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How to Boost Your Employment Potential

Making yourself more attractive for MENA Employers

Employers in the MENA region have shown that they prefer certain skills over others – the ability to communicate well in both English and Arabic...

May 30, 2013 5:49 by

By Suhail Masri, VP Sales at

In a global economy that has seen better days, it makes good sense to tailor yourself to meet the needs of those industries that are most appealing – and most likely to hire. Whether you’re a fresh graduate or have work experience behind you, boosting your employment potential not only gets you a step higher on the career rung than your peers, but gives you a more rounded skillset. This makes you more appealing to any employer, while displaying a keenness to continue improving yourself.

The top industries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are, according to’s Job Survey Index (January 2013), banking and finance, telecommunications, and construction. The companies that are most likely to hire in the coming months are the large, multinational private sector ones – many of which fall into the above-mentioned categories.

What makes them so popular? We’ve learnt that one of the most important considerations for today’s professionals is the ability to maintain a solid work-life balance. These industries tend to provide more regular working hours than others, which could be why they are considered to be the top three. They’re also seen as attracting and retaining the best talent in the region, which suggests stability and job security. This, on top of offering the best salary packages and non-monetary benefits, leads to a contented workforce – so it’s no wonder, really, that so many people want to work their way into these three dominant industries.

But how can you break in?

Get Qualified

On broad terms, employers in the MENA region are most keen on qualifications in business, commerce, and engineering. If you don’t have a background in one of these already, there are online or local after-hours study courses that you can participate in to receive training and qualification. Choose a course that will offer you a qualification that’s lauded by a recognised body, as this will give your new-learnt knowledge even more clout.

Showing that you’re willing to learn and adapt to improve yourself is always a good sign to a potential employer.

Broaden Your Skillset

They may seem like minor attributes, but those little things you know might just be the difference between interview success and failure. Employers in the MENA region have shown that they prefer certain skills over others – the ability to communicate well in both English and Arabic, for example. Being able to show that you’re a team player, that you’re flexible and are capable of being a leader are all desirable, too.

These skills can all be picked up along the course of your career, but why wait? Enrol today to polish up your language skills. Take the initiative to get out there and demonstrate your ability to be a team leader. Try volunteering to a charitable cause, to head up a project for them; you might get extra interview points for showing that you care about your community and are passionate about helping others.

On top of these, trustworthiness is considered to be one of the most important traits. Start off on the right foot by being truthful. Don’t lie in a job interview, even if you think it will make you look better; an employer will always appreciate honesty and the ability to show how existing qualities and experiences can work in a new position, even if they aren’t directly related. Remember that lies will always be found out.

It’s important to consider the usual job interview rules, too – these are the same no matter what industry you’re looking to be employed by. Arrive with plenty of time to spare, dress appropriately, be polite and ask the right questions.

Whether you’re looking to be hired in the region’s top three industries or in another of your choice, doing your research will help you to get ahead. Find out what skills are in demand (or in excess supply), and tailor your qualifications to fit what’s most desired for the best chances of career success.

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