Did you know: Around 40,000 Americans are living and working in Dubai today. So it’s no surprise if you want to join the masses and find work in Dubai. However, many people don’t know where to begin.
To help you, I’m going to give you an ultimate guide on how to get a job in Dubai from USA. I’m going to go over the important factors to consider so that you can land your dream job in your dream city.
How to Get a Job in Dubai From USA – The 12 Steps to Your Dubai Job Search
How to get a job in Dubai from USA? Well, if you want to find a job in Dubai in effectively and efficiently, follow these 12 steps:
- Research the Dubai job market
- Create an online presence
- Find top Dubai recruiters
- Network, network, network
- Use job search sites in Dubai
- Don’t apply for every job you find
- Apply at the right time
- Customize your resume and cover letter
- Get a local Dubai number
- Prepare for your interview
- Get a work visa
- Prepare other paperwork
Read More: Is It Easy to Find a Job in UAE?
Step 1: Research the Dubai job market
Before anything else, you need to do your research. Check the in-demand industries, market trends, companies, salary expectations, working environment, and all that. This will help you make better decisions when you apply for jobs in Dubai.
To give you a little boost, here are the top in-demand industries in Dubai in 2023:
- Hotel and Catering
- Real Estate
If you have the skills and expertise for any of these roles, then you’ll have a lot of job opportunities to choose from. Hint: Most Americans in Dubai are in the IT and digital, hotel and catering, medicine, and education sectors.
Of course, I’m not saying that you can’t live in Dubai if these industries are not under your belt. The great news is that Dubai is a booming city, so you’re sure to find lots of other job opportunities in all sectors. You just need to do your research.
Step 2: Create an online presence
Here’s an important fact you should know: Dubai companies tend to send out headhunters to find workers. Since that’s the case, you need to be “seen” by these recruiters. But since you’re thousands of miles away, how do you let recruiters know you exist?
The answer is simple. You make them find you online. These headhunters usually scan through LinkedIn profiles. So it’s a good idea to create a professional profile there. But don’t just make a profile. You should also use it to boast your skills and work experience, as well as to network.
Step 3: Find Top Dubai Recruiters
Besides LinkedIn, the company job headhunters look for candidates through recruitment agencies. If you’re part of a recruiter agency, your chances of getting found by a headhunter are very likely.
More than that, these agencies in Dubai have LOTS of networks and will help you connect with the right ones. Plus, the recruiters help you navigate the Dubai job market. As a foreigner, these are crucial for your Dubai job search.
Since this is the job culture in Dubai, there will be no end of recruitment agencies to join. However, I have to warn you to watch out for scams. When looking for a Dubai recruiter agency, keep these things in mind:
- Real recruitment agencies don’t ask you to pay a commission. These agencies are usually paid by the Dubai companies instead of the job seeker.
- Only go for reputable agencies. Again, this is to avoid scam agencies. Here are a few well-known Dubai recruitment agencies – Guildhall Agency, Adecco, and BAC.
- Partner with an agency that matches your industry. If you’re in the hospitality industry, then you won’t find a job in, say, an IT recruitment agency (unless you get extremely lucky). This is because, well, the headhunters are looking for people who can provide IT services instead of hospitality.
- Build a strong relationship with your agency. These agencies don’t just help you find work, they also help you get promotions in the future.
- Meet or talk with them. When you pick out an agency, you must meet with them face-to-face or at least give them a call. Again, this is to avoid scams, but also to get a better picture of what you’re looking for and what they provide.
Read More: Can I Get a Job in Dubai Without a Degree?
Step 4: Network, network network!
In Dubai, sometimes connections are more valuable than credentials. This is because the country is known for hiring internally. What I mean is that recruiters and hiring managers prefer employee-referenced candidates.
If you get referred, your chances of getting hired skyrocket to the top. This is why it’s important to use your LinkedIn profile or any social media platform to network with workers in Dubai. Make friends with them and provide professional advice. If you do that, these Dubai workers will be willing to refer you to a job opening.
Step 5: Use Job Search Sites in Dubai
You might be wondering, “I’m from the USA, is it difficult to find a job in Dubai?” It isn’t if you take advantage of job sites. These job portals will have lists and lists of available work. This way, you can find the perfect role from the comfort of your home.
Here is a list of the top job websites in Dubai:
Step 6: Don’t apply for every job you find
With job search sites, you can find LOTS of job vacancies within a minute. It can be very tempting to apply for every job you see. I mean, the more you apply, the better your chances of getting hired, right? Wrong.
Joel Mason, a Recruitment Director, says:
“You are not a good fit for every role out there. Even if you’re a salesperson, you won’t be a great fit for every sales job in Dubai. Dubai recruiters have very specific requirements for the roles they fill. Companies in Dubai like to hire people who have the exact skillset and experience that they need. So don’t bother applying for roles that you are not a great match for, you’ll be wasting your time.”
