Guide to Job Search in Dubai – How to Find Jobs in Dubai?
Dubai can be a best place to live and work. Millions of expats who live here are a testimony to that. However, Dubai Job search is not as straightforward as other countries. Every country for that matter is different when it comes to job search. I would say Dubai and UAE for that matter has made it very easy for expatriates to live and work. All you need for searching jobs in Dubai is a visit visa or tourist visa and an air ticket to arrive here. Unlike many other countries, this rule has attracted thousands of expatriates in Dubai on visit visa or tourist visa, search for a job, Find a job (with some hard work and luck!), live a successful career and life here.
When I came to Dubai to search for a job, I had not even prepared well in advance. So I ended up spending first 15 days preparing my CV and other necessary details. This guide will help you in your Dubai Job search and provide you points as to what you should be prepared with.
I am one of those people who arrived here on visit visa, landed up on a job and have had a successful career. Dubai has so much to offer in terms of standard of living, quality of life, great infrastructure and many other amenities that I could only dream of in my country.
However, there is a peculiarity of Dubai Job Search! It does not work like in other countries. There are very few countries that allow you to visit the country on visit/tourist visa and search for jobs! UAE allows that and there are thousands of people who come here on visit visa on a daily basis to look for a job and I know of many such people who came here on visit visa and have had a successful careers.
SMALL Note: Now, I am not criticising any country in comparison to UAE. I am from India and I am proud of my country. I am also thankful, because, it has offered me education and an opportunity to grow by laying a good foundation. Like me more than 3 million individuals call UAE their home now. So,we must all be thankful for our own country as well as UAE.
Finding jobs in Dubai – A survey on Emirates Diary readers
In the month of February 2016, I conducted survey from Emirates Diary readers where I asked them:
How did they find job in Dubai?
And with more than 2300 responses, here is the verdict:
And as per survey the best ways to find jobs in Dubai are ranked as follows:
- Personal contacts;
- Gulf News Classifieds.
So now you know where and how to use your energy when it comes to job search in Dubai.
What industries are there in Dubai /UAE?
Dubai has very diverse economy and most of the industries that are in developed countries are also present in Dubai. Having said that, it is quite surprising that you will find companies and industries that you may never have heard of.
Below is a list of industries that you’d probably will find in Dubai:
- General Trading;
- Oil & Gas;
- Professional Services;
- Real Estate;
- Retail banking;
Now, let’s get back to my topic: Step by step guide to Finding jobs in Dubai.
This guide is divided into 2 parts/sections with various chapters:
Part 1: Before you come to Dubai;
Part 2: After you come to Dubai.
a) Before you come to Dubai:
One of the mistakes that I made when I planned to come to Dubai was not being prepared and in this section I will talk about what are the steps you must take before you arrive here in Dubai.
1. Your CV or Resume:
One of the most important factors that will decide your career prospects is your CV or Resume. Think of it as a marketing material for a product, “YOU”. You are the product! And you are selling your skills. If you were a company that sold some products, what do you think you would cover in your marketing material? Would you make a badly designed handbill? Would you have spelling errors or grammatical mistakes within the text that is written? NO….
Then your own marketing material, your CV, should also be the same; without any mistakes, grammatical errors, attractive, easy to read, easy to glance through and so on. Would you send a badly designed CV in the hands of your friends, relatives and recruiters? No…
So make sure that your CV is top notch with proper paragraphs, written in simple language, in a reverse chronological order.
Here is a CV format that I’d recommend:
-Name, contact details;
-Education qualification including institute name and results;
-Your extra-curricular activities;
-Personal details: Visa validity, Date of birth.
This way, you are providing the person who reads your CV, enough information for him to take a decision as to whether your CV looks interesting or not and whether which tray will you arrive in….accept or reject.
Put yourself in the shoes of the reader of your CV!
What do you expect to read in a CV if you were recruiting for your skill or area of expertise?? Go through job listing for your kind of work and note down various job descriptions. Try to include the most suitable in your CV. Job search is like making sure that you are initially shortlisted for the job for an interview. Rest is up to your skills and communication abilities!
Length of your CV:
I have seen CVs that are 10 pages long (in MS Word format A4) and CVs that are just 1 page in length. However, what suits the most is a 2 page CV. This is true even if you are experience professional with 15 years of experience or with 2 years of experience. A CV length is governed by your skills/achievements and not on the number of companies you have worked. I have come across few amazing CVs from people with 20 years of experience which is just 2 pages and highlights on the Skills of the person rather than the history and job responsibilities in various companies that they have worked in. In most cases, the companies you have worked becomes irrelevant if you have relevant skills for the jobs.
Having said that, I am not saying to completely avoid the names of the companies you have worked for. Do mention them. What is important is the skills and knowledge that you have acquired from these companies you have worked and how relevant are these skills in the current market.
Proof reading your CV:
DO you know someone who already works in Dubai or UAE. Now may be the right time to contact them and ask for a favor. Your CV is as good as its content! Getting a second opinion is crucial to plug any gaps that may exist in the CV. There may be grammatical errors or spelling mistakes that you may not have recognised. It is good to always get your CV proof read by someone you know or a friend. Tell them to provide you a critical review of the things that are in your CV/Resume. This is very important as this will let them know that you are looking for a job!
Professional help in CV:
As you already know, your CV is the most important aspect and starting point in your job search. It is sad that educational institutes do not equip us on the very basic thing that is required for job search (This is my perspective! Things might have changed). Many of us are not as good in preparing a well written CV.
