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Trying to land and keep a job is hard enough in these tough economic times, but finding a good job in a field that interests you is even harder. There are hundreds of applicants for every position open and competition has never been more fierce. People are doing whatever they can to improve their chances at getting a job that's desirable, has long-term potential, and of course, high compensation. Having a bachelor's degree or even a masters sometimes just doesn't equal into a cushy job like it once used to. There has to be a way of setting yourself apart from the teeming masses clamoring for the same position as you. The question is, how do stand out from the pack? One of the best ways is to embrace your Arab identity and to use it to your advantage when looking for employment. There are many skills that you can use that highlight qualities that companies are looking for right now. Use the following few suggestions to dust up before your next interview and show just how much you stand above the rest: 1) Use your language skills: Most Arabs are at least bilingual, if not trilingual, and that is a huge advantage over those who aren't. Fluency in Arabic is also a highly-sought skill, especially in government-related areas, and is a boon to anyone who wants a well-paying, secure job. Being fluent in more than one language also assures that you can tackle projects or situations others possibly couldn't and makes you more of an asset to an organization. 2) Educating yourself: Most companies want to hire someone who takes initiative and is eager to learn more about the field. By taking classes through a community college or online course study program, it shows that an interest in education and furthering yourself is at the forefront of your mind. Getting a certificate in a specific field or a niche category also sets you apart. The less vague you are, and the more specialized, the better chance you have at being exactly the kind of person the company is looking for. 3) Being a leader: Whether it's being the president of a club at your university, getting groups together for charity at your local mosque, or being the founder a new organization, anything that shows leadership abilities is looked at highly. Use the resources you have around you—gather people from your local mosque or church and create a group that helps others, or take an initiative at fighting something you feel that could be harmful to your community. Hiring companies look for people who can rise through the ranks and become an integral part of company culture. Showing that you have management and leadership abilities in your personal life also presents a great quality in your professional life. 4) Use all the connections you've got: If all else fails, using your family or friend connections is a great way to get started in a new career. A lot of people feel uncomfortable using these connections because they want to be able to do it on their own, but these connections are simply a way of getting your foot in the door and letting your work speak for itself thereafter. That said, that uncle with the great business, your cousin who works in marketing, the neighbor who knows an executive at this company—use all these avenues if all else fails. Having a personal referral is so vital now to being hired. Resumes are often forgotten on desks, but a referral from a trusted source is invaluable. Use the connections to establish the first initial contact and let the rest of your body of work do the rest of the talking.
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