Tips for Job Hunting in UAE (Dubai,Sharjah, Abu Dhabi)

Most of us, if not all go to UAE on a visit or tourist visa for Job Hunting! And majority of us have no guarantee to find a satisfying job. But here are some of the time-tested tips and suggestions to maximize your chances to find a suitable job within short span of time and resources in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi-UAE.
  • It takes time to research and locate your ideal position in UAE. If you are unemployed, make this task your full-time job; if you're employed, set aside some time every day after work for job search.
  • UAE is a highly competitive job market where 83.5% expatriates are working. Due to Emiratization policy, preference is given to local candidates than comes western and Arab citizens followed by western educated candidates. Asians are in high supply and low demand; thus receiving comparatively lesser salaries. Therefore, it is strongly suggested first to develop competitive advantage, create sound forward linkages and take calculated risk and informed decisions on the basis of market realities to qualify for any well-paid job in UAE.
  • It is recommended that you secure employment before travelling to the UAE. Speculative visits are occasionally successful, but rarely lead to an offer of employment unless you are extremely lucky or have good networks in the country. Therefore, it is strongly suggested to start your job search from your home country that too at least one to three month before your plan visit because most of the jobs-especially white collar jobs-in UAE advertise at least 20 to 30 days before starting screening, shortlisting and interviewing process. This way you will better be able to gauge your market potential besides streamlining some interviews while entering UAE. If you receive any kind of positive response than it is suggested to move ahead otherwise do not take risk. If you start applying after entering UAE, this means you will be wasting at least 20-30 days out of your 30-90 days visit visa.
  • Narrow your focus with reference to sectors and potential positions that you want to apply for. That means look for only those opportunities that match your core competencies, career goals, personal priorities and experience to secure your targeted job within limited time and resources.
  • Research job opportunities and potential employers and create forward linkages besides continuously updating your knowledge, skills and expertise. According to my observation and findings it is highly likely to find a job in education, healthcare, tourism, hospitality, logistics, export, construction and retail sectors as they are booming in UAE. While production, manufacturing, petroleum, NGO and automotive sector are showing sluggish sentiments. Therefore, pertinent professionals are suggested to take informed decisions accordingly.
  • Prepare multiple winning CVs and Covering Letters and hunt matching jobs accordingly. Chronological, functional and combined CV formats are acceptable in the UAE. It is suggested that you should state your Name, contact number, email ID and current address (in case of being in UAE), nationality, date of birth, passport number, visa status and whether you hold a driving licence (if you have one) along with your passport size picture should be given at the top of the your CV. 
  • While applying from your home country, mention any of your UAE based friend’s or relative’s contact number with due consent of # holder on your CV so that employer could contact you via this number. When you reach UAE buy your own contact number on top priority basis and update contact information accordingly.
  • Make sure the recruitment agency and HR personals you're dealing with are legitimate and not demanding any kind of fee for giving you a job. Many of these companies and HR personals are scams, promising to submit your résumé to prospective employers or give you a job; thus, fleecing job hunter. Since they know that visitors have to leave UAE within short span of time as such can’t claim refund or report any malpractice of these thugs; therefore, please be cautious if can’t avoid them as the fake job offer has been around in the UAE for a while now and many have fallen victim to it
  • Before applying for visa confirm whether it is extensible or not. From January 1st, 2015 visit visa extension policy have been finished in UAE. One can get non- expendable visit visa for one month or three months at an average cost of 800 AED and 2100 AED respectively.
  • Initially, it is very much difficult to land in job market of UAE. Therefore, it is suggested not to expect high salaries in the short run. Therefore, if one get an offer having more than equal to his real salary in his/her own country along with accommodation and transportation, then s/he should accept the offer as it is very much easy to grow within organization besides jumping from one opportunity to other after getting a little bit experience in local market. Especially well qualified and competent individual have better chances to get a better opportunity once landed in local market. There is no bounding or ban for skipping jobs even before the end of contract if one get better opportunity in Free Zones or Government Organizations in UAE.
  • If you are visiting UAE on visit visa it is suggested to keep 2000 AED with yourself just to show at the airport that you have enough money to finance your visit. A lot of people have said that they have not been allowed to depart for UAE for not being able to show at least 2000 AED at the airport to justify their financial position to finance their visit at Pakistani Airports. But sometimes they don't at all ask to show the said amount. At least I myself have not been asked by authorities at airport though they asked why I was visiting UAE. My suggestion is nicely dress to give a positive outlook about your financial status or else keep the said amount with yourself and also not say that you are going to explore job opportunities in UAE. Instead tell them you are visiting UAE just to spend your vacations or explore UAE etc.
  • According to a latest survey by jobs portal Bayt.com, 41.5% of responding companies in Middle East & North Africa region ‘always’ research new hires online before hiring. In some of online job application forms, a considerable number of organizations seek web address of your social networks and LinkedIn profile to assess your candidacy with reference to the given job and their corporate culture. Therefore, increase your online visibility, manage your online reputation and try to build your unique online brand and positive image.
  • Read up on living and working conditions in Dubai and make arrangements accordingly. On the average it cost 500 to 800 AED for housing in sharing or bed space, 300 to 600 AED for food and 400 to 700 for transportation and communication for one month. This is why it's important to learn about benefits offered by employers, whether accommodation, transportation, and return ticket are included in the package. These things can eat up a large part of your salary if you have to pay for them by yourself.
  • In today’s recessionary job market your reference and network determines your net worth as you can tap the "hidden" job market by maximizing existing network along with developing a list of contacts through friends, family, former co-workers, your social institutions, social networks or alumni. Create a profile on LinkedIn and update its status about what are you looking for. Create “Job Wanted” ads on job sites like dubizzle.com and share the same on LinkedIn and other social media and professional circle. Reach out to the people in your network and speak with them for advice, helpful information and job leads. In this regard prepare your own “pitch” by describing who you are your background and what you are specifically looking for from the person you are contacting.
  • During the month of Ramazan and April to August hiring process slow down on account of low economic activities in UAE. Therefore, it is suggested to visit UAE from September to March for job hunting. 
  • The time tested and most effective techniques for job hunting in UAE is to apply only for matching positions through online job portals, Google search and company websites than take a follow-up through phone calls. I suggest one call just after submitting application to let concern hiring manager know that you have applied for the given position and tell him/her that you are perfectly competent and eligible enough and interested to meet in person to discuss more about the position under consideration. If they don’t give you the chance to discuss this at that point in time than wait for the closing date of job advertisement than take a follow-up just after closing date of advertisement and request them to give you the chance on the basis of your competencies to compete for the given position. This way you will maximise your opportunity to get a chance to appear in an interview. Therefore, the most important point is to be prepared and keep up to date your core competencies and skills to go through any kind of test or interview.
  • For your easy reference, tracking progress and follow-up, always keep a record of all the jobs you have applied for including TORs of vacancies where you have most chances of being shortlisted. Always keep yourself up to date with news in your chosen industry, keep reviewing and fine-tuning your CV and keep on trying without losing heart. Eventually opportunities come to those who dare to take risk and constantly prepare to avail them when they arise.

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  • Also published in The Pamir Times
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