So what to do now??
Nothing to worry about! There are people and companies who specialise in writing CV and Resumes. Would a company rely completely on its own abilities to prepare the best marketing material? So why not invest a little money on a professionally written CV for the most important marketing material of your career? There are numerous CV writing services which will help you in this.
CV Now is one among them. They will do a free review of your existing CV and rewrite your CV for a fee. Consider this a small investment towards your career’s most important document.
2. Cover Letter:
When I first started looking for a job, I had no idea what Cover Letter was!! Gradually when I started looking for jobs that required more experience, I learnt how important a cover letter was. In the western world, a cover letter is the most important document that you would send to recruiters. The quality of information on your cover letter is as important as in your CV/Resume. A cover letter is a one page document with few sentences which tells the recruiter, why you should be hired. It gives recruiter a chance to quickly glance through your relevant skills and your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Make your cover letter short and to the point.
Before you even arrive in UAE, your CV and cover letter must be ready. Even if not a proper one at least a skeleton of your CV and Cover Letter should be ready. Once you are here, then you can get into action right away.
If you wanted to read about the importance and strategies for Cover Letter, read this article from Monster.com on Cover Letter Strategies.
3. Job Sites – Your online Job Profile:
Your CV is a starting point of your job search and I can not stress on how important your CV is!!
However, with the changes in technologies, the way recruitment happens has changed entirely. Companies still do rely on MS Word/ PDF format CVs. But, they are slowly losing their edge to your ‘Online Job Profile.‘
Here is the way traditional recruitment takes place:
- A recruiter or HR Executive is provided with a job profile that they need to hunt down;
- The recruiter of HR puts an ad on a newspaper to get CVs;
- The CVs arrive either by email or Fax;
- The recruiter scans through 100s of CVs received; (And due to human intervention, some CVs are lost);
- The recruiter shortlists CVs based on what he/she has decided in 10 seconds of looking at your CV;
- The lucky ones get selected for interview;
- Interview happens;
The traditional way of recruitment is human intensive with minimal use of technology and this has proved to be a very primitive way of recruiting with inefficiencies in the process.
The modern way of recruitment works slightly differently:
- The recruiter receives the job openings;
- The recruiter logs into one or more of the job site’s employer login;
- If the recruiter is looking for, let’s say a ‘Sales Engineer for Oil & Gas Refinery’, the person in the search box of the admin area inputs:
- ‘Sales Engineer’, Years of experience ‘7 to 10’, qualification ‘Graduate’;
- Once she clicks on search, the system gives relevant results on various profiles that are listed;
- Recruiter selects the most relevant profiles and shortlist them for further interview;
- The recruiter may also call them for their updated profile; (this is where your CV is required)
If you see here, the recruiter has saved a lot of his time, money and energy in getting better results by accessing the job sites for job profiles.
So what are job sites?
There are 2 parts here:
As the name suggests, job sites are the websites or online platforms which maintain your job profile for FREE. They are usually not involved in the recruitment of individuals. But they help you create your job profile and make it visible to the recruiters and employers. Certain companies I know have completely eliminated Recruitment Agencies and have taken help from job sites to look for candidates in various sectors for jobs available in their companies.
Job sites are also aggregators of various jobs posted by companies. Companies use these platforms to advertise or post their jobs online because these sites are visited by thousands of candidates and it provides good amount of visibility to the company as well as vacancy. As aggregators of jobs, job sites provide and easy way for the companies to disseminate information on various vacancies within their companies.
This does 2 things:
- It saves a lot of money: Recruitment agencies usually charge anywhere between 5% to 15% an employee’s annual salary to the company for providing a suitable employee. So when companies use job sites, this cost is entirely eliminated.
- It is efficient: Job sites have become very user friendly and are very efficient in their processes.
So, how do Job Sites make money?
Companies pay a monthly fixed amount of subscription fees to get access to their database of job profiles. They also make money from advertising that is placed on their sites. Some of the job sites also provide services to candidates like CV writing, Interview tips and thus make money. Job Sites like Bayt, LinkedIn provide premium services to job seekers to be featured on the top of the search results when employers/companies search for certain profiles. There is also income through advertising on these sites for 3rd parties.
Which are the top Job Sites in Dubai / UAE?
As the days go by, the number of job sites that are set up in Dubai are increasing. However, I have found 5 of them to be of top quality:
For a full list of Job Sites, please visit my article on Job Sites in UAE.
Why are the above job sites good?
The above job sites provide the users with easy interface and large reach. More and more, these days, employers are using job sites to search for candidates and shortlist them. In fact, they have almost replaced the traditional recruitment agencies because they provide good value to the users.
By providing an easier way to companies to post jobs and search for suitable candidates, the job sites also provide a platform for job seekers to maintain their profile. While the platform is free for candidates (unless you opt for Premium services), companies have to subscribe to the job sites in order to access the database.
How companies search for a Candidate on Job Site?
Below is a video demo of how companies and employers are using LinkedIn to look for talent. By far this is the most efficient way to look for candidates. Through this below video, you will understand how companies use LinkedIn to recruit employees.
Similar to LinkedIn, Bayt.com too offers a place for employers to look for candidates in their target sector. By making it easier for employers to search for a suitable candidate depending on their online job profile, Bayt.com cuts down a lot of inefficiencies.
How to build your online job profile effectively?
Just having your profile on the job sites is not enough; you need to make it effective, so that when employers are searching for profiles within your area of work, your results reflect on the top of their search results.
