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Finding A Job In Dubai As An Expat

To find a job in Dubai as an expat, you should update your online presence, craft a CV that follows Dubai expectations, be thoughtful about who you send your CV to, and do a lot more than simply send out your CV.

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Are you an expat in the middle of finding a job in Dubai? Are you wanting to live in Dubai or already live there but aren’t sure how to get hired?

This article by Pacific Prime will give you plenty of tips about how to find a job in Dubai, and all of our tips come directly from expats like you who have already gone through this process. Learn from those who have gone before you, so your efforts are a little easier.

Everyone’s job hunt is individual, and what works for one person may not work for everyone, but in this article, you can learn several tips that can help you get started!

After finishing this article, be sure to check out our posts about what to expect when living in Dubai and our analysis of the cost of living in Dubai.

If you aren’t yet aware of what the healthcare system in Dubai is like or whether or not healthcare in Dubai is of high quality, you’ll want to learn more about these topics before you move.

Please reach out to Pacific Prime if you have any questions about this or other posts you read from our blog. We’re happy to help!

How Expats Can Find a Job in Dubai: Tips from Expats

Marina Walk, Dubai - Popular Spot In Expat Job-Seeking Journey


Expats can find a job in Dubai by following these easy tips that are proven by Dubai expats:

  1. Update Your Online Professional Presence
  2. Craft a CV that Follows Dubai’s Norms
  3. Be Thoughtful About Whom You Send Your CV
  4. Rigorously Do All You Can to Find a Job in Dubai

All of the tips included in this article come directly from Dubai expats who live and work in Dubai. So, let’s discuss each of these tried and true tips in more detail!

Update Your Online Professional Presence

Expats who are applying for a job in Dubai must update their online professional presence on LinkedIn. This is essential whether or not you already live in Dubai, because recruiters will be searching for you online. Expats may also consider making an account on Bayt.

Another popular job search site in Dubai is called Bayt, the leading job site in the Middle East. If expats choose to apply for jobs through this portal, having a comprehensive profile that is up-to-date and professional helps sell your professional life.

Make sure that for your LinkedIn account, you thoroughly update the following sections:

  • Headline
  • About Section
  • LinkedIn Banner
  • Profile Picture
  • Contact Details
  • Experience Section
  • Skills Section

Once your LinkedIn account is complete, you should join all the relevant LinkedIn groups in Dubai in your industry. In these groups, you can not only network, but you can job hunt since recruiters post job vacancies there.

In addition to LinkedIn and Bayt, expats should make sure that if a recruiter were to google their name, old Facebook pictures or other social media accounts aren’t visible. You should make all your social media accounts private unless they are specifically intended to promote your professional career.

Craft a CV that Follows Dubai’s Norms

To craft your CV to the norms in Dubai, expats should give brief descriptions of their education and work experience institutions, mention their nationality with their personal details, and include a professional photo of themselves.


Burj Al Arab In Dubai, UAE - Landmark For Expat Job Seekers

If you’ve worked in the past, it’s likely you already have a CV or resume you’ve used before. Pull this out and update it, but make sure as you do that you tweak it to showcase your value specifically for Dubai jobs in the field(s) you’ve decided you’ll apply for.

Catering your CV to Dubai includes learning what recruiters in Dubai expect from a CV. You’ll want to make sure you include:

  • Your nationality. If you have dual nationality, mention both.
  • A professional photo of yourself. Make sure this is professional. Not a selfie, and not with other people in the picture. Put on a nice outfit, do your hair, and find a neutral background with good lighting. Your picture should only show your head and shoulders. 

Photos may not be common in some countries, but in Dubai, they are often expected.

  • Context for your work experience. Dubai recruiters may not recognize the foreign companies you have worked for, so you may want to give a one-sentence or less description of who they are and their reputation.

Here’s an example of how you might introduce the company you have work experience at as a financial analyst: The Wasserstrom Company, the world’s leading restaurant supplier and distributor (headquartered in the USA). 

  • The context for your education. In a similar vein, Dubai recruiters may not know the educational institutions you have attended, so giving a description to convey how prestigious and/or noteworthy your institution is will be wise.

Here’s an example of how to describe a college you got a nursing degree at: The Ohio State University, one of the USA’s top-rated medical and cancer research universities.

