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Ask Bee: Young and Single in Jeddah


We have a great bunch of readers at Jeddah Blog who we simply love hearing from. They send us suggestions, queries, information, and even ask us for advice. They are our sounding board, and they provide constant feedback on all the material we work so hard to bring to you.

In days gone by, Jeddah’s favourite Agony Aunt, Bee has imparted her pearls of wisdom to readers about picking up essential Arabic phrases, what to avoid while shopping for makeup, how to get round the problem of a lack of fitting rooms for women, getting out and about without being able to drive, her top makeup tips and even getting a job in Saudi Arabia.

In her latest column, Bee dishes out her straightforward and practical advice to a young, twenty-something who is conflicted about making the move from the UK to the Middle East. Will Bee have all the answers this time?

About Bee

Ask Bee: Finding a job in JeddahBee is a 30 something mother, wife, corporate consultant and a bona fide prodigy in the art of shelling out unnecessary, unsolicited and often useless advice. The kind people at her office actually pay her for doing this on an hourly daily basis and she returns the kindness by making them lose sleep over random pointless issues. She currently lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with her very sane husband (he takes after his mother) and her two not very sane children (they too take after their mother). Her own personal hell would be to have nothing to do with no-one paying her for pretending to have nothing to do.

Sorry to bother you, not too worried about this making the website, but was looking for a bit of advice! I’m a single 25 year old British girl & lived in Dubai for 18 years (my family are still there).

I’m currently living back in the UK and looking for a change. I’ve had a career opportunity open up in Jeddah and am in two minds whether to take it or not…! I’m very independent, I enjoy driving and, like many young women, enjoy a glass of wine to celebrate a special occasion! However I equally enjoy the beach, weather, culture and laid back lifestyle the Middle Eastern countries have to offer. So my question is mainly about demographics I suppose… How many young, free, expat females are there around, and what are their views on the lifestyle? And/or would I be able to be put in touch with a few to pick their brains?!

Hey thanks for being in touch and for giving me a glimpse of life that I once had, wished I had, know will never have. you seem to be doing quite well for yourself and since you didn’t tell us what exactly is your profession, I am going to go ahead and assume that it is something fun. Let’s take your query and break it into its constituent parts (sounds very professional, no?)

Young, Free, Expat Females in Saudi

Contrary to what the matchmakers sites may tell you, there aren’t many single (and desirable ) female expats out here. It could be because the visa restrictions are just tighter if you are a single female, but also because girls of a certain age do not want to move to a country that doesn’t offer many gender mingling opportunities. The only  exception to the rule would be female nurses, teachers and some doctors. However, when you are a single female working in Jeddah, you will most likely be giving accommodation facilities by your employer because it is very rare (and unsafe) for females to live alone in apartments, and compounds would rarely rent to you if your are single. So the answer to this is; there aren’t as many as you would find in Dubai for example, but if you are working in a female-centric profession or organization, you will definitely find company. Also don’t rule out the possibility of mingling with young Saudi females, they’re quite progressive and fun to be around.

Da Glass O’ Wine

Not happening; this is Saudi Arabia, my friend.

The Beach and the Laid Back Lifestyle

This is TOTALLY Saudi. There are many options (mostly very expensive) where you get access to private beaches that are almost as good as the ones you find in Dubai. Shopping is the main activity and yes the lifestyle is a little laid back but also family-centric. Do keep in mind that all day shopping sprees as in Dubai are a rarity here since all shops close for prayers and spending 45 minutes loitering around 4 times during the day isn’t optimal for mental (or physical) health.

How to get in touch with Single Female Expats

I suggest expatriates.com and the Jeddah Blog Facebook Group as ideal places to look for your target demographics. Since I am an old hag myself, all expats I know are married so can’t really help you there.

To Sum Up:

Saudi is a good place to live if you are looking to make some good money all the while enjoying a laidback/ lavish lifestyle. Not exactly the kind of place where you would expect to hang out with single/ opposite gender friends or go hang out at the beach. There are, as always, exceptions to the rule, and a lot depends on the organization you are working with. My office has lots of single males and females (all Saudis) and it’s a mixed office so we get to hang around in office and outside. It is generally very conservative and there is the constant threat of the Hayya (Saudi religious police) if you are seen in an appropriate (by their standards) situation. The safest bet in such cases is to live in a compound if you can find one.

I hope that answers some of your questions. If you do decide to move to Jeddah, get in touch with us and we can take you under our wing. Can’t promise the wine, but can guarantee good company.

Top Makeup Tips from Bee


We’ve been very busy at the blog lately with recent competitions, activities and courses. We have also been getting lots of positive feedback from our readers. One Jeddah Blog subscriber Saadia Fatima, wrote in to us recently with a very practical question for Bee, adviser to all lost souls in this modern metropolis. Here is what she said:

Hi Bee,

I’m a 15 year old girl and I am no beauty geek. However, last few days I have given make up a stand and wanted to check out a few products on myself.