Is there a magic wand here?
Unfortunately, no! This will take some time and effort from you. The keyword that I’d stress here is “relevance“. How relevant are you to what an employer or a company is searching for?
The below tutorial from Bayt.com will teach you on ‘How to build your CV or resume?’ Although it talks about their platform, the strategies can be applied on any job site that you register on. This video provides only basic details on building your CV.
Another job site that I like is Gulf Talent. Besides being user friendly, they provide you an easy way to set up alerts for related jobs. You will need to set up your job profile on Gulf Talent, which takes around 20 to 30 minutes and you details will be saved in their database, which will be used for future references by employers. Employers who have subscribed to Gulf Talent database, do searches looking for talents and it is imperative that you should have your profile up there and optimise it.
Important Note: I have been contacted by companies and employers after they have seen my profile on Bayt, LinkedIn and Gulf Talent. I myself have been successfully placed with the help of Bayt with one of the leading companies in UAE. So, I write this out of my personal experience.
Other job sites
I have already shared with you list of other job sites which are helpful for you to set up your job profile. I’d say have your personal job profile on every job site available in the list. This way, when employers are searching for your related profile, your results are shown.
How to optimise your Job Profile?
Just having your profile up on job sites will not solve the problem. You will need to optimise your job profile. Now, a good question is ‘what is optimisation?‘ and ‘how to optimise your job profile?‘
What is Optimisation?
You sure use Google for searching for various things on internet, starting from restaurants, delivery services, people’s names, company names and so on. When you hit ENTER key on your keyboard, Google displays you certain results, right? How did the number 1 search result become NUMBER 1 ? It’s simple…the person who wrote relevant article matching your search term, came on top. In other words, the creator of the web page has optimised the webpage to be found easily and hence the results!
It works the same way! When an HR Executive sits on his/her desk to search for suitable candidates, the person would have a requirement for, let’s say:
- Sales Engineer;
- with 7 years+ experience;
- experience in refinery management;
- Qualification: Mechanical Engineer and so on;
- Knowledge of SAP;
When the HR Executive, searches on, Bayt.com, LinkedIn or Gulf Talent with the combination of these requirements, he/she will be given so many results. The results could be 100, 200 or 1000!! If your profile is at the top of the search results, you have an optimised profile. In this case, your chances of landing at a job are much higher than the person who is on the 2nd page of results!
How would you reach the top of the search results?
This is simple!
First sit with a blank sheet of paper and a pen and write down what are your core competencies (KEYWORDS) in terms of your job related skills. For me, my core competencies were:
- Risk Management;
- Credit Analysis;
- Risk Analysis;
- Credit Analyst;
- Risk Analyst;
- Small and Medium Enterprises (SME);
- Ratio Analysis;
- Financial Analysis;
- Balance sheet Analysis;
- Bank statement Analysis and so on
Once you have noted down your job skill, you will then set up your profile in a similar way. However, do it naturally within your online job profile.
My Bayt profile looks this way:
(This was old profile. I have since changed my job!)
Within each company job experience, mention the target Keywords:
See how I have used synonyms within the job description that I handled. You do not have to use exact matching words in the job description. You will need to sound natural in your language you write.
Bayt automatically ranks your skills based on the voting by your job description profile and level of proficiency. (Below image)
This also immensely helps in boosting your CV to the top of the search results.
You also can select your skills and rank them as per your skill level like:
This has HUGE impact on how you are shown in the search results. So make sure that your profile properly displays these details. If not, do so as this will help you optimise your job profile on Bayt.
A latest trend these days is to get your video CV done. I have myself not done this, but I am sure this is helpful for your prospective employer to view your brief profile from your mouth and in your own words. Here is a sample video uploaded to Bayt.com:
Apply for Jobs now:
Once you are done with your job profile, start applying for relevant jobs on the site.
Apply for Jobs by location:
Jobs by Sector
Jobs by Company:
Bayt.com also sends you recommended Jobs through your emails. So keep your eyes open:
Bayt regularly sends you updates on matching jobs for your online job profile. So keep an eye open for these emails and take advantage of these.
Similar to Bayt, GulfTalent also provides you with tools and information that you’d require to optimise your online job profile.
Make sure that you have filled in relevant information in all the provided fields. Do not leave any field emplty.
Once you are done with your profile, go to Recommended Jobs section and start applying for system generated recommendation.
Don’t stop there!
Start applying for relevant jobs through the job site homepage and through Jobs dropdown menu:
Gulf Talent will also be sending you regular email alerts on relevant jobs they find suitable for your profile.
Also keep an eye out for Gulf Talent Job Alert through email:
Other job sites will also help you in a similar way. You will need to regularly update your online job profile to match the requirements and job descriptions that employers are looking at. Just posting your CV and waiting for answers will not help you. Keep visiting these sites regularly and do searches on your target job on a daily basis. Remember, there are thousands of people applying for a single job available. Your objective here is to appear at the top of the search results when an HR Executive is searching for your profile. Continuous improvement is to your profile is must and necessary if you are to see any results.
Above was the groundwork that you will need to do even before you come to UAE. And it must continue even after you are here in UAE.
You’d be lucky, if you are directly recruited from your home country. Few people I know are these kinds! You just look up to them and wonder…how lucky they were to get a job in Dubai! For the rest of us we have the next section.
4. Coming to UAE – Tourist visa or Visit Visa?
Here too, citizens of few nationalities have visa free travel facility to Dubai. For the rest of us we have Tourist Visa and Visit Visa.
