Starting a career within a Private Household


Silver Swan Recruitment recruits for a number of private households and estates worldwide. The private household industry can offer a very rewarding and lucrative career and can provide the opportunity to travel the world. Unbeknown to most, this private hospitality industry is huge with a surprising number of homes and estates in the UK as well as overseas who employ staff. It is not unusual for these families to have multiple homes, all fully staffed.

Working in a private household can often be challenging as no 2 days are ever the same, however this variety helps to make roles really enjoyable. You become an integral part of the family and are relied on heavily to keep the household running smoothly. Each family will be different and you must therefore adapt your working style to suit each individual household. Some families will want to interact with you and will want you to feel that you are part of the family, other more formal households will not want this personal interaction. They will want you to be seen but not heard and will expect you to do your role with very little conversation with family members. It is vital that you take your time when applying and interviewing for positions as finding the right family to suit your personality and working style will have a direct impact on your level of enjoyment and success in the position. The perfect match between yourself and a family can result in a career for life within their home.

butler serving drinks

Job Opportunities within Private Households

The type of roles can vary depending on the requirements of the household or estate, however, they will typically include:

All roles are as important as each other, and each member of the team plays a vital role in the successful running of the house.

Getting Started

The first thing required to start a career working on in a private home or on a private estate is to gain some good 5* service or housekeeping experience. Ideally, this is within another private environment such as a chalet or villa, or alternatively, a small boutique hotel would also be a good place to start. The desired role will determine the kind of relevant experience you will need to gain in advance.

There are various training courses which are worth looking at if you do lack the hospitality experience required. There are numerous Private Household Training Academies who offer training for Butlers, Housekeepers, Couples and more. You can expect to be trained on the following:

  • Service & Silver Service
  • Management
  • Housekeeping
  • Etiquette
  • Wine Knowledge and Food Pairing
  • Russian Service

Application Process

Recruitment agencies are a great starting point when the time comes to start your job hunt. Very few NHW households will advertise their roles directly and manage the recruitment process themselves, the only time they will recruit a new member of staff themselves would be if someone is recommended to them by someone they trust. The majority of staff recruitment would go through a bespoke recruitment agency. Families will often use the same agency every time and so will have a good relationship with their consultant who will have a good understanding of the family, the household and the role. The consultant will, therefore, know the kind of person who will fit well with the family and who will succeed in the role. They will spend time matching candidates to positions to ensure the fit is perfect each time.

When it comes to applying for Private Household positions, the following factors are very important:

First Impressions – you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression!

  • Make sure your CV is well written, well formatted, easy to read with no spelling or grammatical mistakes. Cover letters are useful to outline your skill set and match your qualities to that required of the role. It is also useful to include a photo on your CV.
  • Be sure you are well presented and smartly dressed for all interviews.


  • Longevity on a CV is important. It will show your loyalty and commitment to your previous positions and will assure prospective employers of your ability to stay in a role long term. If you do have a number of short-term positions on your CV, be sure to provide explanations of why you left each role. Working in each role a minimum of 2-3 years should be your aim.


  • The referencing process is taken very seriously. Both the recruitment agency and the Principle themselves will want to speak to your previous employers. It is useful to have written references ready to present at interview stage along with contact details to enable them to be verified. Expect your previous 3 employers to be contacted. References must be solid for your application to proceed.

What’s Next?

If you have some good hospitality experience and feel you have the right personality traits to suit working in a private home or estate then please get in touch and we will help you either find a new opportunity or secure your first role within a private estate.

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