- In a competitive market like the UAE, how do you discover jobs in Fortune 500 companies?
- CA Swati Bagri got into Amazon Dubai by luck but transitioning into FMCG was a struggle.
- After a 3-month struggle here is how Swati discovered an opportunity with Kraft Heinz Dubai.
In 2014, after qualifying as a CA I started my career.
By 2018, I had more than six years of experience with FMCGs like Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and Mars in India.
My husband and I always wanted to stay close to India while enjoying a good quality of life and a career overseas.
An acquaintance of my husband informed me about a Finance role with the e-commerce giant Amazon in Dubai.
It seemed interesting.
Since I had no experience in the e-commerce segment, I took a step backward and joined Amazon Dubai. This was in 2019. (I was working as an FP&A Manager at Mars, India and would’ve been promoted to Head of FP&A had I continued )
Soon, I realized that e-commerce wasn’t my cup of tea, I wanted to get back into FMCG… And that’s when I encountered the real struggle of finding a job.
Finally, three months later, a connection on LinkedIn pointed me to an opportunity at The Kraft Heinz Company, the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world.
By December 2020, I had successfully returned to the FMCG territory as a Commercial Finance Manager.
In April 2023, I was promoted to the Head of Finance Transformation.
Strategic job search in Fortune 500 companies in Dubai
The job searching process in India is vastly different compared to the UAE.
In India, if you have the right qualifications, and upload your profile to the job portal naukri.com, you will receive frequent calls from employers.
Dubai is a city that attracts individuals from over 200 nationalities across Europe, Asia, and even North America due to its tax-free status and luxurious lifestyle… The job market is fiercely competitive!
How do you stand out from all of these equally qualified candidates?
Here is the strategy I used.
1. Focussed on my target companies
First of all, I did not randomly apply for all the jobs that were available on LinkedIn.
I identified my preferred companies in the industry and then shortlisted them according to my career objectives.
Since there are relatively fewer FMCG companies in the UAE compared to India, this step was simple.
2. Built a strong resume
Whenever an employer in Dubai posts a vacancy, thousands of applications pour in within just 10 minutes.
Candidates from different job levels and qualifications apply to these openings. Internal references also influence the screening process, increasing competition.
So, how would the recruiter pick the right CV at first glance?
If you want to beat everyone else you need to have a strong resume and a bit of luck.
Here is how I went about it.
- I kept my CV concise. Nobody has the time to go through a five-page resume.
- I highlighted my previous career accomplishments in detail, rather than just adding my job responsibilities. For instance, I included numerous projects in my CV to demonstrate my ability to handle challenges and diverse roles.
- Don’t write random qualities or skills that you don’t possess. I did not add any skill or project that wasn’t part of my role.
- You have to list the key skills in your resume that is relevant to the job. It is the first filtering criterion. You can find those specific keywords in the job descriptions and add them to your CV. If not included, there is a 99% chance that you won’t get a callback.
3. Reached out to relevant people
I reached out to people in my target companies, specifically those in the senior positions in the finance teams.
But, I didn’t just straight up request them to refer me. Why would that person refer me when he/she doesn’t even know me?
Don’t sound desperate:
- I started the conversation with, “Hi, how are you? We work in the same industry. I am not looking for a job right now but could you tell me more about the culture, the team structure, and what the role entails? Do you think we can catch up over a short call sometime?”
- I was genuine in building the connection. When you take a genuine interest in building a connection or searching for some advice, people are more likely to help you.
Ask for advice:
- I also reach out to senior professionals saying “You’ve had a stellar career. Can you mentor me? How can I carve out a similar path?” You can always learn from people more experienced than you.
- Not everybody is going to respond, but even if one person responds out of five, I would spend 30 minutes in a week to connect with that person.
- In a world where everybody has transactional motives, you should add a human touch to the conversation.
4. Held on to patience
I tried this method for three and a half months. In the end, I received two calls, and one converted into success. Over the years, I received several job offers through those connections.
You need to send hundreds of messages and applications to get those one or two calls.
Not everyone will respond but you have to keep trying.
I learned during my job hunt that the success rate of receiving a call from a recruiter, employer, or relevant personnel in my target companies is going to be one to two percent.
If you are looking to find a job in Dubai, you should politely reach out to people and make genuine connections.
It’s all about treating people right by being genuine.
Lastly, I want to confess that I wasn’t always as confident as I am today. I couldn’t speak English properly until I was around 15. However, I built my social skills by engaging with people.