There is a basic difference between Tourist Visa and Visit Visa. Any short term visas applied through Travel Agencies in Dubai are tourist visas. Visit visas are applied by friends, relatives and companies.
UAE has a very liberal policy of visit / tourist visa.
If you have a relative or friend who is eligible to apply for a visit visa, that can be arranged through them. This has few pros as well as cons. On the pros side:
- if you get a job, you do not have to exit UAE;
- I think it is a bit cheaper than tourist visa.
On the cons side:
- Your relative/friends must be eligible to apply for this;
- They will need to keep a deposit with Immigration department, which will be returned once you exit UAE.
I came here on a visit visa sponsored by one of my relatives (I am thankful to Kishore Noronha).
For those who do not like to come of visit visa, you could come on tourist visa.
The maximum validity of Visit or Tourist visa is 90 days upon arrival. For many, coming here on visit / tourist visa is a preferred way to find jobs. Here is a good write up on visit visa and tourist visa.
5. Calculating your living expenses while on visit/tourist visa:
Before you even come to UAE, it is advisable to sit down with a blank sheet of paper and calculate your living expenses. Dubai is one of top cosmopolitan cities in the world and although it is cheaper compared to London or Singapore, your money may drain within no time if you do not stick to a budget.
Below are the top expenses which I can think of:
- Stay – Apartment, Bed space:
- Inquire whether the electricity and water charges are included with the rent!
- If you are unable to check with anyone, you could book a hotel for a week and in the meantime, hunt for a space to stay. Dubizzle (classifieds site) is a good starting point for this;
- You’d be lucky to have wi-fi wherever you stay. This is a necessity these days. But do not expect it to be present by default. Inquire before you you arrive. Ask your friends, relatives if they know anywhere you could stay. If you are out of luck with wi-fi, there are neighbourhood internet cafes. However, with limited funds, you’d want to save as much as possible. And, you will not be able to spend more than 2-3 hours at an internet cafe!
- Morning tea with snack (brunch);
- Snacks, Leisure;
- It is very important that you read various newspapers to keep abreast with the various news and job openings published there.
- Evening snacks + tea;
- Entertainment: may be you’d like going out with friends for a weekly movie or to a park or to eat at a good restaurant…chances are it will cost you money! Keep this in mind;
- Immediately after you come, buy a NOL Card, which will enable you to take the Metro and Bus to reach to your destination;
- You will definitely have to move around a lot attending interviews, meeting friends/relatives, meetings, walk ins etc;
- Download RTA Apps: Android, iOS; This will come handy when you have to move around;
- You also have taxis; but they are a bit expensive when you are on visit visa!
I am not putting any costs against the above since each of has different tastes and likes. Your budget will entirely depend on you. Dubai is a place where you can get used to living on bare minimum expenses; if you wished!
6. Your Air Ticket
I think this is obvious! Perhaps, this may be the single biggest expense that you will do when you visit Dubai! That’s why it is important to optimise your money on booking the cheapest flight possible. Visit as many comparison sites and do a little research rather than ending up paying a higher price. Every Dirham or $ you save will count. Being on visit visa can be stressful when you have no job and are on the hunt for a job.
7. Travel/Health Insurance
Anyone can fall sick and when it is on your job search on visit/tourist visa, it can be a nightmare. Because, you may not have a support system that you have back home, it will be very stressful. Basic health facilities are expensive here in Dubai. A visit to a doctor can easily cost you 200 Dirhams including medicines and consultation. That’s why it is of utmost importance that you get a health insurance which is available cheaply through various insurance providers.
Perhaps you will need 4 different types of clothes:
- For Interview:
- You already know that first impressions count! If you present yourself professionally through your skills and the way you dress up, the chances of you landing up on the top of the recruiters’ mind is high. So make sure that you get your favourite formal clothing with you. (I will not get into to details of what is formal!!)
- Formal wear:
- You definitely have to meet up with recruiters and companies to give your CV or other meetings. It may not be an interview; however, you will have to present yourself well.
- Normal Meetings:
- You may have to go out with your friends to a mall, or to a movie. These are casual clothes that you wear.
- Home Wear:
- Something that you are comfortable (and others!!) wearing at the place you stay.
9. Read various publications on Jobs and Salaries
If you are thinking about moving to Dubai/UAE looking for jobs, it is imperative that you know what kind of industries provide opportunities as well how much income or salary that you can expect. Without doing this research, it is better not to venture into Dubai.
Few recruitment agencies and job sites prepare such results and they are very handy in terms of gauging the industries that are currently recruiting and which industries are not doing well. And what kind of salary can you expect.
Highlights of few of these studies:
Robert Half – Recruitment Agency
Robert Half, a well known recruitment agency publishes their reports annually on Salary Guide. This report is accessible free of cost on their site. Get the salary guide here.
Below are the highlights:
Jobs and skill in demand in the Accounting field
Skills and qualifications in demand – Financial Services
Positions and qualifications in demand in Technology Industry
The report provides you with many insights to target your industry and get an idea of how much salary can be drawn in various positions. It is worth mentioning that, these trends need to be carefully studied before you take any decision to move to Dubai or contact recruiters for a job in Dubai.
Employment and Salary trend in the Gulf – A report by Gulf Talent
Recently, Gulf Talent has released their report on Employment and Salary trend in the Gulf for the year 2016. And I must say that it provides the latest views as to the job prospects in the Gulf for job seekers and also shows the trends that are present in the market in the employment sector.
