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.
With 2019 upon us, it's great to go in with a well structured plan and this plan will include all the things you have already done, but in a goal-oriented manner. These include a few hacks I tried, along with some tips from industry experts.
1. Get your 'branding' sorted
You are a product, and a resume is your advertisement. A great resume should summarise and highlight your strengths, skills and experience in a way that grabs the attention of the recruiter. He or she spends seconds skimming through hundreds of resumes - make sure yours can stand out in a matter of seconds.
Get a resume written by a professional agency or consultant, or take time going through various websites that give tips on getting it right. A resume is always a comprehensive summary of who you are as a candidate. Linking your professional LinkedIn account (which allows more room for details) in the resume can help the recruiter get more information if he or she requires.
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 personally, are people waiting until the last minute to go through their resumes, change or remove things, or add haphazard explanations and summaries.
2. Registering on job sites
While it may seem futile - yes, I have been there - registering on job sites is a great way to get started on your job hunt. It is useful to know the requirements or vacancies that companies have and to understand 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 have listings for full-time, part-time and contractual jobs), Gulf Salary, Monster Gulf and Naukri Gulf among others. There may be suitable listings in the classifieds section of leading newspapers such as Gulf News or online on classifieds websites such as GetThat.
Not all listing have details such as salary and comanu names, so note those that do have these details. This will prove useful for our fifth tip.
3. Get active on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great forum to look for positions and also to 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 easier for a head hunter on LinkedIn to directly download and see your resume in one go without having to track you down through messages.
Use the Pulse blog forum to write about things that interest you professionally or creatively. Your photograph need not be uptight and sombre – smile a little, be approachable.
It is also very important to always try and connect with the job poster for the jobs you have saved or applied to. At the very least, it means you have done everything you could have - this can take off the edge on waiting for that call back.
4. Company websites
Large international and/or 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 such as LinkedIn. Most of these portals can take a bit of time to submit applications as you have to be quite detailed on your entries for work history or qualifications; but the best part here is that you can directly track your application.
You can also email the HR department 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 - I have, 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, job 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 (ideally a week) after you apply on the job site, LinkedIn or company website, use your new phone book and make a series of cold calls to your favourites on the list. And a major thing here is – be prepared for insulting remarks and a plain old phone hang-up – phone operators, receptionists and even 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 weeks ago, 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.
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 unemployed 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, or sane.
8. Do not lose heart
This is by far the most important of them all. Living in the UAE without a job is very hard and getting a job is also quite hard – but that is not, in any way, a reflection of your capabilities and skills.
In the big plan of life, there is always something good waiting around the corner. Cold call people cheerfully, if they smash the phone in your ear, think of how good it is that you aren’t working there and move on. Use your time to do things you love, for free or for less money.
In the big plan of life, there is always something good waiting around the corner. Sometimes taking a risk can pay off, but other times taking a step back and relaxing might be the best idea. Life is short and hard, but if you aren't happy, each day can seem harder than it actually is. Good luck!
This is a generic guide based on a personal experience. Use the tips as a guide and not the rule; Gulf News is not responsible for any damage or losses arising out of misuse or misinterpretation of these tips.