The current job market is fraught with job cuts and downsizing. In today’s job market, you need to show more than just the required qualifications (or skills) to get hired. In order to decipher the mysteries of the hiring process, we reached out to Fatima Williams. Fatima is currently based out of Dubai. She has been into recruiting, training and HR consulting for more than 8 years.
For this article, Fatima has been very kind to provide insights on what do recruiters look for in a resume; how to get jobs; the impact of soft skills, study abroad experience & MOOC courses on employment, and tips on networking, personal branding & career success.
Tips on Resume Writing, Job Search, Personal Branding, and Career Success
Q&A with Fatima Williams, HR-Recruitment Professional
Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My current role involves coaching individuals, training teams down the path of change, and enabling them to fit comfortably in the project/job assigned to them. I provide HR & recruitment services to many organizations in the UAE. I am constantly on the lookout for good companies to partner with to meet their Employee Engagement & Recruitment Needs.
Being a people passionate person, for me, it’s about the people around us. I see the positive impact of our words and actions on others.
I always reiterate the fact to my community; “We all have the responsibility to influence a positive change.” I’m a learner and look for an opportunity to learn be it from experiences, articles, and books.
Our values help us grow, learn and achieve success. When it is purpose-driven, we add value to those we meet who are part of the journey we are on.
For we do not grow alone, we use the immediate surrounding and the people around us to grow and shine. And when we shine, we shed light enabling others to see a well-defined path.
My Passion is to transform the way employers interact with job-seekers & help recruitment grow; Transform the way companies interact with employees & help organizations grow. Creating a more humane workplace is what I dream of.
I intend to create a purpose-driven world around me. I encourage every individual worldwide to recognize and embrace their true potential as entrepreneurs & believe in themselves.
Q. How did you end up in the HR & Recruitment industry?
Well, I studied to be a Teacher for secondary school children and worked for 1 year as a Grade 2 teacher. My family situation had me move to a well-paying job to cover expenses. The most paid jobs during that time were the BPO ones. With the fire of teaching burning inside I started my corporate career assisting customers.
I found a way to input my teaching skills and keep the passion burning. I took the path of supervising, coaching was promoted as a coach/trainer and then into an HR process & change management role.
Through my difficulties in life, I’ve learned the value of family and relationships. The value of money, the value and character of people with and without money.
I turned my difficulties into subjects of learning. I implement my love for teaching in every job I’m assigned to. I enable job seekers to realize on their own, to learn from experiences and to live with a purpose in life.
Pro-Tip for Career Success: Always find ways to align your passion with your current job!
Q. What are the top factors you look for while hiring?
I look for passion; positive attitude and the importance candidate give to be up to date in knowledge and skills in their assigned industry or role.
Q. How much importance do you give to the brand name of the college/university, soft skills, and online presence?
Brand Name of the College/University
As an HR manager, I’ve never given importance to college or university ranking, we’ve conducted mass recruitments even in colleges far off in villages. But as a recruiter, we have organizations that ask sometimes for specific college pass outs, as the said college gives importance to practical experience during the study and have created great leaders from the past hires.
Soft skills have a major influence on the hiring process. Candidates must give a lot of importance in refining their soft skills. Check out the best online courses on soft skills for job search and career success.
Two years ago online presence was not important, but today the majority of the companies are using social media to recruit the best talent in the industry. So if you don’t have an online presence, nobody knows you exist, it’s as simple as that.
As recruiters and hiring managers, we do a lot of research on you before we reach out to gauge your interest!
We do a lot of research before we reach out to a potential candidate, to understand what skills, experience, passion and interests a candidate has –and don’t just look if the resume matches.
For candidates, the objective should be making themselves a person of interest and a known entity.
If you want to make sure you’re landing a job at your dream company where you will thrive, candidates must work on beefing up their online networking skills and generating referrals from friends and former colleagues at organizations.
Q. What do you look for in a resume/CV? What would be your tips on CV writing for the job seekers?
Your resume must tell your story. Your resume should include a header, a “seeking statement,” – use the name of the company in this statement. Personalize your resume for every job you apply!
I look for a well-written resume with no grammatical mistakes. I’ve never eliminated a candidate if their resume is bad, provided they have the required skills. Some recruiters reject such resumes and it’s not their fault. If a candidate is really interested in the job, they must take efforts to draft a good resume.
If you can’t take time to refine your resume with the excess amount of help available online, it really shows the importance you will give if hired, to excel in the job you applied for or learn the skills required.
Your resume should set you apart from other candidates. It should highlight your skills, qualifications and give examples of your success in the current and past roles. Always do some online or offline course to stay relevant with the current market skill requirements in the industry of your choice.
