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Preparing for the Job Market: 8 Tips for Emirati Job Seekers

Preparing for the Job Market: 8 Tips for Emirati Job Seekers

The job market is ever-changing and evolving, and it’s vital to be well-prepared to take it on. The great news is that there is a push for Emiratisation in the United Arab Emirates to increase the number of UAE citizens in the private sector.

In line with this, enterprises in the UAE are required to meet a minimum percentage threshold of Emirati employees (e.g., 3% for companies with at least 50 employees and at least one Emirati for companies with 20 to 49 employees).

Emiratisation brings significant career empowerment in the UAE. If you’re ready to take advantage of this government initiative and start your career in the private sector, it’s time to take action. Whether you’re a fresh graduate or looking to switch careers, the following tips will help you stand out and rise above the competition.

1. Understand Industry Requirements

Before you begin job hunting or working on your resume, take some time to understand the industry you want to enter.

Are you an accounting professional? You must decide whether to enter the finance, banking or accounting services industry. You might even want to work in the accounting division of a private enterprise, in which case, you will still have to decide on your target industry (e.g., manufacturing, retail, construction, real estate, etc.).

After you have decided on your industry, you should research the skills, qualifications and experiences that your target industry values. You should also try to acquire domain knowledge.

To illustrate, if you want to work in the accounting division of a transport and logistics company, it will help your chances if you come to the table not only with your accounting expertise but also some logistics-specific knowledge and skills.

Action Steps:

  • Research your industry online
  • Talk to industry experts.
  • Align your skills and experiences with your target industry’s needs.

2. Craft a Compelling Resume

Your resume represents your potential employer’s first impression of you, so make it count. It’s vital to be strategic when writing your resume. Make sure it highlights all your relevant experiences, skills and certifications.

Put the most pertinent information first, so they’re easy to find. Even if you excelled as a maths tutor, if it is irrelevant to the position you’re applying for, you should relegate it to the tail end of your resume or, if it is getting too long, edit it out altogether.

In line with this, do not use a generic resume for job applications. Look at the job description, particularly the requirements of the post, and tailor your resume accordingly. Essentially, your resume should tell the hiring manager, “Look! I have what you’re looking for.”

Action Steps:

  • Customise your resume specifically for each job application.
  • Use action verbs and quantify achievements where possible.
  • Keep your resume concise, clean and error-free.

3. Prepare for Your Interview

Congratulations! You passed the initial screening and got a chance to be interviewed. This is not time to sit on your laurels, however. You must prepare, as preparation is key to expressing yourself confidently.

Go over your resume. For every experience on it, think back to a situation when you did an excellent job and maybe even saved the day. You might also be asked to remember a time of strife or conflict and relay what you did to resolve it.

When choosing anecdotes to tell during your interview, keep the job description, requirements and company values in mind. It’s best to find stories that showcase how you’re an excellent fit for the job and the organisation.

You can also rehearse answering interview questions. There are plenty of places online that provide mock interview questions for practice.

Action Steps:

  • Research the company culture and values.
  • Prepare answers for common interview questions.
  • Hold interview mock-ups with friends.

4. Network and Attend Career Exhibits

A professional network is invaluable as it can open doors to opportunities you may not find elsewhere. Connect with university alums; they can tell you about job openings in their company. You should also attend career exhibits.

Career exhibits are invaluable opportunities to connect with potential employers and industry peers. They provide a ready platform to get to know companies in your industry, learn about job openings and get on-the-spot job interviews.

Career exhibits can also provide career seminars and workshops that will equip you with strategies to improve your resume and interview skills.

Action Steps:

  • Attend career exhibits, seminars and workshops.
  • Attend industry events.
  • Connect with professionals on LinkedIn.
  • Research the companies attending an exhibit beforehand to tailor your approach.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Prepare multiple copies of your resume.
  • Engage with exhibitors and ask insightful questions.
  • Follow up with connections made.

5. Upskill

Continuous learning can make you more marketable. Consider taking up courses and earning certifications that are relevant to your industry.

If you’re an accountant, you can obtain the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or ACCA qualification to prove your accounting knowledge and skills. You can also work to become a Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA if you wish to specialise in investing and wealth management. If you’re an experienced project manager applying for a project management lead position, you can improve your chances with a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

Action Steps:

  • Identify skill gaps.
  • Look for online courses, workshops or community college classes.
  • Acquire professional qualifications.

6. Build a Strong Online Presence

Your online presence can be as important as your resume in today’s digital age. Employers often look up applicants online before making a decision.

You can use this to your advantage. Use your social media or website to publish content that highlights your expertise. In the same vein, be careful about the pictures and content you share online.

Action Steps:

  • Update your LinkedIn profile.
  • Be mindful of what you share on social media.
  • Consider a personal website to showcase your portfolio.

7. Engage in Volunteer Work or Internships

What do you do if you’re fresh from university? You can acquire real-world experience. Do this by volunteering or accepting internships.

Action Steps:

  • Look for job posts that align with your career goals.
  • Even unpaid experiences can be valuable; focus on the skills you’ll gain.

8. Stay Updated With Industry Trends

Staying up-to-date with the latest industry news shows employers that you’re engaged with and serious about your field.

Action Steps:

  • Follow industry blogs or magazines.
  • Join industry-relevant professional groups.

Improve Your Chances of Getting Hired

If you’re a UAE citizen, you’re in an excellent position to get hired in the private sector because of the government Emiratisation initiative. Even so, navigating the job market can be tricky and requires a multifaceted approach. Follow the above tips and improve your chances of getting hired.

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