Women Job Seekers: How to write a resume for Saudi Arabia
In an effort to end the country’s economic dependence on oil, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is encouraging more women to enter the workforce. Recent reports based on data from the Ministry of Labor and Social Development reveal the number of Saudi women working in the private sector has shot up by 130% in the last four years.
With the doors to workplaces being thrown open just recently, several women keen to enter the workforce are in a quandary. Here’s why -- when it comes to job hunting, your CV is supreme. Get it right, and you’ll be called in for an interview in no time; get it wrong, and you’re likely to face rejection after rejection. Turns out, many women in KSA haven’t ever written a resume and or aren’t even sure what their CV should look like and include.
How then, do you go about getting the job you want? Start by reading our guide for women on how to write a great CV for KSA employers:
Tailor your CV to showcase relevant skills
Tailoring your CV is a sure-shot way of ensuring a high response rate from your job applications. Study every job advertisement and check for requirements that you possess, but haven’t included/highlighted in your CV, unusual requirements and essential ones. Sift through your skill set to put together a cohesive list that makes you appear the perfect fit. Things that are always good to put on your resume include knowledge of additional languages, specific computer programs and applications, organisational skills (goal-oriented, focused on efficiency), and personal skills (punctual, original). If you need help crafting your CV, consider using a professional resume writing service.
Stick to basic formatting guidelines for a sleek CV
You may think that the look and feel of your resume doesn’t compare to the content, but that’s not completely true. The visual elements of your CV – font type, size and style – can help make a good first impression. Use margins, indents and bullets to ensure that the CV is easy to navigate and doesn’t appear like a solid block of text. Opt for clean fonts like Verdana, Tahoma, Trebuchet and Arial; stay away from curvy or funky fonts. A font size between 9 pt and 12 pt is ideal, but choose what looks good on your page. Keep section headings a few points larger to make them easy to spot. Don’t forget to pay attention to punctuation for nothing repels a prospective employer more than mistakes on this front.
No work experience? Make every experience count
Work experience is important to land a job, but there are ways to get around this whether you’re a fresh graduate or looking for a job for the first time in your life. Think about why you can do that particular job and put that down in words. Academic assignments, family internships and side projects are sure to have given you some skills and experience that can now be put to use. Spell it out to explain to hiring managers why your non-traditional background will work as an asset.
If you have no references, work your way around them
References are a very powerful tool and can give your job search a boost. You may have a couple of references from people who are privy to your working style and ethos, but what do you do if you have no references? Try falling back on people who have seen you work hard in other fields – teachers, professors, customers or people who you have done volunteering work with. Rounding out your references with personal ones gives insight into your character and nature.
For flexible work, focus on the company’s needs—not yours
Most likely than not, Saudi women seek flexible work arrangements. It could be part-time work, the ability to telecommute or the freedom to work four days a week. But how you frame the proposal is critical. Put down the fact – in your cover letter - that a flexible schedule will help you perform better and benefit the company. Requesting to work from home may help the hiring manager solve the segregation problem, but point out how research shows it can help boost productivity and happiness. Anticipate any objections that may come up to your proposal and be prepared to present solutions. If there’s continued resistance, propose a defined trial period for both sides to evaluate the viability of the flexible schedule.
Don’t forget to add an enthusiastic and specific cover letter
It is a common tendency in Saudi for job applicants to send in their emails without cover letters. But a cover letter, a single-page letter that introduces you to the hiring manager, is what can set your application apart. Make sure it’s no longer than a page, mentions the job you’re applying/looking for, and matches your skills and experiences to the job requirements. Keep the tone upbeat and finish with a call to action such as a request for a meeting or interview.
When it comes to the job hunt, working on your CV is as important as polishing those interviewing skills. For a polished and professional CV can mean saying yes to a new job in no time.
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