Careers in UAE: 5 simple steps to ensure you get that job interview call in the Emirates

Take some time and focus on job requirements and firm you wish to apply to, advise experts

You may have sent out dozens or even hundreds of CVs to various companies in the country but still haven't got even a single interview call.

With each day your self-confidence could be eroding. The ‘good for nothing’ thought must be at the top of anybody’s mind in such a situation.

Take the example of Anil Mohit, an Indian finance professional in Dubai. He was laid off in October and has applied invariably for every position he’s suited for.

Nearly three months down the line, he hasn’t heard anything back.

“I’m trying hard but it’s very disheartening,” said Mohit, on the condition of anonymity. Mohit is one such case where hordes of sent out CVs do not translate into a single interview call. Is it just that that Mohit is unemployable, or a sinister former employer may be blacklisting him or can there be a few slips that do not make him marketable?

“This [not getting interview calls] is down to a number of factors,” said Hasnain Qazi, Middle East Business Manager at Huxley Associates.

First and foremost it is the market. “It is a simple equation of demand and supply. In certain niches there are more candidates looking for work, than the number of jobs. Ultimately, the most relevant candidates will be approached for interviews and so it is very much a case of survival of the fittest.

"Further, it is an employers’ market in many verticals, i.e. companies can afford to be choosy and wait to find a candidate meeting all of their required competencies, rather than settling with someone with a combination of fewer required skills,” he said.

Besides the problem of demand and supply, leading headhunters in the country believe, there are other problems that could be keeping you away from that interview call, which can be addressed even in a tough market.

1) Are you applying for jobs that you are not fit for?

If you're applying for jobs that do not match your qualifications or experience, you need to explicitly demonstrate to employers that you a great match despite the odds. Do not leave them to figure it out on their own.

In today’s job market there is no dearth of people well-suited to the job so it is advised to apply to jobs that suit your profile.

“It is important that you’re selective with your job search, only sending out applications for those roles in which you meet most, if not all of the criteria, and avoiding those in which you are obviously not a suitable match. Submitting your application for multiple roles in which you are not qualified will result in hiring managers questioning your abilities and motivation, and may result in them passing you over for roles that may be a great fit,” James Sayer, Director, Robert Half UAE told Emirates 24|7.

“Many candidates simply do not meet the requirements of a vacancy. For example, if a bank is looking for Arabic speaking Corporate Relationship Managers with client relationships in Abu Dhabi, they are unlikely to interview applicants that meet the criteria but can’t speak Arabic or do not have clients in Abu Dhabi. Similarly, employers can be hesitant to interview candidates, even with strong profiles if they have frequently moved jobs. Until the demand exceeds supply in a certain sector, it is not unusual to have to apply to dozens of jobs on a constant basis before you get a look in. Of course standout or very relevant candidates will find it much easier to attract attention,” added Qazi.

2) Tailor-make each application with a strong cover letter

Sending out vague or one generic application for 50-odd jobs will do you no good. Take some time and focus on the requirements of the job and the company you wish to apply to and then explain how and why you are suited for it. A strong covering letter is very important to explain your accomplishments and your suitability for the job.

“It is important to tailor each application for the specific role, ensuring that the key responsibilities and experience are noted in your CV and/or cover letter. Sending out generic applications will put you at a competitive disadvantage when other candidates are tailoring their application materials to the specific company and role,” explained Sayer.

Ensure that you don’t make the mistake of making your cover letter bland and uninspiring. Suhail Masri, VP Sales at Bayt.com believes a strong covering letter is your chance to market yourself. “Your cover letter is your chance to really market yourself and highlight exactly those skills and personal attributes you think the employer is looking for. This is your opportunity to really shine so don't waste it or take it lightly,” he said.

3) Your CV is poor and doesn’t speak of you as the candidate to be hired

Some candidates fail at making a strong CV. A poor CV will fail to portray you as a professional that the employer may be looking for. Most people's resumes simply list their job duties at each job they've held without a mention of their accomplishments.

“Poor focus, major omissions, spelling and grammar mistakes and lack of emphasis on pertinent skills are common mistakes that immediately eliminate your CV from the search process,” said the bayt.com expert.

“Most of the times, this is due to a non-targeted CV or to a non-targeted approach.  Having a CV that is focused, gives a specific brand to the candidate, lists briefly the achievements (if possible in numerical terms) and is brief and to-the-point, is helpful.  Use of key words that are related to the experience of the person and the goals he/she wants to achieve is also important, as most of the times, initial search through a database is made by key words and, if missing, the CV is overlooked,” added Konstantina Sakellariou, Partner, Marketing & Operations Director, Stanton Chase International.

4) Poor networking can push your down

Networking is not an optional thing in today’s world. “Candidates should also get creative in their job search,” as Sayer puts it.

“Applying to roles on job boards is just the beginning. To maximise chances, candidates should tap into their networks, speaking to friends and family about potential opportunities and referrals, and staying active on social networking sites such as LinkedIn. Most jobs are filled by word-of-mouth, so speaking with a specialist recruiter about upcoming opportunities may also help candidates successfully land a new opportunity,” he explained.

Agrees Masri, who believe networking is a long-term thing. “Many people make the mistake of networking just to market themselves for an immediate opportunity or to be referred to a company hiring at the present time. Effective networking is a long term give-and-take process that puts you on the inside track in the area that interests you and establishes you in the running for any attractive position that comes up in the future,” he said.

5) Careless follow-up

Sending out applications is just the first step. This should be coupled with regular follow-up to ensure that you have not missed at any stage of the selection/screening process. This ensures you make it to the interview stage.

“Sending a mass mailing of CVs and waiting for the companies to contact you is not an optimal job search strategy. The key is in the follow-up. Plan your follow-up strategy and execute it well. Follow up by phone to make sure the relevant manager has received your CV, follow up again to ask for a meeting and follow up with notes regularly until you have received some form of a response,” added Masri of Bayt.com.

Besides regular follow-up, the Bayt expert also suggests to treat a job search seriously to ensure optimal results.

“Treat the job search process as a job in itself and apply the same discipline and structure to your activities that you would apply to your job. Create a ledger of job search activities from researching a company on the internet or in publications to sending initial introduction letters to follow-up calls, follow-up notes etc,” he said.

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