How to get a job in the Middle East

Nobody wants to move to the Middle East.  They can’t.  It doesn’t exist. 

Wikipedia tells us the Middle East (a term coined by the Brits, in India, and made popular by the Americans as recently as 1850) includes the following countries: Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, the UAE, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Cyprus.

The list includes: a country which recognises same sex marriages (Israel), a country that does not accept the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Saudi Arabia), a country which occupies position 135 out of 135 in the 2012 Global gender gap report (Yemen) and a country which elected its first female prime minister just three years after she entered politics. I’ll let you Google that one.

The UAE gave birth to the tallest building on the planet whilst Lebanon boasts the fourth highest level of public debt in the world. There are only 15 countries on the planet with a greater GDP than Turkey and none with a GDP smaller than that of Syria.

Seeking a job in the Middle East

A final statistic, how many job seekers include a covering letter with their CV stating they are ‘seeking a job in the Middle East’? Blooming millions! How many of those go straight into the circular file? I could not possibly comment.  Such jobseekers do not want to move to somewhere, but away from somewhere, or something, or somebody. 

The savvy job seeker

The savvy jobseeker demonstrates a clear focus, researches exhaustively the labour market, the schools, accommodation, and transport situation, weighs up the pros and cons, decides on the target jobs and businesses, loads up the rifle with a tailored CV and covering letter and fires it straight into the inbox of the internal or external recruiter. 

The shotgun approach serves only to waste your time and drain your motivation. Your time and motivation are precious commodities to be guarded jealously when in the competitive job market.

So, how to get a job in your chosen country which happens to be in the Middle East? 

1. Step one - admit you are an accountant. You have always been an accountant and no matter how much you would like to be a “seasoned finance, HR, operations and customer service professional” do not put that on your CV.  Have four different CVs if you must, but chase four rabbits and you will catch none

2. Step two - is to open up a leading online generalist job board, stare at it for a while, close it down again and take heart in the fact that there are roughly 14m CVs posted on one of Europe’s largest jobsites alone. That’s 14 million job-competitors you are immediately ahead of.  As a job seeker, job searcher or job hunter, you have to seek, search or hunt, that’s your job

3. Step three - is the big one, get on an aeroplane.  Put yourself physically in the country you have chosen as your next home.  The reasons for this are many and varied.  You may not like the place for a start.  If you do like it, your chances of being called for interview, or just simply called, increase exponentially if you are down the road rather than across the pond

4. Step four - to contact a recruitment agency, who operates in the market you have chosen, and who specialises in what you admitted to in step one.  If you happen to be Energy, Infrastructure or the Built Environment professional, in the UAE, then that’s us by the way. Closed Friday and Saturday (Dubai weekend).

Please download our brief guide on the Middle East. With plenty of years ‘local knowledge’ some of our tips may just come in handy.

You can find out more about our international recruitment services by visiting our dedicated webpage.


This entry was posted on 28th October 2013. It was filed under the International, categories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. What's RSS?.




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