CV Strategies & Custom Job Hunt Techniques

CV Strategies & Custom Job Hunt Techniques

CV Strategies & Custom Job Hunt Techniques

We’ve been creating content that focuses on issues faced by our audience of international jobseekers – and one of the most frequent comments that our users have made is that they have no clue what happens to most of the job applications they send out in response to apparently matching job vacancies!

Have you often wondered why you are not receiving any interview calls or any response from recruiters – even when you have been blasting your CV out to several job vacancies?

Our team of Job Hunt Managers comes across this problem all the time. Why does this happen? What is it that you are doing wrong and where do your applications disappear? Are they lost in a pile of CVs? Or is your work profile basically defunct in the job market?

We spoke at length to our Job Hunt Managers to try and find the answers. The insights that they gave us from their experience will, we hope, also be valuable to you as a jobseeker.

We thought, the easiest way to help convey these insights to you, would be to explain the methodical and research-oriented way that our Job Hunt Managers go about finding jobs, researching vacancies and customising CVs to help their candidates land the elusive interview.

The process, though it may seem a little lengthy, we assure you, will be worth your while. This is something that our Job Hunt Specialists use, which you can apply to your own CV and see it work wonders.

Starting Way Back – The Background Report

So, what do the Job Hunt Mangers do while trying to match your profile with the available job vacancies? It’s quite simple…they conduct a Background Report, where they first have a deep interaction with you to understand the specific nature of the job you are hoping to land. And, this is not only about specific job titles you may want to apply to, but also the broader industries that you may wish to work in and the scale and size of
the companies that you wish to work at. So when you do a Background Report for yourself, make sure you also include a detailed analysis of your day-to-day functional responsibilities and duties at your current workplace. Moreover, the precise technical or professional knowledge you have also needs to be identified in this report.

Zooming in on your Target Job

And what is the purpose of all this evaluation, you may ask? Well, it helps you identify your own target job requirements and match them to the key skills, qualifications and responsibilities from your career and education history. So here’s the takeaway from this first step: If you’re doing your international job search all on your own, make sure that you do this initial bit to methodically think and identify your specific target job titles, responsibilities and target company details. This put you on a firm footing at the very start.

Researching the Job Market

Now that you are ready with your Background Report, the next step involves some Job Market Research. Sounds intimidating? Well, it’s actually not. What you do here is, you not only look out for vacancies that match your current job title, but also look out for vacancies that match the functional duties and responsibilities that you are currently handling. The objective here is to source live vacancies that match a minimum of 1 element from each part of the basic report that has been drawn out in the first step.

You may not be aware of it, but when our Job Hunt Specialists work on a candidate’s CV, they aim to isolate at least five to six vacancies where the recruiter has elaborated extensively on the role of the candidate they are looking for. The Job Search Team does its research and sends such adverts to the CV Analysts. You too should try to look out for such vacancies and ensure that several jobs from your shortlist should match at least some of the aspects mentioned in the Background Report.

Analyse That

Now that you are through with your research, the next step is to prepare a Job Market Analysis report. Ouch! Well, we’ll just explain it very simply and show you how and why this step is important and what this report does. This report identifies the Skills, Responsibilities, Experiences, Qualifications (let’s refer to them as SREQ for brevity’s sake) that are mentioned in the vacancy advertised.

Now, try to isolate those SREQs from your CV that you have also come across regularly in the Job Market Research step as High Level. Why? For, this means that there is a high demand or an active interest in these skills, which is a positive sign for you. As for your other skills that were mentioned few times (but probably not with too much emphasis or too often) in the adverts you researched, mark them as Normal Level. And finally, if you have certain SREQs that were hardly given a mention in any vacancy you researched, mark those as Low Level. Now, you have analysed which of your skills are in great demand and which are almost inconsequential to the recruiter in your specific area of interest.

This exercise achieves a very important objective. By doing this, it will be clear to you what aspect of your skills or SREQs are saleable in the current job market. This in turn will help you understand what aspects should be highlighted in your CV, thus giving the recruiter what he is looking for easily and in almost a jiffy.

Giving Recruiters What They Want

Remember – the recruiter has to scan thousands of CVs for the same vacancy. So, for instance, if he is looking for Skill A, B and C and if you have a high level of skill C, make sure you emphasise that in your CV. You can even mention this in your summary or highlight parts on your CV that will be seen first when your CV is scanned. So once this in-demand skill is highlighted, the chances of your CV being picked up and looked through in detail are higher. So, even if you are weak in Skill A and B, the recruiter may shortlist your CV over others.

But, if you hadn’t done your Job Market Analysis and highlighted some other skill that the recruiter was not looking for, then the recruiter could easily miss out on the fact that you do have Skill C.

SWOT Analysis

You may have used the SWOT technique earlier to critically evaluate yourself, but when you apply it to your job hunt, you use it to identify opportunities / threats in the job market. For instance, an ‘Opportunity’ may be that you are qualified for a more senior role (that is, more senior than the role you started researching for) or that there is high demand for your skill-set in a location that was not part of your earlier search.

