x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Pupils flock to Abu Dhabi University Spring Career Fair

The fifth annual event continues on campus today and offers candidates a chance to vie for entry-level jobs and training opportunities offered by more than 55 regional and international organisations.

One of the hundreds of prospective employees who attended the Abu Dhabi University Career Fair gets information from one of many companies from all over the world that has a stand there. Sammy Dallal / The National
One of the hundreds of prospective employees who attended the Abu Dhabi University Career Fair gets information from one of many companies from all over the world that has a stand there. Sammy Dallal / The National

ABU DHABI // Finding a job is full-time work, just ask any serious job seeker.

“It’s very competitive in the market, it’s very competitive,” said Fathima Sahla, 20, who studies environmental science at Abu Dhabi University (ADU).

Ms Sahla was one of hundreds of students and recent graduates to attend the fifth annual Abu Dhabi University Spring Career Fair on Tuesday. The two-day fair continues on campus on Wednesday and offers candidates a chance to vie for one of 1,500 entry-level jobs and training opportunities offered by more than 55 regional and international organisations.

“Career fairs and exhibitions are also a unique opportunity for higher educational institutions to find out first-hand which business sectors are looking for specialised graduates in the labour market,” said Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, and vice president of ADU’s board of trustees.

“We look forward to increasing the number of companies and organisations participating in the career fair as it will also provide more job opportunities for graduates and visitors.”

Fatima Hassan, an Emirati tourism student from Zayed University, visited the job fair to get an idea of which jobs are in demand and learn from recruiters what skills they are looking for in prospective candidates.

“I’m looking for any suitable job until I have graduated,” said Ms Hassan, 24.

Experts were on hand to offer students advice on how to stand out from the competition.

The first thing job seekers need to do is treat the job search as a full-time job, said Alaa Abdelkarim, a recruitment adviser with Summit Recruitment Services. Research the company they wish to work for and know and develop the skills required for the desired job, he advised. Mr Abdelkarim also advises candidates to tailor their resumes to the job they are applying for, as opposed to passing out the same CV to a variety of jobs.

New graduates also need to keep their salary expectations in check.

“It’s really important to know market rates,” Mr Abdelkarim said. “There is a high expectation with that rate and this is one of the problems here in the UAE because most graduates have high expectations.”

Ahmad Turani, business development manager with online job site Bayt.com, said there is a boom in the oil and gas, banking and finance and construction fields.

“Oil and gas are always in the top three,” Mr Turani said.

When it comes to the top skills employers seek out in successful candidates, they are some that cannot be taught in a classroom.

In general, the top three skills required are communication skills, in Arabic and English, working cooperatively and computer skills.

“By computer skills, we mean Microsoft Office and presentation skills, with Powerpoint.”

Mr Turani said the good news for recent graduates is that the competition is less than for mid-career job seekers.

“There’s a lot of jobs that need only fresh graduates,” Mr Turani said. “Without practical experience, they should distinguish themselves within the use of study. So, enrolling in non-academic activities, take training, certificates, just to show the employers so when they see the CV of two fresh graduates, how to differentiate between both of them.”

Mary Joy, a human resource manager with Akka Technologies, attended the fair to recruit engineering graduates. She said she looked for candidates who possessed “soft skills” because technical knowledge could be gained on the job.

“So, motivation, communication skills because, all of them will be coming from the same background, they will have the same degree, so we’re looking into the passion. Do you have what it takes, can you be taught, are you really interested?

“When we see they are really interested to know, ‘Hey, what is this, what is that?’ this is the type of people that we want to hire,” Ms Joy said.

rpennington@thenational.ae