I’ve come across a number of people who come to the UAE for job hunting… usually it is their first time round and they expect too much, or perhaps they are desperate and want to get in somewhere.
One thing is for sure, the market currently does have the capacity to take in more people but it doesn’t stay the same all the time. It’s always useful to stay aware of what’s going on and to understand if you are what the market is looking for.
No one likes to receive random requests for jobs or to help find a job, and definitely not random LinkedIn requests. Honestly, it doesn’t help. What does help though is how well you position yourself and leave an impression worth considering.
Searching for a job is much like marketing, in fact it is just that. For those who aren’t quite sure what I’m talking about, you’re in for a quick Self-Marketing 101.
Before you start applying anywhere, observe and take note of what your target market is up to. By this I mean observe the everyday people you meet, and friends and family (if you have them in the UAE). Then start reaching out to people of your own fraternity through your contacts, meet them at events or gatherings that are possibly free or cost little to attend.
Look up your LinkedIn contacts and see who can connect you to whom just for a meet up. Believe me, people are willing to meet and share their knowledge because they’ve gone through a lot too. Go for it, and if there’s a possibility these very people will connect you to others they know just because you have impressed them, and you are looking to learn and understand more.
This is your observation stage, you don’t have to sound like you’re looking for a job unless you are asked about it. But let’s be honest, everyone knows that everyone is out for a better opportunity, but telling everyone means you’re desperate. Eagerness and desperation have a thin line between them – know which side you’re on.
Here’s your chance to expand your circle, this is where the gold lies. Connect with as many relevant people as you can. Look for people and places which are relevant to you, your niche and expertise is important. Maintain a positive and calm composure, and don’t sound desperate (I stress on this a lot). You’re out there to gain knowledge first, then secure the most suitable job.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile tells a better and more elaborate story. The more recommendations you have the better, but that doesn’t mean you randomly ask people who barely know you to give you recommendations. Give your contacts a recommendation so they feel obliged to give you one too, eventually. And endorsements are not recommendations.
One thing you can be sure of, if someone is impressed and there is an opening, it won’t take long till you’re called in for another meeting (let’s not call it an interview). This is usually preceded or followed by someone asking for your CV.
Now here’s the deal, NEVER make a generic CV for anyone. This can spell disaster for you. Understand the business and people where you are intending to apply, either through a job post or when asked to send a CV. That’s the trick, UNDERSTAND. It will be your key to making sure that you have the right CV in front of the right people.
Here’s what I tell everyone, purely based on experience. Your CV is your marketing presentation. You, the product (or service). In other words, to sell your product or service, you need a good, short and meaningful presentation.
As they say, each slide should not have more than 4 to 5 points, your CV should not be more than 2 pages at most. But these 2 pages should speak out what you intend to present in a crisp and concise format. The rest, leave for the audience (employer) to ask of you when you meet them, or have a call with them.
I would strongly suggest to make relevant changes and then send your CV across, just like a presentation is updated for each client and purpose. Oh! And don’t forget to make a custom cover letter for each role you apply, believe me it’s a lot of effort perhaps but it’s well worth it.
Now we talk about your first meeting / interview on the basis of your CV. Be prepared to tell your compelling story, now relevant to your CV. Remember, this is the presentation day, and you must deliver a sales pitch.
If you’re called, one thing you MUST do before you go is review the CV and cover letter you have sent to them multiple times. Given that you’re adapting your CV and cover letter, this much you should do so you don’t mix up with what you have sent to someone else. And you have to remember everything, because you won’t be able to see your CV while talking about.
When you’re meeting them, make sure you’re presentable enough. Don’t have to over dress or be too nice – nobody likes overkill, and it shows you’re a fake. Also, always stick with the story you can tell and you can exhibit when you’re hired. When the time comes you’d be in good hands if you stick to reality.
Maintain a positive and subtle smile. Be clear with what you say, think through for a second about your responses. Avoid stuttering and definitely not yammer nonstop. Of course the first meet may not be perfect, but subsequent meetings with other prospective employers will polish you. Be open for change.
Now here’s my secret. I never “rehearse” for my meetings / interviews. But that doesn’t mean it applies to everyone. Preparing or rehearsing for me is knowledge and what I can do with it, and at my experience level that’s what matters.
While leaving and after too, be sure to make a firm yet “see you soon” type of a handshake, and smile. You need to leave a lasting impression, make the thank you a compelling one.
Once you’re of the door, and if you have their email addresses, make sure you send a short thank you note. Some would go to the extent of sending a personalized thank you note with some sweets as a goodwill. They may not hire you, but the key is to be remembered when something related to your interests is discussed.
But still, I would not recommend following up too much. If you’ve made an impact, you will definitely be given some form of positive response, which doesn’t mean you’ve got the job. But it does mean that you’re worth something and will be recommended elsewhere. You might even be asked to talk to some other people. Thus, an opportunity to shine even better.
I didn’t mention this till now, saved it for last.
Study the market for remuneration packages that are best suited to your niche. Don’t pounce for every opportunity, you won’t be satisfied if you’re not getting your own worth. Wait for the right opportunity, you’ll get what you deserve. But if you are in a hurry, go for the next best, not whatever comes your way.
Here’s a quick run-down of what you need to remember:
- Don’t apply for any available or slightly related position randomly. You remember how your examiners would grade you if you don’t write relevant stuff? Yeah, be ready for it.
- Go for your niche, your core expertise and passion. This is what you will truly be able to sell. Don’t say this or that is your passion if you can’t convince yourself for it.
- Address each person you apply to personally, no generic covers and CVs… sorry, you will need to put in some time and effort here. But as I said earlier, it will be worth it.
- Patience and perseverance, without signs of desperation are key to this journey.
- Maintain a network of good people who can tell something positive about their experience with you. Your go to network is LinkedIn, not Facebook.
- Don’t short sell yourself, you need to bank on something to move forward and maintain a lifestyle.
- You won’t get hired the first time, be ready to go at it again. You’ll be polished by the time you hit the jackpot.
I wish you all the best in your endeavors to land the job of your dreams.