Are you frustrated yet? Have you started doubting yourself already? Well, maybe you’re just doing it all wrong.

Finish school, get a degree, find a job, the path has always been set and it seemed comfortable and safe.

The moment you graduate, you get this feeling within that makes you anxious, “You are on your own now”. Having to face the world on your own and start job hunting, along with the pressure to prove yourself and meet your parents’ expectations. We are already filled with anxiety about job opportunities in Bahrain, sometimes even by our own parents, that we actually start believing these notions.

We keep hearing things along the lines of ‘There are no jobs in Bahrain” “مافي أشغال’’ or that “you can only get a good job by Wasta”. Everyone tries to enforce their negative perspective about jobs or continuously blames the market and the lack of jobs.

My first 2 weeks of applying for jobs at multiple places were very disappointing. I started with applying online through different websites and getting zero replies to my emails, messages, and applications. I even visited a couple of companies that I was interested in."We will let you know”, I heard that a lot of times and yet nothing.
When you don’t get a single reply you start doubting whether your application is even looked at or if your qualifications even mean anything.

That was the turning point, I knew something had to be wrong or I am doing it all wrong. I realized that I need to think like a recruiter in order to be recruited.

So I asked myself a very simple question, if I was a recruiter, why would I hire me?

Think of it this way, you are proposing to a girl (The company) and you want to marry her. Would you just randomly go and be a creep and say: I want to marry you? This is exactly what it’s like when you just attach a CV and press ‘apply’ to countless jobs.

So, I met many people, from different levels, fields, roles and invested hours of meetings just listening and understanding. Each one of them gave me one major learning. And for every opportunity I chose to apply for, I started by imagining myself doing the interview and doing the job itself and asked myself, ‘do I really want to do this job?’

With all these learnings, readings and meetings I had, I came up with a 7 step process that turned me into an outstanding candidate for every opportunity I applied for.

1.Quit the bulk job applying:

It doesn’t work. Choose 10 opportunities you really like and laser focus on them really well to create a powerful and impressive application for each.

2.Build your online presence:

Many recruiters today will look you up on social media or platforms like LinkedIn and review your profiles, and some actually base their judgment on that first impression. Your LinkedIn profile is a super useful tool for you, it gives you the chance to layout your experiences, education, skills, and achievement without the need of keeping only what is important like CVs. LinkedIn to me is more of a professional social network than a recruitment site where the focus is to build your network and reach more people.

  • Create one if you don’t have one.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile.
  • Build your network by adding the people you know and you worked with.
  • Get recommendations and endorsements from the people who worked with you and know your work.
  • Add pictures for your experiences (It shows that it is real). PS: Make sure your profile picture looks professional and proper.

Tip: If you want to get endorsements you need to give endorsements and as a natural response people will give you one back.

3. Kill your ‘one for all’ CV:

Invest time and effort building a unique well-written CV, a simple one page that has all that the recruiter needs to know about you, but every job opportunity must have its own CV that has a different part of your experiences that fits the role you are applying for. Also, your previous experiences should include achievements clear with figures (E.g., # or % of growth).

Tip 1: Don’t underestimate any experience, learnings or achievements you had no matter how small it looks. All of these are pieces you can use to build different CVs for different opportunities you are applying for. Keep all of that in front of you, you’re going to need it.
Tip 2: Match your CV skills and language with the opportunity. Only put what is relevant and use the same keywords they use.

4. Research the hell out of it (Become your own Sherlock Holmes)

  • The role and opportunity you are applying for (Read it carefully)
  • The company (Vision, mission, values, etc..)
  • The recruiter (Some stalking will be required :p)

Okay but How?

Gather everything that exists, and I mean everything:

  • Internet (Articles, main website, any page has the company name on it, social media, even the product or service the company is providing)
  • The job opportunity (Highlight all the important keywords, the ideal candidate statements)
  • People who work there or might know someone who worked there.

Tip: Check out the employer’s page on Majra to get a better idea of what the company is like and who are the people you would be interacting with. This also helped me with selecting the places I actually wanted to work at.

5. Build the ‘I need to hire you’ profile. (Speak the recruiter language)

Now you have all the pieces in front of you, your previous work and experience and everything on the opportunity you are applying for.

The KEY here is to match yourself with the opportunity. You need the recruiter to say “wow this guy is exactly what we’re looking for”. Make sure your profile represents you and what you have to offer to the employer.

The way many jobsites and CV templates are laid out give very little scope to showcase your value, experiences, and learnings. It is very important to mention what truly matters to the employers to be able to make instant decisions. This is where my Majra profile really helped change my approach. For instance things are ‘Value to employer’ or ‘Motivation to apply’ help recruiters in filtering the applicants and this is where you can stand out the most

6. Write a solid cover letter:

Yes, there are a million ways online to write cover letters, but a generic cover letter won't get you the interview.
Now that you learned so much about the company and the opportunity with research and you have your experience in front of you, this is where you link it all on one page. Step 5 should help you make a great cover letter. It should include:

  • Why are you applying for this company first followed by why this role second.
  • Why you fit the role based on your profile and experiences
  • You can throw in some facts you learned from your research to make it a killer cover letter
  • What do you envision for this company to be either on a national or regional or even global level?

7. Add a WOW factor in your application

Everything is in place before you send your application, but you want to kill the competition for this opportunity. You want to be the ONE who gets hired.

Add an external file that can have any topic of the following as an example:

  • Company’s product Analysis
  • Company's competitor's Analysis (Compare it with other competitors and suggest and give recommendation on how it can be better)

You are challenging the company this way, it is a bold move that shows your value won’t just be someone who is here to work but someone who wants to make the company the best.

"It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do." - Steve Jobs.

This is the kind of impression you want to leave after the recruiter sees your application.

Finally, The reaction!

All of this work and effort! What was the outcome? Did it really work?
Yes, it did!

  • My first application got a reply in less than 24 hours of applying
  • I got a reply from 5/10 applications I prepared this way
  • I got hired within 12 days

Think of it this way, you spend 3-4 months (Semester) preparing for your final project in university. Why not keeping the same effort on your applications?

Always remember, "Job Hunting is a full-time job and it takes time and effort to build a powerful application" and “Every job application is a learning and a step closer to get the job you really want”

Hussain Alsarro

The motivation of becoming the best version of myself to contribute to the development of our world wakes me up every day. I enjoy losing myself trying to make sense of things and being able to positively influence the people around me.

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