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how to not suck at writing

How to Not Suck When Writing to an Employer in Dubai

Dear Employer,

Thank you for taking the time to read my email. I’d like to take this opportunity to apply for a job with your company …zzzzzzzzzzzzz…

sleeping baby

Sorry, you lost me at Dear Employer. I have a name, and if you’re going to be sending me emails, you’d better know it.

In the UAE’s modern digital world you’re more than likely going to end up sending an email to a potential employer sooner rather than later, and given that it’s the first thing that your prospective boss is going to see, you’d better be sure it paints you in the best light.

Cliché’s to avoid when introducing yourself to a company.

Writing a letter to a potential employer, especially one that you’re eager to work with, can be a daunting task, and it’s important that you come across as professional. Unfortunately, sometimes professional “speak” can be a bit clichéd, and in addition to coming across as professional, you also want to stand out from the crowd.


Perhaps one of the most important things to avoid, as I mentioned above, is the urge to address your email to “Dear Employer” or “Dear Sir or Madam” or even worse, the common UAE phrase “MamSir”. Steve Tulman wrote a article that explains this well:

NEVER use “Dear Sir / Madame” or any other generic introduction when sending an email. Personalize your message by addressing your email to a specific person and using their name. In fact I like to use their name twice, once when addressing them at the beginning of the email and once when thanking them at the end of it. If you don’t have the person’s name – get it! Find it online, try calling other departments within the organization, speak with the secretary, etc. Do whatever is necessary to get their name.

And while an email introducing yourself isn’t a cover letter, there is a tendency to use the same tired phrases in both. Such as:

You say: “I’d like to apply for a job with you…”

I think: No really? You want to apply for a job with me? I never would have guessed. I thought maybe you’re were applying for a job with another company and writing me instead.

You say: I think I’m the perfect candidate for this position…”

I think: You think? Or you are? Don’t be wishy-washy.

You say: “I’m a detailed team-oriented player” or “I’m an excellent team player who thinks outside the box”

I think: Buzzzz! Too many meaningless buzzwords!

not the bees

Keep it short, to the point, interesting and relevant!

The urge to waffle is great in the UAE.  And I don’t mean the tasty syrup coated pastry treat.


I mean the tendency people have to go on and on without getting to the point. You don’t need to put your life story in an email, or all of your work experience, that’s what your resume and cover letter are for. What you do need to do is state who you are and why you’re writing the letter. Keep it to less than ten lines if possible.

Also, make sure your subject line reflects the purpose of the email. Time magazine‘s take on writing subject lines:

The task of your email’s subject line is to trigger an impulse that causes the recipient to open the email. Your subject line should be enticing and express who you are and what you are writing about. Sometimes it is appropriate to include your name, and other times your school or connection or who referred you is the better way to go.

So rather than writing: Job Inquiry or Interested in Employment in the subject line, try:

Emirates Internship Application – Mohammed Bin Abdulla

Or, if you’ve met your potential employer before:

Fatema Ali following up on our meeting at the Careers UAE exhibition.

Give Them a Reason to Get in Touch with You

Suggest a meeting. Give them some dates and times and ask if they’re free for coffee. Ask for feedback. The worst thing they can say is no.


There’s nothing wrong with being a bit forward. You want to show that you’re keen and willing to put yourself out there. Employers respect that.

Check your English…

Finally, before you send that email, please, please, please check your English grammar. I’m not saying you have to have everything right, I know most people in the UAE write English as a second language, but at least try and make a legible sentence.

Do not send this:

Dear sir or madam,

I am a XXXX Citizen but i finished my school in XXXX and i would love to study medicine there. would you please help me through?

There’s a difference between forgetting a comma and forgetting capital letters.

In conclusion, if you keep all these handy tips in mind, writing an email to a potential employer should be a breeze.