Writing this guide, while very useful to others, is also very personal to me. I have been right where you are and done all of the things you have – and it can be very frustrating and disappointing when you apply and register on every job site in existence (or so I think) but get no call-backs or emails.
These are a few hacks I tried, along with some tips from industry experts.
1. Get your branding sorted
Have your resume, copies of UAE attested certificates, experience certificates and other documents sorted through and ready to send out. While it may be obvious, what I’ve seen is people waiting until the last minute to go through their resumes, change or remove things, add haphazard explanations and summaries.
Get your resume written by a professional agency or consultant, or take time going through various websites that give tips on getting it right. Linking your professional LinkedIn account in the resume can help the recruiter get more information if he or she requires.
2. Registering on job sites
While it may seem futile, registering on job sites is a great way to get started on your job hunt. It is also useful to understand the requirements that companies have and if there is demand for your specific set of skills.
Some of my recommendations in terms of response, application tracking and information would be Bayt, LinkedIn, Internsme (they also have listings for full-time and contractual jobs), Gulf Salary, Monster Gulf and Naukri Gulf among others. There are great listings in the classified sections of major newspapers in the country and dubizzle as well. Look for jobs that have company names and salary figures listed which will prove useful for our fifth tip.
3. Be active on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great forum to look for positions and also network with and follow people that are from your domain of work. However, if you aren’t active on there, you can quickly fall out of anyone’s radar. Use the sections on there to create a strong profile. LinkedIn ranks profiles and the best you can get is the ‘All Star’ ranking. This is when you have filled in most of the information, and also attached related media or documents.
For example, you can attach your resume in the summary section which makes it easy for a head hunter on LinkedIn to directly download and see your resume in one go. Use the Pulse blog forum to write about things that interest you professionally or creatively – these will show up on your profile along with thumbnail pictures that look great on your page. Your photograph need not be uptight and sombre – smile a little, be approachable.
4. Company websites
Large international and local companies including aviation firms such as Emirates and Fly Dubai or hospitality companies such as Marriot; media and advisory ones such as Reuters, or finance firms such as KPMG, Emirates NBD and PWC have a fully functional career portal within their website.
This is much more direct than going through a third party website or LinkedIn. Most of these portals can take a bit of time filling in, but the best part here is that you can directly track your application. You can also email HR with the job ID to ask for updates. They usually conduct initial tests on the website itself making it easier for you to get to the next level if shortlisted.
5. Create your contact list
So you’ve seen many thousands of job posts, not even kidding, and you need to do something other than apply and wait. Here’s where getting the company’s name is handy. While you should continue to apply to those ‘Confidential Company’ job posts, create an Excel sheet for the job posts that have company names listed. In LinkedIn, all job posts come with company names, poster details and more.
What I did was create a database of all the companies I applied to, along with a phone number and email that I found directly from their website. I also added the date of application in a column to keep track of how long it had been since I applied.
6. Start punching in the numbers
A couple of days after you apply on the job site, LinkedIn or company website, use your new phone book and do a series of cold calls to your favourites on the list. And a major thing here is – be prepared for insulting remarks and plain old phone smashing – phone operators and recruiters can be harsh. However, if you called 10, odds are that one of them would direct you to the HR team and they would note down your name.
The logic here is, when they do come across your actual application sent via normal forums, they might remember your name and that call. That one second is all that’s needed for them to decide to look at your CV from the hundreds that came in. And from the first point of this article, if you did it right, they know you are good for the job in six seconds. Do ten a day, no more and no less. One call is enough to land you your dream job, so keep trying.
7. Don’t waste your time
Personally, I spent more than seven months in unemployment in Dubai – a highly expensive and unproductive phase of my life. Utilise that time to learn something you’ve always wanted to do, or learn things that could possibly help in your career. It really worked for me, making me able to talk intelligently about things I took an interest in. I even started a blog; so, new skills gained while also keeping me productive.
8. Do not lose heart
This is by far the most important of them all. UAE without a job is very hard to live in and getting a job is quite hard – but that in no way is a reflection of your capabilities and skills. In the big plan of life, there is always something good waiting by the corner. Cold call people cheerfully, if they smash the phone in your ear, think of how happy you aren’t working there and move on. Use your time to do things you love, for free or for less money. See some of our related stories for ideas.
Let us know through the comments section below or on our social media about things you’ve tried that have worked in getting a recruiter’s attention.