21 August 2007

Getting a job in Bahrain

I've been faced with a lot of people who talk about how hard it is to get a job in Bahrain. Well, not actually GET a job; just getting a good one (there are a lot of crappy jobs out there).

The job process here takes a lot of damn patience, a lot of wasted time and effort, and gives a lot of disappointment, but if you put in the effort, hopefully you will be able to get something reasonable out of it.

First thing you need to work on is your CV. I don't want to go through all the details of how to write your resume, because that's just going to take a long time; but what i'll do is post some of the bigger mistakes i've seen in CV's that people have made:

- DON'T make your resume over two pages; seriously, unless you have 3 PHD's, tons of working experience, multiple awards, etc, no Human Resources manager is going to even bother looking at anything more than a page or two! If you're a recent graduate with one or two jobs of experience, one page is enough. Think of it this way; these guys recieve hundreds of CV's every week, they're not going to take the time to sort out through every single page you have. And if it's too long, they just might throw it in the trash.

- Please, frickin please, check for spelling mistakes! You will not believe the amount of CV's that get sent to HR with "Graduated from Univrsty of Bahrain" and so on. HR people just love to spot mistakes, laugh at them, and throw them out (if they can't do their CV right, you think they're gonna do their job right?). Just please, double check your CV with a dictionary. And a spell check. Oh, and a grammar check would be good too.

- Try to condense things in your CV into main points, instead of sentences. Don't write; I graduated last year in August 2006 from the University of Bahrain, with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing & Management, and a GPA of 3.2. First, it takes too much space, second, the hiring managers don't have time to go through every single sentence you write. Instead you can put:
Univ. of Bahrain, Aug 2002; Bs Marketing & Management (GPA 3.2)
It still passes on the same information, without taking up as much space.

- Please try to make it look neat and tidy! I've seen so many unorganized CV's floating around, where you can't tell what job they had, where, and so on.

Ok, so now you have your CV sorted out, it's time to apply. You need to apply EVERYWHERE. It doesn't matter if you have a specific place in your mind that you want to work at; you're probably not going to get that job, and you need to keep your options open, anyway. Print millions and millions of copies of your CV, fold them up and put them in envelopes, and run around from place to place applying everywhere you can think of, from the banks, to the universities, insurance companies, and so on. When that's done, try applying through email, and through the post. You need to totally penetrate the system; the problem in Bahrain is there's no set standard; some companies aren't advanced enough to look at email job applications, while others will think of paper CV's given in as backwarded and won't consider them, so you need to do it both ways.

If you have specific places you want to apply to, call up, get the name of the HR managers name, and write that name on the envelope you give your CV in with (or in the subject section of your email). This way, it goes directly to the person you want it going to, rather than be forgotten somewhere in the HR department.

Follow up a week later or so, give them a call, speak to HR; tell them you've sent in your CV and if anything has happened - this way, just incase someone has actually missed your CV, you'll either get them to find it and actually look at it, or perhaps they'll ask you to send it directly to them. Either way, it focuses a bit of light on your CV. And trust me, with the amount of CV's being given in every day, you're going to need it!

There are a lot more tips I can give, but again, I can go on with this topic for ages and ages. I hope the above tips help a little! Good luck on getting that dream job! (By the way, i'm not an HR person; I used to manage a branch and people used to come in and give me CV's all the time, so I would have a little laugh sometimes. Mean, I know.)


Sunshine said...

great post! that'll helpl alot..
im crossing my fingers and hoping that would help find me a job in my next holiday

moodz said...

Spot on Ammar! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

i no longer swallow the usual whining of "ive been jobbless for 5 years now" that i get at work


One in a Million said...

Those pointers are all great when it comes to hunting for a good job here in Bahrain.

There are quite a few jobs available in the job market but the salary is relatively low.

I don't know how do employers expect BSc holders to work for as low as 400-500 bd per month.

Thanks for the advice ammar.
hmm.. ever thought of switching to HR? :P

Mahmood Al-Yousif said...

I've been advertising for four positions in my company; I've received more than 100 CVs from outside (I'm not kidding) and only 3 from Bahrain, one I interviewed and offered a job on the spot, but a Ministry got him first, the other two submitted CVs not worthy of any attention and one email that said "I'm Bahraini and good you have to hire me"! sort of thing that needless to say I dumped.

I'm still looking, particularly for a Business Development Manager which does involve selling on performance and basic, the monthly basic is over BD500 and a healthy the commission which could triple that salary.

Anyone interested?

Your points about CVs are very true, I could show you some really funny things I've received over the years. Sad, but true.

Ammar456 said...

OneinaMill; well, unfortunately, that's the truth of salaries here in Bahrain! A freshly graduated bachelors degree holder should expect to recieve around 350 or so working a ministry job, and 400-500 in a private sector position, on average. Sure, there are a few jobs that pay more, but again, there are also jobs that pay less! Sucks.

Mahmood; where are you advertising your position exactly? If you pass me the details, I just might find you a few good prospects.

moon-light7 said...

Thanks Ammar, very helpful :)

Shionge said...

Hey Ammar...I want to thank you for visiting my blog today truly appreciate it and hope you'll visit again.

About CV & job application, nowadays alot of company are getting the agency to do recruitment and the name might sounds fantastic the professionalism is really a big question mark.

Yes, CV is sorted out and the interviews next....first impression still counts.

Mahmood Al-Yousif said...

on trade websites primarily and my company's. I'll email you the details and would welcome receiving your recommendations.

Mahmood Al-Yousif said...

Here's a link to the full job description that I have just published on my company's website.

Ammar if you find this inappropriate please remove these comments from your site with my blessing.

Thank you.

Seroo said...

I feel like I wrote this myself - I gave all this exact advice only last week, after scribbling all over someone's CV (at least I used a blue pen!).

Ammar456 said...

Shionge; true, there seems to be quite a lack of professionalism in quite a number of these recruitment companies, which I have unfortunately faced myself. *sigh. Well, lets hope for the best.

Mahmood; I don't mind as long as I get a commission for every recieved applicant from my side. Details will be discussed for lunch tommorow; you're paying.

Seroo; where do you work?

Seroo said...

Not in an HR department, thank God for that.

Yacoub said...

I think personalising your CVs to the companies that you are applying to is a good strategy because it shows that you've put some effort into it and genuinely would like to join the company and help its growth.

I don't like the machine gun strategy that is throw your CV everywhere and hope that somebody calls, you need a strong CV that suits the job they're looking for.The calculating jobhunter would usually get the juicier prey

Thanks for the post my friend

Ammar456 said...

sure, its better to personalize your CV and cover letter, but the chances of getting a job trying to focus on a few specific companies in Bahrain is actually pretty slim. Sure, personalize them for those few companies, but also drop your CV everywhere else. Getting a good job here is ridiculously difficult.