Looking to Boost Your Career? Here’s What to Do (And What Not to)

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When looking for a new job, or trying to advance in your current career path, there are a few do's and don'ts to keep in mind. 


1. Have a stellar, mesmerizing, keyword-rich online CV.

Your CV is a dynamic document and it keeps changing throughout your career. Customize your CV for jobs you are applying to and make sure it is current, compelling and complete. A Bayt.com poll lists "not customizing your CV" as a top job search mistake according to 19.7% of employers.

Whether or not you're actively looking for a new job, also make sure your CV is properly parked online on a jobsite or other platform so you are always aware of, and in the running for, relevant and interesting opportunities in your field.

2. Create a carefully curated professional online Public Profile.

The top source for employers while searching for senior executive talent is online, say 50.5% of employers polled. 84% of employers cite they will take the time to research candidates online before making a final decision, making a professional Internet presence on a professional networking platform imperative for candidates looking for career advancement.

3. Career shifts to new roles and industries.

82.4% of MENA professionals desire a career change. The days of a job for life, and even a single career for life, are behind. Professionals today find they have access to a wider and increasingly diverse spectrum of opportunity and also the means to retrain for those opportunities.  The top motivation for a majority of professionals to change careers seems to be a better salary, followed by the chance to start afresh in their dream career and finally the opportunity for additional training and development.

A Bayt.com poll also revealed the top industries of choice among those looking for a career switch in the Middle East and North Africa: Oil & Gas (21.5%), telecom/IT (16.5%), tourism and hospitality (14.6%), financial services (9.9%), management consulting (8.2%); advertising and marketing (7%); FMCG (6.6%) and healthcare (3.7%).

4. Lifelong learning.

The biggest mistake professionals can make in advancing their career, according to 28.6% of polled professionals, is not improving and updating their existing skills and not learning new skills regularly (16.9%). 30.5% of the region’s professionals claim that a willingness to learn is the most important quality required to succeed in one’s career.  

Reading is also vital, and a good 69.6% of polled professionals state that it is extremely important. 77.8% of polled professionals maintain they read their industry related literature on a regular basis.

5. Work-life balance.

The current workplace trend is to place greater emphasis on a professional’s personal growth and wellness. 88.3% of professionals in the region will consider changing jobs in order to improve their work-life balance and 64.8% of professionals would even accept a pay cut in order to have more free time on their job. Modern technology has enabled more and more jobs to be conducted with more flexibility; today’s new HR policies in top companies increasingly empower and enable a more friendly and malleable workplace.


1. Poor grammar, spelling and representation on your CV.

Sloppy grammar and spelling mistakes on your CV are a big ‘No’. This is the most common mistake found on jobseekers’ CVs according to 21.3% of MENA employers. Other mistakes that will cause a CV to be overlooked include factual misrepresentations and key omissions.

In today’s digital recruitment age, having a keyword-poor CV is also hugely disadvantageous so make sure you have a rich and well-researched online presence that is heavy with keywords specifically targeted at your desired industry and role.

2. Lack of enthusiasm during an interview.

No matter how tired you are or how tough the interview questions are, always show genuine and sincere professional drive and enthusiasm for the role; 28.8% of recruiters in the MENA region chose hunger, drive and ambition as the most important traits while making a hiring decision. Nothing is more flattering to an employer than a professional who has taken the time to thoroughly research the role, company and industry and show genuine interest and preparedness for the role.  Conversely a nonchalant attitude towards a prospective firm or even the profession in general is usually a sure turn-off for the employer.

3. Job-hopping.

Changing jobs very frequently and within short periods raises a prospective employer’s suspicion vis-à-vis a jobseeker’s credibility, stability, maturity and general professional abilities, and rarely does one any favors on their CV. According to a recent Bayt.com poll, 22.2% of professionals in the Arab world say the average period of time they have stayed in a job is less than a year, while for a majority (27.7%) the average time on a job is between two to five years. In the region, fresh-graduates and entry-level professionals are perceived to be easier to retain than the more senior talent pool.

4. Weak personal presentation.

There is a direct correlation between being well-presented and enjoying professional success, as stats from Bayt.com’s 2013 poll on personal appearance and the workplace clearly demonstrate. 76.4% of polled professionals agree that hiring decisions are to some extent influenced by personal grooming and presentation.

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