Similarly, a ‘Threat’ may either be that there are no vacancies for your requirement, or that you have unsuitable skills or even that your skills do not match to the skill-set being asked for by the recruiter.

You need to do a SWOT Analysis based on your current CV and the Job Market Analysis conducted earlier. So, all your SREQs which can be mapped into the available jobs would be your potential ‘Strengths’, and the missing ones would be your ‘Weaknesses’. So, to summarise… all you do is map your CV to the analysis of the job market and identify those aspects that count as ‘Strengths’ and ‘Weaknesses’. Then, focus on the ‘Opportunities’, which are holes in the job market where your profile fits in well, and make a note of any threats which you need to be well aware of and avoid those pitfalls.

Creating a CV Strategy Document


Our CV Analysts prepare this document after a telephonic consultation to evaluate the SWOT report. If you are going through the whole process by yourself, this is what you need to do in order to make sure that your CV strategically addresses the current job market in your sector or industry…

  1. From our experience, one of the things you need to check is whether during the SWOT, the ‘Weaknesses’ you identified in your current CV are quite simply omissions from your previous CV. If it is so, then you need to gather this omitted information.
  2. Also, check the SREQs you identified as ‘High Level’ during the Job Market Analysis. Next, list down your major responsibilities and achievements in this ‘High Level’ category in your recent career history. Similarly, for ‘Normal Level’, identify if any roles you played in this category and cite details unique to the job role.
  3. Now, check all those SREQs from your old CV that you could not find a match for at any level. Then, exclude these in the new CV or if you wish to include any, find a plausible reason to do so.

After this, do organise all the information into Key Deliverables & Achievements, Career History and Education History. At this time, you should also review whether your CV needs to be in a Functional CV format or a Chronological layout. For example, if you have gaps in your career history, then a chronological CV format would not be preferred and it would highlight the gaps and make your CV probably look weaker than it actually is in terms of skills.

Mind your Keyphrases

When our CV Analysts reach this stage, they also do some research about the local terms and keyphrases that recruiters in your job’s target location are using. A list is developed of the different regional terminologies used for things like Job Titles or other skills and requirements.

So, depending on the region or country you are targeting, you need to update yourself on the local terminology used there. Ensure that this terminology is included in your CV wisely for naming job titles, skills and responsibilities. You can identify this from the Job Market Research process that you have already conducted earlier. Also ensure that you use business English and power words to communicate specific and quantifiable achievements.

Making your CV Searchable

Most importantly, do keep in mind that recruiters are increasingly using technology to screen and shortlist candidates for any job. So, depending on how searchable your CV is, your chances of your CV being short listed can alter significantly. For instance, when you put up your profile on a database of CVs, the recruiters would use a search
function that is similar to a search engine like Google to track relevant CVs that fit the bill. So, they may search for certain key terms… for e.g., if you are an Ecommerce Specialist, they may use the term, ‘Online Shopping Specialist’ for the same. Now, since you have used the term ‘Ecommerce Specialist’ your CV may not show up in the results of the database search. Hence, it’s important to use appropriate synonyms that are used in your industry and include them so that chances of your CV showing up in the search results are higher. Also, you need to ensure that the layout, format and your career synopsis are also in sync with the country you are looking to work in.

Do try out these strategies and techniques and if you really do not have the time or the inclination, there’s always the option of having our Job Hunt Managers carry out the process for you… Remember, we are just a click away.

After a period of sluggishness, the job market in Dubai is looking up again. The first to benefit from this will be people who had stayed put at their – often unsatisfactory – jobs out of fear of the ‘Last in, First out’ risk of starting a new job during a recession. But things have changed and today, as a top recruitment industry expert puts it, several candidates whose careers had stagnated are looking for opportunities to move out of their current positions. Obviously, this translates into pressure for employers, 85% of whom are now worried about losing their ‘A’ teams.

If you are among those looking for growth or a better package, or simply, an exciting new job in a sector of your choice, then this is the right time for you too.

In a recent survey, a prominent UAE job portal found that as many as 66% of companies in the UAE are looking to hire within the next year. On an average day, this website lists 11,000 new jobs – a big jump from last year’s figures.

Confirming the trend, last September, the Monster job portal saw its ‘Employment Index Middle East’ jump by 10% year-on-year. However, before you rush to revamp your resume, take a moment and heed these words of advice:

  • Do your research: Study prospective employers and be sure of their prospects before you agree to a position with any company.
  • Work with the best: Select a recruitment agency/ firm and see whether they have the right knowledge about your sector to do the best for you.
Sectors set to grow

With 80% of all UAE companies looking to hire* within the next six months, it is worthwhile to figure out your options – and prospects – in various industries.

To start with, those in banking and finance are likely to benefit the most. As many as 85% of companies will look to recruit finance professionals, either to expand their teams or just to maintain status quo by replacing employees who have been lured away by greener prospects. Only 5% companies will actually cut down on their headcounts, even as opportunities abound in both, Dubai as well as Abu Dubai.