One very important note is with regard to private sector redundancies in the year 2015-16.
As you can see, the picture may not be rosy! There are huge redundancies that are forecasted of up to 9% in UAE!
However, everything is not so bleak! There are always opportunities for those who seek them.
There are various other resources too that you can refer to. So, make sure that you have read these reports to gain insights into the current job market trends.
10. Your educational certificates and experience certificates:
Another important aspect that you should tackle before coming to UAE is to have your educational certificates (Convocation Certificate) attested. As part of the process of obtaining an employment residence visa, every individual (except Level 4 & below), should submit their attested educational certificates (copy) to MOL prior to obtaining the labour approval. The Ministry of Labour needs to authenticate the certificate that you present to them. However, this needs to be done in your home country. There are agencies who do this in UAE. But I suggest, you get this done in your home country prior to coming to UAE.
Basically, the certificate needs authentication from various parties (Indian perspective): A Lawyer, Ministry of Human Resource Development, UAE embassy in your home country and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in UAE. I have also heard about online verification of certificates in respective consulates/embassies in UAE.
If you have not done your certificate attestation, you could get it done in Dubai through agencies like Index, BLS attestation etc.
But, this is very important. Free zone authorities too request attested educational certificates to be attested.
11. Where to find list of companies?
Companies do require skill employees to do certain kind of work and there is always a demand for skilled people. Having said that, before you even come to Dubai, you must already have a fair idea of companies that are here. Finding these companies is also not tough. There are dedicated directories which list companies and their basic details. You could start with the below mentioned sites to find companies:
- Yellow Pages;
- Local Search;
- UAE Free Zones;
- List of Companies: I have also created dedicated posts about list of various companies. You must apply for jobs at each of these companies to increase your chances of getting a job!
There are many other places you can search for a list of companies. Once you find a company, go to their website and visit the career link. Once you have done so, register yourself or send your CV to the email listed. Do it in as many companies as possible. Do this at least a month in advance, so that this will make sure that you will start receiving calls when your arrive in Dubai.
Section 2. After Coming to Dubai
Now that you have arrived in Dubai, the real challenges start!! Do not worry; you are ahead of the other job seekers!! They have not even done any of the steps that I have mentioned above. You are here, prepared and ready to plunge into job search mode. So here are the things you need to things step by step.
Before you do all these things, take proper rest; relax and get used to the nearest grocery store or supermarket. Check out the surroundings and get to know people you are staying with.
Get a mobile phone number:
This is obvious! Etisalat and Du are the only mobile connection providers here in Dubai and UAE. So when you have arrived at the airport, there are dedicated counters for Etisalat and Du where you could get hold of a mobile phone SIM card.
The first thing once you get your new phone number is to update your CV and online job profile with the phone numbers. This is the best way how recruiters will get hold of you. So get your phone number updated immediately.
2. Get on the phone with everyone you know in Dubai/UAE:
You must already have friends, relatives, acquaintances living here! This is the right chance! Get on hone with them and inform that you have arrived in Dubai and that you are looking for a job. Don’t be shy! I have encountered many job seekers who are even shy to say why they are here!
ASK AND RECEIVE.
I wanted to reiterate the above. There is nothing you will lose by asking someone whether they know of any job vacancies in your area of expertise. Better yet, ask them for their email address and send them your updated CV with information added which is relevant to your visit visa status. Ask your friends, relatives for references among their contacts. Many of the vacancies in Dubai are filled through personal references.
Read my Article on WASTA!
It is very important that you touch base with everyone of your contacts in UAE/Dubai asking them for a reference if they know of. People are usually helpful and you asking them will definitely prove that you are serious about the job search. However, don’t make them feel that you are desperate for a job in any case. Always be positive when you call somebody! You won’t believe how of my friends have found jobs this way and is the most effective way to find a job.
3. Conversation with strangers
Dubai is a multi cultural place with very unique set of people that work and live here. You must see it as an opportunity when you come across someone in your building, on the public transport to introduce yourself and enquire about their profession. Strike conversations with strangers on public transport, not to ask for job, but to understand their job, their profile. Make it about them and less about you. If you randomly ask strangers for jobs, they will surely feel uncomfortable. So use your common sense!
Here is a live example:
Roshan (my friend…name changed) had come to Dubai on a visit visa and was looking for a job. Although there were few opportunities, he could not find a suitable opportunity. Roshan used public transport regularly and on one occasion was accompanying his friend. He was having a conversation with his friend about finding job and this conversation was heard by a stranger who enquired about him and mentioned that his company had few vacancies in his company. Roshan sent his CV and was called in for an interview and within a couple of weeks, Roshan was placed in a well known Dubai based bank.
You see how this worked out! This is not a made up story….this is my own friend and now he is having a successful career.
This is the power of having conversations! You never know where your life takes turn. It may on a metro, bus or on the street. Never hesitate to make a conversation. Try to talk to as many people to understand their experience.
Few questions that you may ask:
- Why you came to Dubai?
- How you found job when you came to Dubai?
- What was the most challenging part of finding the job?
- How did you managed their funds?
- What proved successful in finding a job?
- What steps you took to find job?
- Where do you work currently?
- Do they like the job and how long have they been working?
- Ask for their email address so you could send your CV.
- Would they have time to check your CV and suggest any corrections, spelling errors etc?
