Four tried-and-tested tips to land a job in Dubai

Published: July 28, 2015

Create ‘Job Wanted’ ads on job sites like and share the same on LinkedIn. PHOTO: REUTERS

Most of us, if not all, go to the UAE on a visit visa in order to search for a job. And the majority of us have no guarantee of finding a satisfying job. It takes time to research and locate your ideal job post in UAE. If you are unemployed, make this task your full-time job; if you’re employed, set aside some time every day after work for your job search, after all, we’re all looking for the next best opportunity.

Speaking from experience, here are a few suggestions and tips I would like to share with you for a successful job hunting experience that helped me land a job in Dubai.

1. Know your market

UAE has a highly competitive job market, where the number of expatriates reached up to 83.5%. Due to the Emiratisation policy, first preference is given to local candidates followed by western and Arab citizens and lastly, western-educated candidates.

Asians are high in supply and low in demand, thus receiving comparatively lesser salaries. Therefore, it is strongly suggested to develop a competitive advantage, create strong linkages, and take calculated risks and informed decisions on the basis of market realities in order to qualify for any well-paid job in the UAE.

It is strongly recommended that one should secure employment before travelling to the UAE. Speculative visits are occasionally successful and rarely lead to an offer of employment unless you are extremely lucky or have good networks and contacts in preferred sector.

Therefore, it is highly suggested you start your job search from your own country, that too, at least one to three months before your planned visit. Most of the jobs, especially white collar jobs in the UAE, advertise at least 20 to 30 days before starting their screening, shortlisting, and interviewing process.

This way, you will be able to gauge your market potential. If you receive any kind of positive response, then it is suggested you move ahead otherwise do not take any risks. If you start applying after entering the UAE, you will be wasting at least 20 to 30 days out of your 30 to 90-days visit visa.

Narrow down your search with reference to sectors and potential positions that you want to apply for, which means look for those opportunities that match your core competencies, career goals, personal priorities, and experience to secure your targeted job within limited time and resources.

Research job opportunities and potential employers and create forward linkages besides continuously updating your knowledge, skills, and expertise. According to my observation and findings, it is highly likely to find a job in the education, healthcare, tourism, hospitality, logistics, export, construction, and retail sectors as these sectors are booming in the UAE.

While production, manufacturing and automotive sectors are showing sluggish sentiments, petroleum and petrochemicals, fishing, aluminium, cement, fertilisers, banking, commercial ship repair, construction materials, boat building, handicrafts and textiles are the major industries in the UAE. Therefore, pertinent professionals are suggested to take informed decisions accordingly.

2. How to apply

Prepare multiple impressive résumés and cover letters. Chronological, functional and combined résumé formats are acceptable in the UAE. It is suggested that you state your name, contact number, email and postal address (in case of being in the UAE) along with your passport-sized picture at the top of your résumé. Your personal information, for instance, nationality, date of birth, passport number, visa status and if you own a driving license, should be included at the bottom of your résumé.

While applying from your home country, mention your UAE-based friend’s or relative’s contact numbers with their due consent so that the employer can contact you via this number. When you reach the UAE, buy your own SIM and update your contact information accordingly.

Make sure the recruitment agency and HR personnel you’re dealing with are legitimate and not demanding any kind of fee for giving you a job. Many of these hiring companies and HR personnel are a scam, promising to submit your résumé to prospective employers or give you a job, thus fleecing the job hunter. They are well aware that visitors will leave the country within a short span of time and will not be able to claim a refund or report any malpractice. Therefore, please be cautious.

Before applying for a visa, confirm whether it is extendable or not. Since January 1, 2015, the UAE government has scraped the visit visa extension policy. One can get a non-expendable visit visa for one month to three months at the cost of AED800 and AED2,100 respectively.

3. What you need to apply

Initially, it is very difficult to land a job in the UAE. Therefore, it is suggested not to expect high salaries. If one receives an offer which matches up to their current salary along with accommodation and transportation, then he/she should accept the offer as it is easy to jump from one opportunity to another after getting experience in the local market, especially for well-qualified and competent individuals who have a better chance. There is no ban for skipping from job to job before the end of a contract according to the Free Zones or government organisations in the UAE.

If you are visiting the UAE on a visit visa, it is suggested one keeps around AED2,000 with themselves to show the airport authorities that you have enough money to finance your visit. A lot of people have said they were not allowed to depart from Pakistan if they had less than the mentioned amount, though the authorities do not ask for financial proof all the time. At least I myself have not been asked by authorities at the airport, the only question I was asked by the immigration officers was why I was visiting the country.

My suggestion is to dress smartly, keep the specified amount with yourself and definitely not mention the fact you are going to look for a job. Instead, tell them you are visiting for recreational purposes.

According to the latest survey by Jobs Portal and, 41.5% of responding companies in the Middle East and North African region always research new hires online before hiring. In some of the online job application forms, a considerable number of organisations seek web addresses of your social networks and LinkedIn profile to assess your candidacy with reference to the given job and their corporate culture. Therefore, increase your online visibility, manage your online reputation and try to build your unique online brand and put forth a positive image.

Read up on the living and working conditions in Dubai and make arrangements accordingly. On an average, it costs approximately AED500 to 800 for housing, AED300 to 600 for food and AED400 to 700 for transportation and communication for one month. Due to such steep costs, it’s important to learn about benefits offered by employers, whether accommodation, transportation, and return tickets are included in the package. These things can eat up a large part of your salary if you have to pay for them yourself.

In today’s job market, one’s references and network determines your net worth, as you can tap into the ‘hidden’ job market by maximising your existing network along with developing a list of contacts through friends, family, former co-workers and your social institutions or alumni.

