How to stand out in the UAE job market



Dubai has for some time now been hailed as a destination of choice for many looking to work overseas, with its 4-day working weeks, state-of-the-art, eco-friendly Expo City and plans for further sustainable urban development. Alongside this, the UAE is enjoying massive growth in the tech sector, attracting leading companies to open offices in the region, and the government is offering an increasing range of benefits for expats, such as golden visas, pensions and unemployment insurance, not to mention new, more relaxed family laws for non-Muslim residents.

So as people flock to the Emirate for top jobs in top firms with great expat perks, perhaps unsurprisingly, in a survey conducted last month to discover the most competitive job markets in the world, Dubai was ranked second. The UAE was the only country to feature twice in the top 10, with Abu Dhabi also ranked fifth.

What does it mean for Job Seekers?

In plain terms, the competition for every role is increasing, and when competition is high, it could be more challenging to secure the job you want, even if you are qualified and experienced. However, a few tips could help you stand out from the crowd and get noticed ahead of the other candidates.

Top Tips for a Dubai Job Hunt

Get a Dubai phone number - Setting up a local phone number is recommended, as many recruiters and hiring managers in the region prefer to contact applicants by phone. Installing WhatsApp is also advisable, as this is the region's most widely used conversation app.

Keep LinkedIn up to date - Similarly to if you were conducting a job search in any country, it is vital to keep your LinkedIn profile updated to show prospective employers how your experience matches up to their requirements. For a job search in the UAE, include relevant experience working in Gulf states or with teams based in the area. Demonstrating your knowledge of the culture and working practices of the region could help your application reach the interview pile.

Network – Being referred or recommended to an employer or recruiter can be advantageous, so networking can be a crucial strategy to help you stand out from a sea of applications and interviewees. Make it known to friends, family and previous colleagues that you are looking for a new role and maintain good relationships with past and current employers for reference purposes and future network building. Attend networking events where you are likely to connect with people from the UAE who work in your field and those working for companies based in the region. You may find out about opportunities not yet advertised, which can provide a real competitive advantage and completely negate the application process.

Don't underestimate the importance of local knowledge - If you want to broaden your chances of finding a job beyond just applying directly to companies, consider working with a recruitment company. Choose a local recruiter to work with who knows the market, the culture and the people. A recruitment consultancy with offices in the UAE will have better access to jobs in the region and be better placed to help you prepare for interviews, giving you the best chance of landing the role against the competition.

Not just for Dubai - Other more general advice for any job hunt includes tailoring your CV to the specific role to which you are applying and also sending a polite and brief follow-up email after an interview to thank the employer for their time, especially if you have not had a response from them after the positive first meeting. While these are true of any application process, it is particularly important in a highly competitive market.

Hopefully, the above can provide some valuable information for those looking to move to Dubai or those already there and seeking work.

If you are looking for a role in Dubai or are a Dubai-based company seeking top professionals to join your team, speak to our specialist local recruitment team at McGregor Boyall today and find out how we can help you.