Job-hunting in a saturated market – how to stand out from the crowd in Dubai

Dubai cityscape with sky scrapers and water in the foreground

With over 200 nationalities, the UAE is a melting pot of cultures, experiences and people. Emiratis make up roughly 20% of the population, while expats from Europe, Asia and Africa consist of the other 80%, emigrating for career progression, an improved quality of life and the chance to increase their earnings.[1] The booming expat population continues to place a strain on an already-saturated job market, making each job application more competitive than ever. This has seen salaries drop, as many jobseekers are willing to take on roles for a lower salary in order to stand out from the crowd and win a lucrative position.

However, it’s not all bad news. The upcoming Dubai Expo 2020 is resulting in job growth, with hiring set to increase in the legal, financial and human resources sectors. A Bayt report also found that 36% of those looking to hire over the next year were going to recruit more than five roles.[2]

With this is mind, jobseekers now need to go above and beyond to stand out from the crowd. Here are our top tips to increase your chances of securing a job in the UAE:

1. Format your CV

Your CV is a potential employer’s first impression of you, so it needs to pack a punch. It should be no longer than two pages, clearly set out and justified. In the UAE, it’s common practice to include a photo, so make sure this is included.

As always, it is essential that your CV is free of spelling and grammar errors and includes a personal statement, your professional experience (with both responsibilities and achievements), education and any other skills, such as languages.

2. The power of a cover letter

Unlike the UK, a cover letter is a necessary part of any application in the UAE. However, it’s not enough to include a generic letter – you need to tailor each submission, highlighting your ability to do the role. This is your chance to demonstrate why you’re the perfect person for the job, with specific examples about how you satisfy the criteria.

3. Network offline and online

Networking is such an important weapon in a jobseeker’s arsenal. You never know where an opportunity will come up, or where a conversation could take you! Therefore, keep an eye out for any jobseeker networking events in your city or other opportunities to meet employers, such as job fairs and career expos. If you aren’t in the city you’re looking to work in, it’s still possible to network on LinkedIn. Ensure that your details are up to date and accurate, with your latest positions, responsibilities and achievements.

There are also several social media pages that could prove useful – the Brits in Dubai Facebook page can be a fantastic resource. While you’re online, take the time to clean up your social media profiles. One of the first things a hiring manager or employer will do is look you up online, so it’s best to remove any unprofessional photos or content. It’s also worth checking your privacy settings and adapting as needed.

4. Pick up the phone

With so many jobseekers looking for roles, companies are receiving thousands of applications on a daily basis. Make sure you’re memorable by following up with a phone call – a simple introductory call will differentiate you from the crowd and give you yet another chance to impress.

skype interview

5. Prepare!

A hiring manager has seen your CV and welcomed you in for an interview – congratulations! Don’t throw away your chance at face-to-face time by not preparing accordingly. Make sure you research the company, position and industry prior to the interview and have a think about your answers to potential interview questions. Look up your route beforehand and make sure you arrive with plenty of time – it’s much better to arrive early and go for a coffee nearby, instead of rushing in a few minutes late.

6. Understand market expectations for salary

It’s important to understand what the market looks like before applying for jobs – this way, you have a gauge of salary ranges and know if what you’re asking for is in line with expectations. Top level industry-specific EAs can earn AED 25,000 (GBP 5150) a month, but if you have moved over with no local experience, it is unlikely you will find something at this level.

EAs who have recently immigrated should expect to take a role on for around AED 12,000 (just under GBP 2,500) per month. This will allow you to get your foot in the door, gaining useful experience to then transfer into a higher paying role.

7. Register with a recruitment agency

Another great way to ensure you stay ahead of the crowd in the job hunt is to register with a recruitment agency. Your consultant will be able to provide advice on your job-seeking efforts, as well as put you forward for any suitable roles. Recruitment agencies like Tiger often work exclusively with high-profile companies, providing a direct pathway to lucrative careers.

Should you be looking for a new role, get in touch with Tiger’s Dubai office.

Author Tiger Contributor Tiger Recruitment Team

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