Have two resumes a short form and a long form. “All the extras, all the other details, should be saved for your long-form resume.
Include your most current skill sets and a maximum of four accomplishments, each with a net result: revenue generated, deadlines met or exceeded, money saved, for example. Each should include the name of the company for whom you worked, your title, dates and your role
Q. What would be your advice to the candidates who are looking for jobs in Dubai or the Middle East from India?
One of the best ways to get a job in Dubai is while visiting the city on a visit visa or by getting a job offer from the employer while you’re in your home country. Read my article on how to find jobs in Dubai (and UAE).
Q. Any tips for job interviews?
Research & Preparation is the key to an interview. Be it face to face or via Skype.
The conversations during the interview should answers questions like; “What skill fuels your passion? What makes you happy to go to work every day? What value will you add as an employee? How will they benefit from hiring you?
The preparation must be well thought out and evidence must be available to support your performance and said skills.
Research is the most important step, getting to know everything about the company, its employees, the recruiters, the press news, the company’s vision, goals, failures etc.
Highest quality hires come on the recommendations. Do you know someone who knows someone? Did you see a manager or an executive speak at a conference, or read a particularly eye-catching blog post? Anything that gives you a reason to connect is great!
Make sure to connect with them, the connection must be personalized in the most authentic way of getting to know the person and learn all about the organization and its goals before getting to that interview. Ask them for tips on how they got the job, what are the pre-requisites for getting past the first round of interview.
Q. How do you see the online (MOOC) certifications? Have you seen candidates with online certifications performing better in their job roles?
Certifications show us the interest and passion for a particular employee or job seeker has for his/her industry. Keeping your knowledge and industry experience up to date is a big qualifier for getting through for an interview appearance.
Explore the hottest online courses for the current job market.
Employees who study while on the job have a better work attitude, perform better and rise quickly up the ladder.
Q. Do you value study abroad experience as a recruiter? Does international exposure matter to employers?
International study experience is a big qualifier when it comes to hiring critical roles. But we also give equal importance to colleges that create a similar learning environment in their own countries.
The importance is given to the exposure a student gets while studying in a different country. The country doesn’t matter as long the university is able to give it’s students a similar opportunity to learn at a Global scale and evidence that such hires have resulted in creating top performers.
Candidates with international degrees emerge more often as leaders/entrepreneurs as they are taught to make decisions and given the freedom to think more liberally.
Q. Any tips for college students, graduates and early-stage professionals on how to leverage social media channels for networking, personal branding, and job search.
Social media is the current big tool in everyone’s hands.
Have an enticing profile online. This can make your presence known to anyone you want in any part of the world as long you have the ability and confidence to showcase your passion with evidence.
If you want to make sure you’re landing a job at a company where you will thrive, you can work on beefing up your networking skills and generating referrals from friends, former colleagues at organizations.
Majority of the jobs are found as a result of networking, so there’s a great chance your network will be the source of that next touch point.
Q. Your thoughts on why everyone should work on their online presence and personal branding.
The digital age of recruitment & social media sourcing is becoming a trend in the recruitment industry. Forward-thinking agencies and in-house recruitment teams are moving to fully leverage a new eco-system of apps and digital technologies to find candidates.
Recruiters and hiring managers do an online research on you before they reach out to gauge interest. They work to work to find out which ones work with companies and roles they would be interested in.
If you don’t have an online presence you don’t exist in the recruiter’s world.
If you’re passionate and serious about advancing your career, having a LinkedIn/beBee profile is essential.
Recruiters do a lot of research, before they even reach out to you, to understand what skills, experience, passion and interests you have –and not look just at the resume matches. Your online presence and your personal brand validate what they look out for. So, personal branding is a must for job search and career success.
The objective of personal branding is to make yourself a person of interest, a known entity.
Once a recruiter has evidence of your skills and abilities, they are the most determined people on the planet, and they will politely and persistently reach out until they get a response, to start a two-way conversation.
Your resume won’t speak for itself. But your online presence would.
Do not lie, do not misrepresent yourself or your skills, and do not claim experience, traits or knowledge that doesn’t represent you. All of this will be noted and asked during the hiring process.
Identify what companies you’d want to work for, what particular roles you’d be ideal for, and then what experience, skills, passion, and interests match up with those available at the company!
If you have a specific company and/or role in mind, you should look at networking and build a strong online presence. If you are looking to switch industries, it must be looked up as a long career search journey, not a specific one-off shot at a job.
It takes time, research, strategy, patience, passion and resilience to get to your target job.
Everyone faces rejection on his or her journey to the job offer and it’s an inevitable part of the process of finding and securing a new position. The stepping stones to this success are the rejection along the way, which either stop you in your journey or provides the motivation and education to keep going.