finish with it would be great to hear from your soon hopefully with some good news or something to that effect. Remember vaccination status, it seems to be important at the moment and maybe add a funny story about you and animals.
Chatty and upbeat is my preference.

Hi @susanhg - As you can see by reading the advice from others - we are all different in the way we approach it! Some keep them short, others long. Some start by talking about the pets , others about themselves. Some write very formal applications, others very informal! - it’s all very confusing for new sitters.
There is not a right or wrong way and, by taking elements of all the advice given you will soon get to know what works for you.
The most important thing to get the confidence of home hosts are reviews - and this is why new sitters with no reviews find it more difficult at first. To compensate for this I would firstly, acknowledge the fact that you know you are new to trusted house-sitters so have no reviews as yet …BUT… then go on to explain any other experience you may have with animals/pets/house sitting. Have you had pets of you own? Looked after others? if you have used airbnb as a guest link your profile reviews from there…
Finally -I always match the language of the home host when applying for sits - Use the names of the pets as often as possible plus, if, in the listing the home owner has called them ‘the girls’, ‘the fur babies’ etc I always refer to them as that at least once.
Good luck - Once you have two or three good reviews on your profile it gets much easier!

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Hi Susan, I am a HO and am always surprised how many HS do not actually read the details of my posted sit. For example, my house is unsafe for children and I state that but people apply with children. For me I really, really appreciate people who take the time to read what I wrote as those are the important points for me (and why I wrote them). I want to know the potential sitter took the time to understand if the sit was workable for them (because its important that it work both ways).

I do agree commenting on the pets is great but I also appreciate it when the HS mentions my home. I usually have long periods away and my home and all my belongings are being used on a daily basis (of course I appreciate this is normal!) but things get damaged as time goes on. When a HS speaks of my home (as well as the animals) I know they appreciate how much my home means to me and they will care for all my things as I would.

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I am a HO and it’s certainly nice when the Sitters mention my cats by their names, but once really is enough. I don’t want to read their names in every other sentence. More important to me is that they are capable of giving them their medication and understand that they certainly may explore the sightseeing points around here, but also spend time in the house.
When I state that I only accept vaccinated sitters I find it nice to read a confirmation so that I don’t need to ask.
I like it when an applicant mentions something from the middle or last sentences I wrote in my listing, because then I know he/she/they have read and understood it all.
At the moment during these unsure times, I appreciate if the sitters write that in case of travel disruptions they are flexible and would either be able to stay longer (in case we wouldn’t be able to return as planned) or split up when traveling together to make sure the pets are in good hands. It’s not a requirement I would write in my listing but the couple, who just got my confirmation, wrote this in their application and that’s one of the main reasons I chose them, apart of having written a funny application and 11 5star reviews, one of them a return sit.
Pictures with pets, in our case mostly cats, instead of too many travel pictures in front of major sightseeing points are also welcome.
Everything else is simply gut feeling, which I can’t explain.

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