Looking to land a job in Dubai? We asked the experts for their top tips
From the best ways to arrange your search to top tips in the interview process…
With its glorious sunshine, tax-free income and consistent ranking as one of the best and safest places to live, it’s no wonder so many people are considering how to get a job in Dubai.
While it’s important to be realistic about living in Dubai (no we don’t all drive a Ferrari, yes the cost of living is expensive), the pros of living in Dubai far outweigh the cons.
So, if you’re looking to make the move to Dubai, securing a job is a great place to start. Whether you’re just beginning your search or you’ve been on the hunt for a while, we asked the experts for their top tips for securing a job in Dubai.
Things to consider
“Network, network, network,” says Nicki Wilson, owner and managing director of Genie recruitment consultancy, on the number one thing to consider when job hunting in Dubai. “You really need to find platforms where people look for jobs in your industry which could be via recruiters, LinkedIn, or even social media groups. The only way you will find your way in is to network, ask people in the know and get yourself out there,” she explains.
It’s also important to make sure you’ve covered all the basics, like ensuring your CV is up to date. “I have seen so many candidates over the years start a job search and not have an updated CV to hand,” says Wilson. Once you have the essentials, Wilson advises adopting a targeted approach for a higher success rate. “Aside from finding the specialists, it is useful to try and get in front of decision makers, especially if you have a very specialist skill set. Do some research in your industry and create a list of thirty target companies. Use this list to find your decision makers, I would say at least 3 in each company. Then add or follow these contacts on LinkedIn and engage with their posts or drop them a personal message with your profile. You never know they could be looking for someone just like you!”
Understanding the city
“Do your research and learn about the cultural and professional norms in the city,” Aaron Portero, Managing Director of Connect Group, a business set-up consultancy, says of his top tip for job hunters. “It’s also important to understand the local work culture and what employers in Dubai are looking for in candidates. This includes the importance of networking and building personal relationships, as well as being flexible and adaptable in a rapidly changing business environment.”
Knowing which jobs are in-demand is also hugely advantageous, explains Portero. “Some of the top industries in Dubai include finance, healthcare, tourism, and technology, among others. Knowing the industries that are growing can help you target your job search to industries where there may be more job opportunities,” he advises.
Going the extra mile
“I’m always looking for ‘The extra miler,'” says Kameron Hutchinson, Director of Allsopp & Allsopp Recruitment. “Someone who does their research on the company they are hoping to land their job with, together with following up with a simple thank you post interview,” he explains of a standout candidate. “It can say a lot about a candidate by the way they follow up – or don’t, as well as the knowledge they may already have on the company they are interviewing with.”
Showing genuine interest for the role and company is also something Hutchinson says helps a candidate stand out. “There’s a fine line between just enough vs too many, but someone who doesn’t ask any questions…this is a big no from me, he says. “Asking questions shows the candidate cares, they’re inquisitive and hopefully should have a heightened interest in the position.”
Patience and flexibility are key
If you’re feeling frustrated that your search hasn’t been immediately successful, you’re not alone. “Be patient: The recruitment processes in the Middle East can take a lot longer than other parts of the world,” warns John Armstrong, founder and Managing Director of Dubai-based recruitment firm, JCA Associates.
“No two days are the same in the UAE, which can make your work life more interesting,” Armstrong adds on what can help a candidate make their mark. “But you need to be flexible and able to adapt to change.” That applies both in the process, and the roles you search for. “It’s a good idea to be flexible with your expectations in your first position, in terms of the responsibility you take on,” he says. “I have often witnessed candidates take a step back in their first role in Dubai, to then go on and have a very successful career.”
The overriding advice is to not give up. “Job searching can be a challenging process, but it’s important to stay motivated and keep a growth mindset, says Aaron Portero of Connect Group. It’s a sentiment echoed by Allsopp & Allsopp’s Kameron Hutchinson, “You are one of the hundreds of thousands of job seekers expected to land in Dubai during 2023. You’re going to get knock backs. Dust yourself off and go again.”
Keep going, I hear it a lot that it is a frustrating process looking for opportunities, but if you treat the job search like a job in itself there is definitely a higher chance of success,” concludes Genie’s founder, Nicki Wilson.