You could customise these questions according to the scenario. Be very natural! Don’t sound like you are reading out of the book. Be genuine in your approach! If you sound unnatural, people will realise this. Do not rote the questions, rather be authentic! Sitting at home and waiting for help to arrive will not take you anywhere! Go out and meet people.
4. Help from Recruitment agencies:
By now, you’d have settled in your place where you stay. You must realise that finding job is a job in itself! And recruitment agencies are at the forefront of getting job seekers placed. Because it is their only objective: “To place competent employees at the companies and in a cost efficient way.”
I can provide my own example for this. When I came to Dubai 10 years back (2006), there were only few job sites that operated. Although I had my profile over on those sites, it was recruiters that were doing the maximum number of recruitments. I did not know this fact at that time. I had sent emails to every recruiter and registered on most places where I could. However, what helped me was visiting as many recruitment agencies as I could!
Important Note: The above mentioned strategy may not work any more as recruiting strategies have changed!
I divided my day into each chunks which I dedicated to online applications, visiting companies, visiting recruiters. And on one these visits, I recruiter was interested in my profile. And within a month’s time, I was placed in one of the banks in Dubai.
Note: This strategy is not effective these days as recruiters do not like job seekers visiting them. I understand this! They are busy doing what they do best and would not like distractions.
However, what you can do is call up these recruitment agencies. Make a list of all the recruiters you would like to target and make time everyday, may be 20 to 30 minutes to call at least 5 of the recruiters. Of course you will face rejections….but you should not worry about these rejections; rather look at them as opportunities to talk to new people. Just because one day some recruiter has rejected your call or proposition, they should not go out of your list. Schedule another call some other time.
The objective here is to build relationship with someone at these recruitment agencies.
Suggestion: When you make a list of recruiters to call, make sure you shortlist only those that deal with your industry. Not all recruiters are specialised with everything. While some are specialised in engineering, some are specialised with banking and finance and so on. So, it is important to make the distinction here. Know your target recruiters and the effectiveness of your efforts will increase!
5. Visit Companies personally!
One more strategy that seems to be effective and usually neglected by candidates is to visit companies personally. Although most UAE companies do encourage uploading your profile/CV through their website, many companies still accept CVs when you visit them personally. As a part of your job hunting, I recommend that you take specific days within the week and make a list of areas that you can target to drop the CVs to the companies.
This strategy specifically works for mid and junior level positions and may not be suitable for higher management positions. I can at least provide you 10 to 15 examples of people who have secured jobs this way.
How to do this?
- Pick days of the week. Usually between Monday and Wednesday;
- Pick an area to target: Internet City, Sheikh Zayed Road, Academic City etc
- When you are at the company reception ask to meet the HR; which will be categorically denied (in most cases). As a follow up, mention that you are looking for a job and have come to enquire about opportunity. Mention that you’d like to drop your CV and request the receptionist to hand it over to the HR department. Request for the name of the recruitment officer, HR Manager which can be used to contact these people on LinkedIn.
- If you are looking for a job in, let’s say, Sales/Marketing department, ask Manager name and that you’d like to meet the person. If the person at the reception denies, try and mention that you’d like to drop your CV and would like to make sure that the CV reaches the concerned person. This is necessary, because it is mostly the departments that raise a request to hire new staff/employees.
Of course you will face rejections, at least 90% of the time. But, you should not shy away from the rejections. Remember, your objective is to get a Job and rejections will teach you important lessons on how to approach and talk to the next company better.
HINT: If you are looking for jobs as sales associates in companies, visit the malls in Dubai and visit every showroom/shop there is and ask the person at the counter whether their company is recruiting. Chances are that most of them do. And in most cases, they are displayed at the billing counter or similar areas.
NOTE: “I AM SHY” – Most of the people looking for jobs are shy to ask questions in fear of losing face!! I know that feeling. Sometime you think of what other person would think about you. Or you are shy to come across as a ‘person in need.’ Most of us are scared to ASK for the fear of losing face! I have come across umpteen number of job seekers who are much shy to even introduce themselves with confidence. When you meet a new person, it is better to ask questions immediately.
6. Talk over phone with companies directly
Sometime, it helps to seek information through telephone directly to recruitment agencies and companies. Most Recruiters and companies these days do not encourage calls to them and will guide you to their websites to upload your CV or create a profile. This does not mean you should not give it a shot. While you talk over the phone, it would most probably be to the reception. Ask the reception whether he/she knows of any vacancies at the company!
Whatever the answer, politely ask for the email address of the company HR where you can send your CV. Also ask for the website of the company where you could upload your profile and CV. Have a good conversation and thank the person. After you’ve made the note of the email and website, make sure to create your profile on every company site that you come across or send CV through the email in the listed email addresses.
Companies do take these submissions seriously as the interest is shown from candidates.
7. Seeking Expert advice
Dig your personal network to get in touch with people who work at companies in senior or managerial roles. Everyone would definitely have few contacts who have at some point come to UAE on a visit/tourist visa and landed jobs. Get in touch with these people and ask for their advice on how they got job when they landed in Dubai and how you should go about it. This has 2 advantages:
- It provides you with a reference point to get in touch with for you queries related to job hunting;
- They would be more interested in helping you by providing vacancy updates and personal references.
Don’t be ‘stick bug’ here! You will need to maintain a professional relationship with these individuals. Only seek advice when absolutely necessary. No one wants to receive calls at Friday afternoon when they are relaxing at home with family.
Important: And once you get a job thank them for their guidance!!
This strategy has worked very well for many of the job hunters. And you must try it too!