By announcing a slew of large-scale development projects, the UAE government is doing its bit to fuel this trend. This has encouraged private companies to follow suit. Because of this, oil, gas and petrochemicals will start looking up, further spurring growth in related sectors such as banking, construction, real estate and logistics. Spill-over effects will, of course, also be seen in the FMCG and retail segments.

These trends will be reflected in recruitment figures: 34% of top hires will head out to jobs in banking & finance, 32% will find themselves working in oil, gas and petrochemicals, while 27% will be picked up by telecommunications companies.

But, even as employees rejoice, recruiters are having sleepless nights trying to locate the right talent to fill various job roles. 87% of recruiters are finding it difficult to fill jobs, especially roles in financial or management accounting. With demand being so high, there is an additional fear of losing existing talent to competition, which explains the hefty pay hikes being seen in this vertical.

Several companies are actively courting expats to fill important positions, bringing in attractive packages/ benefits to do so.

Employees and companies alike are confident about the future, with 81% employees expressing positivity regarding the country’s growth prospects and 92% regarding their own company’s future.

Smart tips to a better salary/ package

In further good news, pay hikes will be back and most employees can expect to receive a decent 5% above-inflation increment over their current salary. Since pay is influenced by consumer price inflation, this hike indicates a real, as opposed to merely notional, growth in pay.

A recent online poll revealed that 90% of people working in the UAE believe they are underpaid. For these employees, even the increments they are set to receive this year may be of little consolation; many of them are actually finding it hard to meet the escalating cost of living in this region. Salaries had stagnated over the past two years and employees are now bearing the effects of this stagnation. The way out, of course, is to ask for what you feel you truly deserve. But there is a method to doing this right:

  • Know your worth: Just as you research prospective employers and compare them with their peers, now do the same for yourself. Compare your pay with what your peers in different companies are being paid, for the same type of work. To do this, you can use online job portals to research how much is being offered to people with your experience, in your sector. Or just pick up the phone and call a friend who might be willing to share his/ her salary details over a friendly chat.
  • Narrow down your range: Based on your research, come up with a realistic figure/ range that you think you should be paid. At this stage, also consider any other benefits that you might be receiving, which others in the industry may not have. For instance, you could have flexi-timings, additional leave options, company-sponsored health insurance, etc. Remember, not all remuneration is monetary, so focus on the entire package and not just the money you get.
  • Gear up: Put together your key findings for ready reference. Have the facts and data handy. During the discussion with your boss/ prospective employer, you will have to focus on the quality of your work, the depth of your experience, and your significant achievements. “Maintain records of your achievements, hitting of targets and endorsements for out-of-the-box things you have done that has contributed to the bottom line, improvement of work environment, or new ideas you came up with that helped the business,” advises Hasnain Qazi, Middle East Business Manager at Huxley Associates.
  • Be realistic: Recognize that you won’t suddenly receive a 40% hike, even if you managed to present a strong case for it. Salary hikes top off at 18-20% so if you get close to that, you’ve done well.
  • Learn to say ‘no’: If you think the amount being offered is simply not justified, then do not let yourself be swayed into saying yes. The salary that you get upon taking up a new job will be your baseline for all future increments. So it is important to start with the correct baseline.
  • Keep your mind open: If your company is unable to meet your monetary expectations, perhaps they would be willing to negotiate on the benefits? See whether you can improve your overall package, even if you do not receive a fantastic monetary hike.
Peak performance comes with perks!

Across the UAE, employees are seeking certain perks to enhance their quality of life. Most people try to maintain a good work-life balance, with flexi-time jobs finding more takers than the traditional 9-to-5 workplace. Government departments and companies like Microsoft and IBM excel at doing this, by offering work-from-home and other family-friendly options.

A recent ‘employee motivation’ survey said that 75% professionals really value work-life balance and find it motivating to work for a company that offers these options.

Expats working in the UAE, meanwhile, look to their employers to provide medical insurance, a special housing allowance/ company-provided accommodation, school fees for their kids, home-and-back air tickets for self and family, as well as a sizable annual bonus on their salary.

For most expats, the no-tax system is a key factor that propels them to pick the UAE over other destinations, shares Konstantina Sakellariou, Partner, Marketing and Operations Director, Stanton Chase International. Being valued at their workplace, training and development opportunities are additional considerations.

The top factors that come into play are:

  • Work-life balance
  • Training / development opportunities (54%)
  • Feeling that their work has an impact (44%)
  • Recognition of work and achievements
  • Opportunity for career advancement (41%)

So there, just go out and grab what you deserve. 2013 is the year for you!

*Source: Executive search firm, Robert Half international


  1. Lorenzo Ronabio May 24, 2013 at 4:16 am

    nice info . more power

  2. sajir moidu May 25, 2013 at 6:16 am

    Very use full and thanks for information of my weakness

  3. mushaf May 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    it realy fantastic ideas helping find a right jobs keep up ………well done

  4. Hafiz Waheed June 5, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Briefly mention all the aspect . Very informative. Well done.

  5. Modupe Moronkola June 27, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    What a wonderful package of information,this is an eye opener,welldone

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