Finding a Housekeeping Job

Finding a job in a foreign country can be very difficult. First, you need to read and understand the English job listings. Next, you need to contact a potential employer. Finally, you need to have an interview and prove that you are the best person for the job. Your work experience and skills are very important, but so is your English. You can prepare yourself for the real job search by studying the vocabulary and exercises on this page.

keywords found in job advertisements

The following terms are commonly used in ads for housekeepers. Become familiar with them, and use them on your own resumes and cover letters. They are also useful terms to use in interviews.

word or phrase meaning
competitive wages pay or salary is the same or better than most in the area
detail oriented, meticulous notices everything that needs cleaning or doing, even if it's small
diligent worker a person who works very hard
domestic help help around the home (often the subject of housekeeping ads)
duties include things the worker will have to do
flexible not strict or set, usually related to work schedule or duties
hard-working not lazy, works quickly and doesn't take a lot of rest time
honest, trustworthy tells the truth, will not steal or damage property on purpose
ideal candidate the best person for the job
is seeking is looking for, requires
live-in lives in the home he or she works at
live-out lives in a different home from the home he or she works at
mature acts like an adult, not childish
must be legal has permission from the government to work in this country
pay in exchange for room and board food and a home are given to the person who looks after the house, no pay
perfectionist describes a person who wants everything to look perfect (for example one fingerprint would bother this person)
positive attitude is usually in a happy mood
professional has a lot of experience and treats clients with respect
reliable always comes to work on time and always does a good job
responsible for work will include the following tasks
verifiable references past employers someone can contact to prove that the applicant is a good worker
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Here are some expressions to use in an interview or cover letter:

  • I will clean your home "from top to bottom".
  • Feel free to contact my references.
  • I have been cleaning houses/offices for _______ years now.
  • I promise to leave your house looking neat and tidy.
  • I work quickly and efficiently.
  • You won't be disappointed.
  • Your satisfaction is important to me.
  • My hourly rate is _______.
  • I am very good with children.
  • My English is improving every day.

Matching Exercise

1. Read the three classified job ads below (1, 2, 3).

2. Read the descriptions of five housekeepers looking for work (A, B, C, D, E).

3. Match the person to the ad that they should apply for.

4. Check your answers.


Domestic/Homecare Wanted

  1. A London family of 5 is seeking a live-in housekeeper in exchange for room and board. 20 hours per week. Some childcare duties required. Must be detail oriented, mature, and legal to work in England. Send resume with references to
  2. Business couple seeking a part-time live-out housekeeper. Must be reliable and meticulous. We offer competitive wages. Duties include laundry, general cleaning, and some shopping. Hours are flexible. Approximately 10 hours per week. Call 339-9990. Leave message with contact information.
  3. Mandymaids has a full-time position available. We are looking for an experienced housekeeper to join our team. Hours are Mon-Fri, 5:00 pm-12 am. Responsible for cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, and tidying a large office. Must be in good physical condition and have valid driver's license. Verifiable references required. Contact Janie at 445-9788.

Housekeepers Looking for Work

  1. Cindy is visiting England for the summer. She has a working visa and needs a place to live. She has experience with children.
  2. Fred is a perfectionist. He is retired but loves to clean. Fred wants to make a little bit of extra money to pay for tennis lessons and swimming classes.
  3. Sabrina has been cleaning houses for 20 years. She is hardworking and detail-oriented. She has her own apartment, and requires a part-time position to pay her rent.
  4. Nelson has five years housekeeping experience in the hotel industry. He is going to school part-time in the day and requires a full-time position in the evenings.
  5. Yoon is studying English online and needs a place to live. She is seeking a position as a nanny or housekeeper to help pay for her private English lessons. Her visa allows her to work part-time.

Answers: E1, B2, A1, C2, D3