8. Place ads in Classified sites
I can not stress enough how important this is!! I can name at least 20 people on top of my mind who have got interview calls, jobs by placing job ads on various classifieds sites. I have previously written in detail about placing ads:
While Dubizzle and Opensooq may be free, Gulf News classifieds may not be free. However, it is a very effective channel for your job ad to get visibility. Although Dubai is a very advanced in terms of usage of technology, ads on classified newspaper for job has had goo uptake among companies, because it free for them to pick up the job profiles.
So do not forget to place your job ad.
9. Facing the Interview
There is a definitive answers to how you should face interview!! Depending on your area of expertise, you should be comfortable enough to face interviews. It all comes down to your attitude and a bit of practice. When you a Mechanical Engineer applying for a job that you have experience in your related area of experience and expertise, you will not need much help. Tricky part is the qualitative part of your answers and replies.
For this purpose, you should take help of your friends and acquaintances who are already working in similar fields. They will be the best to guide you to right answers t o questions. Other things that do come out this is the softer side of your answers like introducing yourself, giving smart answers etc…
There are hundreds of tutorials on YouTube that you can refer to in order to study and brush up your skills.
Below carefully selected videos will definitely help you in your preparation for Interview:
8 Common Job Interview Questions and Answers
Mistakes to avoid during a job interview – Job interview tips
How to make a first good impression in a job interview?
6 tips to ace a Job Interview
Job Interview Question & Answers for freshers
9 tips for acing your next job interview
There are so many more resources at your disposal that, you will really do great at your interview. But, note that you must know what your work is all about! That unfortunately can not be taught by any system!! It comes through experience.
So, wish you all the best and do view all the videos, learn basics of effective communication and be successful.
10. The Follow up after Interview:
This is so important and necessary! But most candidates forget to do this or do not know that they should even do this.
“But, why should I follow up?”
Once you have faced an interview, you should easily assume that there more than 10 candidates for the same post. What sets you apart is your performance and what you do after that!
Don’t mistake me when I say follow up! A follow up is the Thank you note that you send to the interviewer. Here is a sample of an email that you could send once you are done with interview. This is the first email that your should send within a day of your meeting the interviewer:
Good afternoon Ahmed (interviewer’s name),
Thank you for taking time yesterday to talk about the position of *Position* with *Company Name*.
It was a pleasure meeting with you, and I truly enjoyed learning more about the role and the company. After our conversation, I am confident that my skills and experiences are a great match for this opportunity.
I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of joining your team and would greatly appreciate a follow-up as you move forward with the hiring process. If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me by email or phone. Thanks again, and I hope to hear from you in the near future. I ‘d truly appreciate your reply in any case and would love your feedback to improve myself.
After you have sent this email, keep an eye on your inbox. And do not expect an answer. There are many reasons why the recipient may not reply to your query or email. Take it positively and learn from experience. The most important aspect for you is to send the follow up email and be positive. I hope this helps you out!
2nd Follow up:
Don’t expect an email right away from the interviewer. They may be speaking many candidates and sometimes could forget. OR they just do not like to respond to email. It’s their choice! It does not mean your efforts should not be done. You must be proactive in looking for jobs and send another email after 5 days of meeting the interviewer. Most probably, by this time, they’d have called you if you are successful. If not, it is a right way to keep in touch with the person who interviewed you. The second email should be an extension of your first email and remind them that you met at so and so date for interview and you’d like an update, whether positive or negative!
11. Watch daily job updates
Thousands of companies, on a daily basis, post thousands of vacancies, in any kind of economy. Requirement for skilled staff is ever increasing and there is demand for people with right skills and attitude. If a banker lost a job, it is likely that a professional debt collector vacancy has come up. So, you must watch various job updates across all the platforms on a daily basis to be on top of the job trends. Dubai and UAE being such a dynamic and vast economy, opportunities spring up every day and every minute. However, it must be noted that companies have become stringent in their recruitment activities and only take risks when they must! This provides a unique opportunity to those who really understand these dynamics.
Updates on Job Sites online:
Here is a list of job sites, that you must keep an eye on, on a daily basis when looking for jobs:
Every job site has a feature called ‘Latest Jobs’. Dig in to your area of work and try and match your requirement with the company that has posted the requirement. Chances are that you will see jobs that may be suitable for your profile. If you do find, apply for the jobs. I must say that the conversion rate is quite low and since there are thousands of candidates applying for jobs, you must always be optimising your profile on these job sites.
Read daily newspapers for jobs and updates:
All major news papers in UAE like Gulf News, Khaleej Times and Arabic News papers carry a Jobs supplement, ads and classifieds section on the newspaper. As a job seeker you must pay attention to them on a daily basis, not only to read about jobs, but also to read about general news. Chances are that your future interviewer could be interested to learn about your general awareness level. Most of these sites also have a dedicated online presence for jobs. You must, on a daily basis visit the sites and read the classifieds section for job updates.
Attend Meet ups:
I recently realised that there are 100s o meet up and networking groups in Dubai on various aspects, starting from hobby groups to serious groups involved in entrepreneurship. Although I have not had an opportunity to attend any such groups, you must explore these meet up clubs on your own. It is a good place for networking.
A good starting place is a site called: MeetUp
This site provides you an opportunity to be a part of a community and mingle with likeminded individuals. You could meet a lot of people and interact with them and opportunity may just be there. Give it a try!
