Dubai is a thriving city that has seen incredible growth over recent years. Jobs are plentiful. The United Arab Emirates is also relatively accepting of Western guests, as long as they are respectful of Arab customs. As a result, Dubai is one of the hottest locations for expats looking to live and work in a new city.
However, job seeking in Dubai is a little different than you’re used to at home. We’ll let you in on a few secrets to make the process easier and give you a leg up on the competition.
To find a job in Dubai as an expat, you need skills that line up with areas of growth and need. Right now, that means construction, telecom, IT, and engineering, as well as finance, marketing, procurement, sales, and operations. The hospitality and tourism industry is also huge.
Having skills in any of these areas gives you a solid foundation for job seeking in Dubai. Consider taking a certification course or two if your foundation could be stronger. However, some jobs don’t require a degree and can serve as a stop-gap. Look for entry level jobs as a gas station attendant, waiter or waitress, airport baggage handler, housekeeper, or security guard.
Obviously, to work in Dubai you need to be there, and that requires a visa of some kind. You may begin your job search online at home, but will eventually need to have an in-person interview. Dubai is also big on open interviews that you can simply show up for, so not being there cuts off a lot of opportunity.
You are not permitted to work on a visitor’s visa, but that may be the best way to get to Dubai and begin your job search. When you find an employer willing to sponsor your work visa, the company will do most of the work in pushing that through. Unlike some other countries that require you to apply for a work visa from your home country, in Dubai you can transition a visitor visa to a work visa while there.
There are plenty of avenues for exploration when you’re ready to begin job searching. Remember to customize your resume or CV to your industry before applying.
Dubai is technologically advanced, so you can job search online pretty easily. The best sites for this are LinkedIn, Bayt, Monster Gulf, and Naukri Gulf.
You may also find ads for walk-in interviews when doing online searches. This is why being in Dubai for your job search can pay off. Face-to-face introductions are a much more personal way of moving ahead in the hiring process.
Be sure to take with you your CV or resume, personal identification, and your visa information.
Professional recruitment companies
Another way to job search in Dubai is to engage a professional recruitment company that will match your qualifications to a job opportunity. This can take a lot of the stress out of your search as these agencies are familiar with the demands of various jobs and can save you time in pursuing dead ends.
Good choices include MichaelPage, BAC Middle East, and Charterhouse.
And finally, networking is critical for job searching in the UAE as well as anywhere else. This is especially true if you are new to the area. Consider every job contact the opportunity to establish a relationship that may be helpful in the future.
Ask around at social gatherings, as well, because you never know where you’ll get the lead for your new job. Just remember that good networking is as much about what you can offer to others in your industry as what they can offer you. Be open to sharing expertise or even volunteering for a bit to get your foot in the door.
To make your transition easier, there are few other steps you can take prior to your move to Dubai.
The official language in Dubai is Arabic, but English is also used frequently, especially in business. You can get away with speaking only English while you’re there, but you’ll have an advantage if you take the time to learn Arabic before you go.
Not only does this show respect for the people of your host country, it also makes it easier for you to navigate around by reading signs. Being bi-lingual is a huge plus on your resume, as well.
Customs & Clothing
Take some time to research the cultural expectations of your new home before you go. Understanding what business attire looks like in Dubai will help you get past the interview stage and prepare you for your first day.
Formal dress is expected, so wear a business suit that covers your arms and legs. Modesty is important. A good tip for international workers is to keep business cards that are translated into Arabic on one side. Remember that handshakes are light in Dubai, more like gentle palm touches than a firm grip. Don’t initiate a handshake with a woman, but accept one if she initiates.
There’s plenty more to know about professional expectations in Dubai, so research is a must.
Best of luck on your job search! As long as you are persistent and respectful of local customs, you’ll be living and working in Dubai before you know it.