Following Mason’s advice, only apply to jobs that match your skillset and work experience. Side note: Make sure you check the language requirements, too. With this, you won’t waste your time and you’ll have a higher chance of securing a Dubai job.
Step 7: Apply at the right time
The Dubai job market experiences some of the highest and lowest hiring periods in a year. When you’re looking for a job there, you need to know when the job market is most active and when it is almost dead. Trust me, this will help quicken your job search.
The best time to apply for a job in Dubai is in January and February. This is when companies set new hiring budgets and open new job slots. March to May and September to November are also good times to apply.
The worst time to apply for a job in Dubai is in June, July August. As the summer heat increases, people avoid going out. In turn, the hiring activity is very slow (even sometimes completely dead). December isn’t the worst, but it’s not a wise time to apply as that’s the end of the fiscal year.
You also need to consider the holy month of Ramadan. As you might expect, it isn’t ideal to send your application during this celebration month. However, Ramadan dates change every year, so research where it falls for the specific year.
Another question you might ask is, ‘How long does it take to get a job in Dubai?” On average, it takes around 3 to 6 months.
Step 8: Customize your resume and cover letter
Recruiters spend a total of 6-8 seconds looking at your resume and cover letter. If you have a very general and vague CV, they’ll throw your resume (and your chances at the job) away.
“I’d rather see applicants present themselves in a more unique way, supported with facts such as targets realized, projects worked on, among others,” – Annalinde Nickisch, Chief People Officer at Probiotec Limited
In a study by Zippia, an online recruitment service, it was found that 68% of job seekers with a customized resume and cover letter found new roles in under 90 days. That’s a lot! To help you customize your resume and cover letter for companies in Dubai, here are some tips to follow:
- Read the job description. Make sure you let the recruiter know you carefully read it so that they will know that you’re really interested in the position.
- Highlight your achievements. A lot of people make the mistake of focusing on what they did in the past. Don’t do that. Instead, highlight your successes to let the company see how valuable you can be for them. Incorporate the “I achieved this” instead of the “I did so and so”.
- Boast your skillset and qualifications. Your resume and cover letter are the time to boast. Let them know what you can do and why you are the best for the job. This means that you need to have the right qualifications for the offer.
- Experience is important. Dubai recruiters look more into job seekers’ experience rather than their degrees. So make this a predominant focus on your resume and cover letter.
- Match your resume header to what’s common in Dubai. Here is what’s expected in your resume header – name, nationality, birthdate, visa status, marital status, availability, and photo.
Step 9: Get a local Dubai number
Say you’re already in Dubai looking for a job. This actually makes getting a job easier. If this is your case, then a bit of good advice is to get a local Dubai number.
Here’s what Joel Mason has to say about this, “As soon as I got a local Dubai number I began to receive calls from recruiters. I learned later that recruiters in Dubai prefer candidates who are already on the ground. If a company can recruit a candidate who’s already in the country, it saves them paying for relocation costs.”So pay for the local number and add it to your online profiles and applications.
Step 10: Prepare for your interview
So you’re shortlisted to take the first interview. HURRAY! Now, it’s very common to feel anxious before an interview. And when you’re nervous, you might not be able to impress as much as you like. Even if you are confident, it’s still a good idea to prepare.
To do this, you can read the job description again, research the company, prepare your questions, come up with answers to common interview questions, practice speech in front of a mirror, etc… By the time your interview day arrives, you’ll be ready for it.
Read More: How to Impress an Interviewer in 30 Seconds.
Step 11: Get a work visa
“Is getting a job in Dubai easy for foreigners when it comes to work visas?” Here’s what you should know: If you’re employed by a Dubai company, it’s very easy to get a work visa.
This is because the company will be responsible for your work visa. The company may even sponsor your travel. All you need to do is submit your passport number and other required documents.
If you prefer to go to Dubai and search for a job while there, then you should start off with a tourist visa. When you find employment, make sure to switch it to a work visa.
IMPORTANT! USA tourist visas in Dubai only last for 30 days (with a chance to extend it to 60). Make sure you switch to an employment visa before that time or go back home as you can be deported or jailed.
Step 12: Prepare your other paperwork
Besides a work visa, there are 3 other mandatory paperwork you should have. These are:
- Health card. the UAE doesn’t allow foreign carriers of HIV, Hepatitis C, and tuberculosis to live in the Emirates. To get a health card, you need to submit passport copies, a photo, medical reports, your job offer letter, your visa application, payment, and other requirements to the Dubai Health Authority.
- UAE labor card. To be able to work in Dubai, you need to apply for a UAE labor card issued by the relevant free zone you work in or the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE).
- Residence visa. If you want to live in Dubai long-term, then you’ll need a residence visa. Now, there are many different types of residence visas you can get (employment, property-owning, entrepreneur, etc…), so make sure to find the one that suits your purpose of living in Dubai.
If you want to conquer the Dubai job market now, then follow my ultimate guide on how to get a job in Dubai from USA. If you do, your chances of finding a job will be very likely. It will also help quicken the process. Good luck!