I have come across lot of groups in Facebook which provide information on vacancies in Facebook Groups. The quality of the vacancies may not be as high. I am yet to meet someone who has found jobs through these forums. However, you must give it a try, when looking for jobs. But be careful who you interact with; if it is a direct vacancy from a company it’s OK, otherwise, you may as well ignore it.
Leads through What’sApp:
Communication has been revolutionised through What’sApp these days. I have also noticed that there are many vacancies and jobs related info being circulated through What’sApp. You could ask your friends and relatives if they know of any such groups and be a part of this. Although, a good medium, the vacancies tend to be duplicates, old and outdated. Again, be careful who you send your CV to.
So, you see. I have tried to cover most aspects of searching or looking for jobs in Dubai. This guide does not promise that you will surely land on a job. But following these steps, will surely provide you a good guidance on what you should do to get a step closer to your job. It is not going to be easy! Finding jobs is tough! But you must be consistent in your approach. By developing an attitude to keep in touch and networking. Job search is a combination of many of the factors mentioned above and many of the factors which are not covered that I am not aware. This guide on job search is written so that you take this is right spirit and apply your own strategies along with those that are mentioned here.
What you should be aware of when searching for jobs?
There are few things you should be aware of, when searching for jobs in Dubai / UAE:
1. Beware of Job Scams
In the past I have written about job scams in Dubai and UAE. Read the articles. After a certain time job hunting, you may become desperate for a job and you’d go to any extent to get a job. And this is where the scams hit. The fact that you have responded to their ad on classified site for a job means that you are desperate enough to get a job. This is where they exploit your situation.
Here is the golden rule:
“Whatever you do, do not pay any money to anybody to get a job.”
If anybody asks money to place you in a company, just stand up, thank them and walk out!
The same is true online! I am aware of supposed job sites, which take money from candidates to place them. This is a SCAM. Do not pay for whatever reason.
What you should pay for?
You could however pay for following services:
- Professional CV writing/cover letter writing;
- Professional job profile optimiser;
No other services should be paid. Again, your CV does not have to spectacular with graphics; a simple CV with right English and Grammar would be so much better and everyone would know how to do that.
If it is any other service, I’d request you to refrain paying.
2. CV Blasting or CV Marketing services: Do they help?
Like I said before, if you have been unsuccessful in obtaining a job, you’d use all the measures and are ready to do anything that comes to your mind which you think will help you. And one such service is “CV Blast” or “CV Marketing”. Not a day goes by when I do not receive at least 10 CVs in my email and I feel sad sometimes that job seekers are paying money for their CV to be sent to people who may be irrelevant.
Take a look at the above image.
What do you see?
These are all the CVs that I receive through email. This is just for one of the days! And where are the CV emails landing?
IN MY SPAM FOLDER!!
Yes, that’s right and this is the reason I do not recommend blasting your CV to people you do not know.
Why does this happen?
- Email service providers have become well aware of the email addresses that are used to blast CVs in thousands and recognise these email addresses as SPAM. These email addresses have no chance of landing at someone’s Inbox;
- If a person gets email from an unknown source, most probably, they will report it as SPAM. When many people do the same, email service providers will ban such email addresses and they will directly land in SPAM folder of all the recipients.
So you see, this is not helpful at all. And there are services that charge a lot of money for their services which you have no way of knowing the outcome of!
If you have ever got a job through blasting your CV, do contact me…I am interested to talk! If you are able to spend this kind of money, you are most welcome to do so.
Does knowing Arabic help when searching for jobs in Dubai?
Most of the vacancies that you may come across these days, would mention that knowing Arabic is preferred. I am very much sure that knowing Arabic, will definitely help you and give you edge over other candidates when you have the same experience and qualification. Knowing Arabic provides you that extra boost in your ranking in job sites.
You may download the Learn Basic Arabic ebook below:
If you are still more serious about learning Arabic, I highly recommend this course for you:
Most probably, if you have read and reached here, you are serious about finding a job in Dubai. Well, with all that effort comes a lot of stress, tension and most of all it is overwhelmingly complex. You will have thoughts about your future, your family, finances and many other thoughts. One thing that is of utmost importance is that you set aside time to relax and rejuvenate. I am not going to say how….it is for you to figure this out as everyone of us has his/her own way. Some like listening to music, some like watching movie, some like walking in a park, some like walking in a mall……find your mojo! This is very important.
So, here it is. Your brief and step by step guide to looking and finding your job in Dubai. I wish you all the best in your job search and hope that this job search guide has helped you in your quest. I again say that finding a a job in Dubai is very challenging for most of us and I hope I have helped you move the needle a bit.
Wish you all good!
Process of getting your employment permit and residence visa in Dubai:
- Company gives Offer of Employment;
- You accept the Offer of Employment;
- You provide your company with passport copy, photographs (usually 7) and attested documents like qualification certificates;
- Company applies for Labour approval for your position;
- Your Company completes Official Labour Contract
- Company applies to Department of Naturalisation for Employment visa for you. This will enable your Residence Visa;
- Company submits Official Labour Contract to Labour Department which you have signed;
- You undergo Medical Examination (HIV/TB/ Communicable diseases);
- At the same time you also get your Emirates ID typing done;
- The medical result is directly relayed to Residency Permit Department;
- Once your medical report is successful, your residency visa can be stamped in your passport;
- Labour Department issues Labour card in the name of the employee;
- Emirates ID arrives through post.
I hope you have got immense value out of this article. There may be things that I have not covered. If so, please comment below on your thoughts in comments and I will include them in the article.
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