• A resume
• A list of references
• A credit check
• A DMV clearance
• A fingerprint clearance
List your education and credentials in reverse chronological order.
List your work experience in reverse chronological order. Be prepared to explain gaps. Don’t try to hide or disguise
Contact the people you’d like to use as references and ask permission to give their names and phone numbers to prospective
employers. Let them know the sort of work you are seeking and ask if they’ll be comfortable describing your capabilities
for those duties. Ask them to be honest with you about what they’ll say—it won’t help you to give potential
employers references who have reservations about your skills.
Prepare a list of at least three amenable references to append to your resume. For each, provide the reference’s name,
contact information, how long and in what capacity you’ve known the reference.
Get a credit check. It’s free once a year through www.annualcreditreport.com.
Be prepared to explain problematic entries. Be honest about debts—people earning $25,000 (or less!) per year are likely
to have some debts, and perhaps high balances on a couple of credit cards. But, you can still be financially responsible.
Are your payments made monthly? Is anything in arrears? Have any accounts been sent to collection agencies? Is your car loan
about the same as your annual income?
The DMV will give you a printout of your driving history for a nominal fee. In some jurisdictions, you can do this on line,
in others you have to go to the DMV’s office and wait in line. A clean DMV clearance shows prospective employers that
you drive safely and responsibly.
Childcare agencies routinely fingerprint and screen applicants to ensure that the people they hire don’t have documented
histories of child abuse or neglect or of criminal behavior. Standards for work with seniors are unfortunately more lax and
agencies rarely fingerprint. You can show the high standard of care you offer by screening yourself and making your clearances
available to prospective employers. You can demonstrate honesty and responsibility by providing documentation of fingerprint
clearances from these data bases:
• sex offender registries,
• the child abuse and neglect index, and
• other criminal data bases.
These screens are important because they allow you to show that you do not pose
a danger to clients.
Find out how you can obtain a fingerprint clearance in your county. Usually, you pay a nominal fee (about $15) to the DMV
or police or sheriff’s department to be fingerprinted and then an agency is charged about $85-100 for the state Department
of Justice to run the prints against existing prints in their child abuse and criminal data bases. Call your county’s
child care referral agency to see if there is a “warm line” or “trust line” in your area that lets
people fingerprint themselves so they can show their clearance to families considering using their services. There are also
companies that will screen and check references; your local senior center and child care referral agency should be able to
steer you to them.
See what information is available from your county’s Adult Protective Services office. Read your state’s information
on reporting elder abuse and neglect. Review a copy of your state’s elder abuse reporting form. Add a sentence to your
resume saying you are familiar with state law and local resources pertaining to elders and their safety.