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AL WASTA (Nepotism)

Whoever comes from my country or a neighborhood country such as Jordan, Egypt, Sultanate of Oman and many other countries of the Middle East is pretty much familiar with the term “WASTA” when it comes to the employment sector.

I totally agree that such matter is commonly presented in our culture and is a sign of one of the multiple faces of corruption in our societies! However, I can see talents nowadays referring to this term even before starting their job search, or even before being prepared to knock the “Professional Life’s” door. Is it also becoming a random excuse and sign of laziness among future talents?

As much as I believe that it does actually exists…but guess what?! While “WASTA” gets you in, it cannot keep you there if you are missing your deliverables and didn’t prove your professional skills and abilities! Employers won’t pay salaries in the sake of only favoritism.

This is where lies the bad and good news!

Bad news: is that it initially existed since ever and will continue to!

Good news is that unless one proves motivation, productivity, skills development and generates results a talent will not stay for long in a position and the employer will go back and seek for only who meets the above success metrics… but will you be ready?! Or you would just surrender- like many do- and apply randomly following the same old-fashioned way and cultivating the same results?!

While this is a controversial subject but excuse me if I say that there’s a kind of laziness shown from the job seekers’ side. Imagine in Lebanon we have almost 180,900 university grad each year from which almost 40% are business and arts graduates- that is around 73,000 business and social sciences grads per year! OMG! That’s a huge number no?

When all of them depend on the only weapon they have (their education degree)- this is where employers are not seeing any competitive advantage among the talents but only meet with people having exactly the same background.

But Imagine if you can step out from the bunch of thousands people per year and get your profile more noticeable! All what it takes is: admit to yourself that you need to have additional competitive traits, seek those and develop them.

Just to share a small secret with you! If everything was about ‘Wasta’ we (agency recruiters) wouldn’t have existed anymore! I’m not defending all the employers but I’m totally convinced that there are a bunch of them in-countries and in the Middle East region who are desperately seeking for motivated people with remarkable abilities and capacities who are capable of generating results!

Below are few tips to consider in order to put yourself out of the crowd and have your weapons ready before entering this ‘war’-  and yes it’s a war because it’s no longer limited to a single nation but living in a small open and multicultural market world competition has become more and more aggressive.

  1. Clear, legible CV: It’s 2018 already and more than 30% of the applications we receive are a mess when it comes to CV presentation (For multiple reasons)- This tells a lot for me and I won’t waste my time on an applicant candidacy who didn’t take his/her time to polish a CV. (Refer to our CV's deadliest mistakes article on our blog)
  2. Job Search and applications: Golden Rule! Only apply where you fit- and not where you think you might fit. Normally mid-level and above positions have specific requirements and desired background. In the required skilled/experience section there’s a bunch of “Must have” and another of “Preferably have”. Do not apply for jobs where you don’t fit in the “Must Have” section.
  3. Extra Skills Development: Try to get yourself extra skills by learning relative technical and personal skills. Those could be working on your:
  • Business Language’:  This includes learning business terminologies and acronyms, business etiquettes, business communication and writing skills…
  • Command of English (or any other language that is appreciated in the geographical area you are interested in- but since English is indeed the universal business language I recommend starting here.)
  • English is the common Business Language in the world and there are many efficient ways to develop yours- some hints are:
  • Sign up in a conversational course (that offers at least 2-3 sessions per week)
  • Watch native English speakers’ movies/series without subtitles
  • Hang out with English native speakers: I’m sure there are a lot of them in our countries seeking for national friends too.
  • Read (whatever you like reading: articles, books, documents… and try to create an Excel sheet of new words you learned)
  • Mastering ‘Presentation Skills’: At some point, whatever is the department, position or sector you are interested in/working for you will be requested to take over presentations for different audience, furthermore practicing this skill will help you big time during your direct interview (whether it’s in-person or via phone/Skype…)
  • Internships & Free Lance: Instead of just waiting desperately for the best job to come your way, try to get yourself internships in companies you think you are interested in their sector- this is more commonly for fresh graduates who are sick from the job postings that require minimum 2 years of experience- You can even achieve a cumulative of 1 year of relative experience by the time your graduate.

Also in lot of majors you can start doing freelancing projects before you graduate and reserve yourself a place in the market already. If you’re studying Graphic Design, Interior Design and/or Interior Architecture, Social Media/Marketing relative field… Aside from the technical experience one of the most important skill you will encounter is how to deal with different type of prospects out there!

  • How to sell your capacities: Yes! it’s an art and you need to practice it and nail it- This brought to my mind a famous business quote and one of my favorites too by Richard Lathrop: “He or she who gets hired is not necessarily the one who can do that job best; but, the one who knows the most about how to get hired.” Therefore, make sure to get a career counselor and/or your recruiter best practices and advices on this.
  1. Try something new: Come on! Most of us started our college studies at 18- After few years it’s normal that our mindset might change- I have seen lot of talents succeeding in areas and sectors which are very far from their major- Do not be afraid to try something different if you thing you are interested in in or passionate about; it might be where you want to land and grow!
  2. Networking: With the right people, right events and or groups (social or professional)/ People who take part in such events are more likely to gain lot of experience when it comes to public communication and exposure, also to being noticed as talents with potentials.
  3. Attitude and Character: Peter W. Schut (former Porsche CEO and motivational speaker) said it great: “Hire character. Train skill” – I’m just in Love with this one! My favorite business quote by far!

Show up motivated, interested, knowledgeable of the company/position, enthusiastic, confident, polite and you most likely have better chances than 60% of your competitors.

The listed above are simple examples on how to increase remarkably your chances in being more noticed and actually being invited and considered for an interview. Now when reaching this phase there’s also a bunch of behavior and tips which you will be expected to practice and consider too. I’ll definitely share those with you later in a separate article.

Ultimately, hiring managers nowadays are being more and more convinced by the importance of attracting the best talents and retaining them- Do your job and seek for opportunities differently. After all, ‘if you don’t change your methods, you will still generate the same results’

Enhancing your skills, self-development, having a positive attitude and with the right tools I guarantee your job search will be more promising!

Lastly to endorse what has been said above: if WASTA is dominant the way you think employers woudldn't have hired us (Recruitment firms) and paid us fortune to find them the best talents!

Article by Christelle AbiChar

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