  • Your visa status. This will be helpful if you already live in Dubai because it means recruiters will not have to wait as long for you to complete the visa application process.
  • Your availability. This would be useful to send if you would be able to start immediately or in the very near future.
  • Avoid abbreviations. Remember that if you come from a foreign country, recruiters in Dubai may not know what your acronyms mean. This tip comes from Dubai expats who have succeeded in getting hired.

Make sure to keep your Dubai CV to a 1-2 page maximum. Also, it is not common in Dubai to send attachments of your passport, degree certificate, or other documents, so only send those if specifically requested.

Expats who have succeeded at getting hired in Dubai also recommend that you spellcheck your CV and have multiple proofreaders review it. The more eyes you have run over it with critical attention, the more errors you will catch and the more refined your descriptions will become.

Be Thoughtful About Whom You Send Your CV in Dubai

Expats shouldn’t apply for jobs they don’t qualify for, and they shouldn’t send their CVs to individuals who aren’t responsible for hiring. Be thoughtful about who you send your CV to by researching which jobs fit your individual skill set and by making sure you’re reaching out to a recruiter.

This may sound like common sense, but as you start to feel desperate, it may be tempting to send your CV out to any available position related to your specialty in your industry. This, however, wastes your time, and more often than not, if you’re not qualified for the position, your CV gets thrown away.


Dubai's Burj Khalifa In Daylight - Expat Job Search Backdrop

The same goes for when you send your CV to employees inside a company that isn’t in charge of hiring new employees. They don’t have the power or responsibility to hire you, so your application gets thrown out without a glance.

Rigorously Do All You Can to Find a Job in Dubai

Expats trying to find a job in Dubai should do a lot more than send out their CVs. They should proactively be making calls to the HR recruiters of the companies they’re most interested in, reading ads in the newspapers for vacancies, attending in-person and virtual job fairs in Dubai, and more!

Here are a few more actions you can take that are suggested by Dubai expats who were successfully hired:

  • Read the classifieds sections in the newspapers
  • Contact recruiters on Facebook
  • Follow recruiters on Twitter
  • Create a Cover Letter 
  • Friends and relatives of current employees tend to get hired more, so network and make friends in Dubai in the industry you want to work in!
  • Do not pay for recruitment services or for someone else to find you a job. That is a scam.
  • Considering traveling to Dubai so you can be available to interview in person and meet people in companies you’re interested in
  • Explore Dubai in person so you can show recruiters how invested and sincere you are in moving there (and so you can really decide if you want to live there)
  • Practice interviewing so when you get one, you’re prepared

Before you move, you may want to discover if Dubai is a good place to live or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to find a job in Dubai as an expat?

It can be hard to find a job in Dubai as an expat because the market is quite competitive. It can help to network as rigorously as you can with local recruiters and companies in your industry and revise your CV to meet the expectations in Dubai.

Conclusion: More Resources for Dubai Expats

Following these trips from expats who have gone before you may help you along in your journey of finding a job in Dubai. You may also like to read our articles about Finding a Job in Dubai as an American, Finding a Job in Dubai as a Canadian, and Finding a Job in Dubai as a UK Citizen.

As you continue to prepare to move to Dubai, check out our comprehensive guide about moving to Dubai. You may also want to learn what health insurance expats need in Dubai.

We have a blog post about the best places to live in Dubai that you may find interesting. If you’re not sure about living in Dubai, though, check out the best places to live in the UAE.

If you have any questions about Dubai health or travel insurance, please reach out to Pacific Prime. We are a global broker who has helped over one million clients secure medical coverage abroad. Talking to one of our insurance experts can help you get an idea of how you’ll find your own coverage.

We also offer a free resource you can use to compare health insurance quotes on your own. This insurance quote generator pulls from dozens of insurance policies from a number of insurance providers that cover Dubai. Read or watch this tutorial to learn how to use it.

Happy job hunting!

Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Serena Fung is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, a global insurance brokerage and employee specialist serving over 1.5 million clients in 15 offices across the world. With 2+ years of experience writing about the subject, she aims to demystify the world of insurance for readers with the latest updates, guides and articles on the blog.

Serena earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, Canada. As such, she is an avid advocate of mental health and is fascinated by all things psychology (especially if it’s cognitive psychology!).

Her previous work experience includes teaching toddlers to read, writing for a travel/wellness online magazine, and then a business news blog. These combined experiences give her the skills and insights she needs to explain complex ideas in a succinct way. Being the daughter of an immigrant and a traveler herself, she is passionate about educating expats and digital nomads on travel and international health insurance.
Serena Fung