4. Social media should be your new best friend

Create a profile on LinkedIn and update its status regularly. Create ‘Job Wanted’ ads on job sites like and share the same on LinkedIn and other social media forums and professional circles. Reach out to the people in your network and speak to them, ask them for advice, helpful information regarding jobs, and job leads. Prepare your own pitch by describing who you are, your background, and what you are specifically looking for from the person you are contacting.

The most effective and recommended tools for job hunting in the UAE are network and references, followed by online job sites like,,,,,,,Gulf News ClassifiedsKhaleej Times, and LinkedIn besides official websites of potential companies in the UAE.

One can also apply by visiting offices of all the potential employers and companies. Jebel Ali Free Zone, Sharjah industrial area, Dubai Financial Centre, Dubai Textile City, Education City etc. are suggested for dropping your resume by hand for low cadre positions only.

The most time-tested and effective technique for job hunting in the UAE is to apply for matching positions through online job portals, Google search and company websites and then follow-up through phone calls. One call after submitting the application is enough in order to let the hiring manager know that you have applied for the given position and to tell him/her that you are perfectly competent and eligible for the position. If they don’t give you a chance to discuss this at that point in time, then wait for the closing date of the job advertisement and follow-up just after the closing date and request them to give you the chance on the basis of your competence.

Through this, you will maximise your opportunity to appear for an interview. Therefore, the most important point is to be prepared and stay updated on your core competencies and skills in order to pass the test or interview.

Always keep a record of all the jobs you have applied for, including Terms of References of vacancies where you have the most chances of being shortlisted for your easy reference, tracking progress, and further follow-up.

Keep up to date with the news in your chosen industry, keep reviewing and fine-tuning your resume and keep on trying without losing heart. Eventually, opportunities come to those who dare to take risks and constantly prepare to avail them when they arise.

Hope these tips help and good luck to all the job hunters out there!

Fida Karim

Fida Karim

He is a freelance Research Economist cum Project Control Specialist having special interest in youth-centric socio-economic issues, international development and political economy. He tweets as @FidaKarimHunzai (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Jibreel GameZalot

    I have lived my entire life in the UAE, and I can tell you with full confidence the figures you have mentioned have been understated by ATLEAST a factor of TWO.
    Especially the monthly RENT. Its all TWICE as expensive.

    As for the sectors hiring, you got most of those wrong as well.

    ET, please don’t spread wrong information like this.Recommend

  • Gullu Guddu and Gomnath

    Doubt it very much that YOU live in UAE. Or even set foot there.
    The author wrote an excellent blog. Very informative.Recommend

  • abc

    Its wrong to say Asians are least preferred. It all depends on the company culture, job position and competence.
    In the private sector, locals are perhaps the least they are expensive and not hard working.
    The article is just too vague !Recommend

  • $heikh

    Jibreel is absolutely right.
    500 – 800 is not even correct for Ajman let alone Dubai.
    i think the author spent his nights in a camel shed.

  • forced2

    The “camel shed” may become very entertaining for a romp in the hay !Recommend

  • Ravi Yadav

    Thank you Jibreel for sharing the real facts.
    As you mentioned that you have been living whole of your life in Dubai, i am sure must be having proper information about the Country.
    Author mentioned that Asian people (I am Indian) have less chances to land a Job in Dubai market, Is it true?
    And you also said, author has got all the wrong sectors, would you mind sharing the correct ones so it can benefit aspirants like me please?Recommend

  • Ravi Yadav

    Thank you ABC for the hope.
    I heard a lot about ABC consultants helping people to land a right job in Dubai and other countries.
    I have shared my CV on your website, please look into it if there is any opening in marketing & Sales.
    Thank you in advance.Recommend

  • Deepak

    job market has only grown in UAE. Currently Abu Dhabi is leading the recruitment as more Government and Private projects are coming up. There is no ‘right’ time to visit UAE on visit visa for a job. However, starting end of August is a good time to visit.Recommend

  • Jibreel GameZalot

    My birth certificate is in Arabic, as is my last educational qualification. I have seen Dubai turn from a backwater town in the 90’s to an extravagant oil sheikhdom spectacularly crashing in 2009 and getting back on its feet within a couple of years. Should have gotten that from my name sir, Jibreel is Arabic :)Recommend

  • Gendavali Mahato

    All the 4 heading are looking really tried-and-tested. After read complete content i am feeling very happy and would like to say thank you very much for the post.


    TurkeyTalent, Inc.Recommend

  • khanji

    Useless country. I held a US passport, masters degree from the US and 20 years of experience. I applied to almost 200 companies and did not get one call. I am in IT management. I stayed for a whole year, wasted about 100,000 USD and came back to states never to return. The rulers are racist and useless without vision. Mostly concerned about outwardly fake beauty and not much concern for real education or R&D. Government actually cheats you by controlling rents to protect locals, issue traffic tickets without any proof, overcharging and imposing stupid fees to do anything. Locals are useless arrogant lazy people who do not want to work. I am glad I am out of there. Recommend

  • Thasleem Tp

    What are the new opening in it jobs in dubaiRecommend

  • intimatematrimony kerala

    Which are the new opening in dubai.Recommend

  • Binay Adhikari

    Thank you so much for this informative article. I recommend everyone to go through this at least once. Also have a look at why manpower agencies turn into companiesRecommend

  • Kim Jason

    Great. You can get the desired job in Dubai with these 6 best tips:

  • haider

    Thanks for sharing such a valuable information. (Y) I really like it, I add a point in it that Lots of people from pakistan are moving to dubai for job opportunities because they don’t get govt jobs in pakistanhowever Pakistan are providing lots of job opportunities for pakistani individuals, I have a question why they move to dubai?Recommend