As the demands of the job market become more and more
specialized, it's becoming harder to get a job.
Unemployment on the whole in the Middle East hovers around 11%, according to the International Labor Organization, but unemployment for youth can reach up to 28%.
As both fresh grads and middle aged workers seek employment that will put them on the path to a successful career, it's helpful to understand what companies are looking for.
After all, if you have the right skills for the job, it would be unfortunate to miss the opportunity just because you didn't present yourself properly.
Here are nine tips to help any job seeker stand out from the crowd and land a position:
- Build your digital presence. Don't
underestimate the importance of starting an online portfolio, a
blog, or a Facebook or Twitter account. Your digital presence helps
employers understand who you are and see what your interests and
passions are. It's essential not just for tech and web companies,
but for offline businesses too these days; even if you are applying
to work at a bakery, having Twitter or Facebook followers means you
can use these channels to promote their products. Just be sure to
take a professional approach- don't tweet or post on Facebook
publicly about parties and your personal life unless you want
employers to see that as well.
- Demonstrate your
experience. Demonstrating your work allows employers
to see evidence that you can actually execute on your tasks.
Showing samples of your writings if you're a journalist, or web and
mobile apps you've built, if you're a developer, can help companies
evaluate how well you would do at their company.
- Be self-starting, self-motivated. Most
companies these days are looking for those employees that don't
have to be micro-managed, but rather can demonstrate an ability to
take the lead themselves. Showing that you took initiative reveals
that you're a good investment and could broaden a company's
horizons. So showcase your volunteer work, blog, or new ideas that
you implemented at previous jobs.
- Be well prepared. To help convince the company
that you're a good fit for them, do your homework. Read their
company profile and become as familiar as you can with their work
and what they are looking for in a potential employee. Knowing how
you fit into their existing culture will also help you sound more
confident in your opening letter.
- Show originality. Too often, resumes in the
Arab world reveal slogans that are copy-pasted from other CVs,
stating objectives like "I’m eagerly seeking a career in which my
skills and academic background can be developed and to gain
personal and working experience that will allow me to grow in my
career and reach a leadership position." Don't use this. Work
on differentiating yourself from other candidates by being bold and
to the point. As Akhtaboot mentioned in their
article, 7 Things you Should not Include in your Resume,
avoid templates altogether.
- Show commitment. Once a company has
decided you're a candidate, the last thing they will want is
someone who seems nonchalant about their commitment. Be sure you
can commit to the amount of time they are seeking without being
overwhelmed. It's great to take initiative, but if you cite a
neverending list of volunteering positions and current
committments, you might not have enough time to dedicate to your
potential employer. Find a balance.
- Keep it professional. Don't bring your
religious or political views to the table. Especially in our
region, these issues are sensitive. Keep these agendas off the
table, unless you are directly asked for disclosure.
- Adjust your tone. After you become familiar
with a company's general culture, choose the right tone while
approaching them. Avoid flowery emails when talking to a fast-paced
company. Some more traditional companies might like these words,
but many young founders won't resonate with too much flattery or
use of words like "esteemed." Send a nice, simple introduction and
- Persevere, without being spammy. Once you receive positive feedback from a company regarding your application, follow up with a gentle reminder. HR managers are only human, so some CVs might just slip through the cracks. It doesn't hurt to remind them of yourself, at very spaced out occasions. If you get an interview but don't get the job for any reason, you can still follow up by thanking them politely and asking them to keep you in mind should anything change. This subtle perseverance can results in getting a job down the road.