7 Practical Tips on Job Hunting in the UAE

Are you in the UAE to find a job? If yes, perhaps you’ve already applied through numerous job applications online but still haven’t received any update? While you enjoy your stay in the country, you might feel demotivated and impatient since you still don’t have any job prospects after numerous job interviews. It’s completely normal; job seekers in the UAE also feel the same, it might take a while before you can land a job, but with the right strategies, research, and mindset, you can get one.

Also Read: Applying for Work in the UAE? Here are 5 Useful Tips and Tricks

Getting a job in the UAE, or depending on the city you’re targeting, like Abu Dhabi or Dubai, can be competitive. It will help if you’re applying for an in-demand job or common creative jobs in Dubai. If you’re running out of time since your visa will expire soon and need a job to sustain your stay, here are the real-life practical job-hunting tips you can implement to secure a job offer finally.

1. It will help if you have international work experience or at least any work experience

Here’s the tricky part, if you want to work in Dubai or any emirate in the UAE, companies often look for UAE experience of at least a minimum of 2 years; however, this is a case-to-case basis, depending on your field of work. Sometimes companies don’t consider work experience from your home country since the culture and market in the MENA region can be different from what you already know. 

However, if you can prove your skills and thirst to learn and improve, you can land a job in the UAE. Before you plan to move to the UAE, you already have some UAE work experience, whether a remote internship or volunteer experience that can make your CV or resume stand out. 

2. UAE is all about wasta or connections

Wasta in Arabic means connections; it’s not what you know but who you know; sometimes, it helps if you know someone already in the industry. You might find a job opening in your community or when you’re busy applying in a work-friendly cafe or co-working space. You never know who can help you on your journey to getting a job, so as much as possible, put yourself out there; getting a career in the UAE is all about word of mouth and referrals. If you’re an introvert, then you can utilize LinkedIn.

3. Upskill or get a short course certificate while waiting

There’s no harm in upskilling while you’re waiting to get hired, you can always learn something new and get a gist of the culture in the UAE in the process. It’s one way you can make yourself employable since it shows you’re eager to learn and open to new opportunities. There are plenty of the best Dubai-based training centres you can check out if you’re in the city!

4. Be open to doing an internship

Not everyone will like to be an intern, but a reality check will help expats coming to the UAE to manage their expectations. If you have yet to gain UAE experience, you’ll get an entry-level job despite your work experience from your home country then you can work your way up. In some cases, a person is lucky enough to get a job in a mid-level or managerial position with their skills, depending on their field.

Doing an internship never hurts anyone, especially if you’re waiting for a job; if you can fill your time to learn and gain experience in the industry you want to work for while getting paid, then you’re lucky enough. Look for paid internships in your local area, whether in Abu Dhabi or Dubai. Of course, be cautious and research well before saying yes to being an intern, do the pros and cons, and weigh your options.

5. Build a strong portfolio

If you’re a creative looking for a job, then it’s a must for you to have a portfolio since it can help you showcase your skills. Whether it’s a blog as a hobby or a website compilation of your artwork, it’ll help employers see your potential and if you’re fit for what they are looking for. 

Job hunting can be tedious since you have to constantly update your CV to cater to the companies you’re applying for, not to mention the numerous requirements of job applications. Who got any time to work on their portfolio? Before hopping on a plane to Dubai, make sure you’re ready for battle, build your portfolio, and do your research. You can update your portfolio every once in a while when you’re already in the UAE and add your internship experiences if you have any to make it updated.

6. Switch to the in-demand industry in the UAE

One of the booming industries in the UAE is tech, Bitcoin, or Fintech. Another thing is beauty, health, and AI. If any of these industries are within your interests, then why don’t you switch?

 If your past work experience and hard-earned skills are transferable, you can take the leap. If you’re techy, why don’t you work as a tech writer or web developer in the UAE? If you like beauty, why don’t you try social media marketing roles for beauty industries? Not limiting yourself to a specific role can help you learn more, get more chances of getting hired, and widen your opportunities in the future. 

UAE is technologically advanced, so utilize online job sites

Here are the top job sites in the UAE you can use in your job hunt

  • Gulf Talent
  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor
  • LinkedIn
  • Bayt
  • Dubizzle
  • Naukrigulf
  • Monstergulf


7. Keep in mind the hiring practices in the UAE

One of the standard hiring cultures in the UAE is employers being specific about a nationality for a role; some would prefer native Arabic speakers or can speak other languages. It would help, which is why it can help if you will learn Arabic while you’re busy with the job hunt to increase your chances of getting a job. Of course, be wary of companies that seem too good to be true and always check their legitimacy via Glassdoor and on social media.