I have Indian skin. I’m not fair. And I was looking for some products to start with. Coming to the point, could you suggest me some products which would fit into my budget of 250-300 SR.
I will prefer only branded products such as Bourjois Paris, L’Oreal Paris, Sephora, Avon, Dior and Maybelline. Also, note that foundation and compact powder is a must for me.
I just need a simple, elegant and edgy look. I live in Jeddah, so if you give me references to the shopping malls where I should shop I’ll be very thankful.
Please reply me at the earliest possible.
Lots of good wishes.
With Anticipation,
Saadia

About Bee

Bee is a 30 something mother, wife, corporate consultant and a bona fide prodigy in the art of shelling out unnecessary, unsolicited and often useless advice. The kind people at her office actually pay her for doing this on an hourly daily basis and she returns the kindness by making them lose sleep over random pointless issues. She currently lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with her very sane husband (he takes after his mother) and her two not very sane children (they too take after their mother). Her own personal hell would be to have nothing to do with no-one paying her for pretending to have nothing to do.

Dear Saadia,

I like to describe myself as: “Classy, Sassy and a bit smart-Assy”

But I have a dirty little secret. I am classy in a cheap kindda way. Not cheap as in a penny-pincher, but I am a sucker for a good deal and when it comes to make-up, there are many good and budget friendly swaps to be had in Jeddah.

In response to your query, I will give you a breakdown of makeup products with their cost and sourcing details for my own daily look. I personally am a huge fan of the ‘no-makeup makeup look’. I mean, if you look like you are wearing tons of make-up, it defeats the whole purpose of makeup, n’est-ce pas?

So here goes, behold the makeup secrets of the great Bee:

The first think I recommend is that you splurge on the foundation, and the one I found works best for daily wear is MAC. It keeps the skin looking neat and non-blotchy throughout a long day of much head-banging and hand-wringing stress. This is not to say that you cannot find the same quality in cheaper brands (see below for other great options) but I have personally found MAC to work wonders on my own brown, tired and often sleep-deprived skin. The foundation will take a big chunk out of your budget, but since we are going for a simple look, you will have enough to spend on other stuff.

Another must-have item is the translucent powder to fix the foundation. You said you will need a compact, but let me tell you that when you use a good foundation and a good fixing powder, all you will need is a little dab of powder on your nose during the day and you will continue to look impeccable. Compacts on the other hand can make you look cakey as the day goes on. And the NYX powder is so affordable, you can keep one in your purse too for touch-ups.

Here is a breakdown of stuff I use on a daily basis, and people in my office wrongly assume that I am naturally gorgeous 😉

PRODUCT SAVE SPLURGE
Foundation Bourjois Healthy Mix FoundationSAR 85Centre Point MAC Select SPF 15FoundationSAR 150

MAC Stores in Red Sea Mall and Tahlia Mall

Translucent powder NYX Loose powder in Soft BeigeSAR 70Centre Point MAC Mineralize Skin Finish PowderSAR 150+MAC Stores in Red Sea Mall and Tahlia Mall
Eyeliner Maybelline Eye Studio Long lasting Eyeliner gel ORRevlon ColorStay Eyeliner PencilSAR 60-75

Citimax and Center Point stores

MAC Fluid LineSAR 150MAC Stores in Red Sea Mall and Tahlia Mall
Blush Rimmel Blush in 131 Madeira(great for Asian Indian Skin tones) ORMaybelline Dream Mousse cream blush in Rose PetalSAR 30- 45

Citimax and Center Point stores

Clinique Soft-Pressed Powder BlusherSAR 150-180Paris Gallery
Mascara Maybelline Great Lash MascaraSAR 75Citimax and Center Point stores Maybelline makes the best mascaras so I don’t suggest splurging on these.
Lip Colour Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in 630 Velvet Beige ORRevlon colorstay Lip-gloss almost all shades are great ORMaxFactor Color Elixir Lipstick in

SAR 40-60

Citimax and Center Point stores

Centre Point

Estée Lauder Classic Color Lipstick in Caffe Latte (a great nude/ brown shade)SAR 200+Paris Gallery

I hope this helps you take the first tentative steps into the world of makeup. Take it from me, experimenting is half the fun, so please take my recommendations as a guide only and get products you feel complement your own looks. You can also check out What Not To Do While Shopping for Makeup in Jeddah for more details on how to get the most out of your makeup shopping experience in Jeddah.

Good luck!

Bee

Ask Bee: 10 Essential Arabic phrases I learnt in my first month in Jeddah…and you should too!


Due to the sheer numbers of expatriates in Jeddah, it is common to see people coming here to settle all the time. It is quite true, that with the aid of rapid hand gestures and basic English, one can manage perfectly well on a day to day basis without any knowledge of the Arabic language. However, those who have been here a while will agree that understanding and usage of a few choice words makes one’s life that much easier.

In this month’s blog post, Bee addresses the concerns of a newly-settled resident who frets that she is unable to communicate in the local language and gives us 10 of the most commonly used Arabic words to get us going 🙂 If you think Bee has left out a word or phrase of vital importance, leave a comment and let us know !

About Bee

Bee is a 30 something mother, wife, corporate consultant and a bona fide prodigy in the art of shelling out unnecessary, unsolicited and often useless advice. The kind people at her office actually pay her for doing this on an hourly daily basis and she returns the kindness by making them lose sleep over random pointless issues. She currently lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with her very sane husband (he takes after his mother) and her two not very sane children (they too take after their mother). Her own personal hell would be to have nothing to do with no-one paying her for pretending to have nothing to do.

“Before I moved to Jeddah, I was a hip-swinging, fist-pumping hippy who liked to party all night and didn’t know a word of Arabic. The above is not really true except maybe the last bit; my knowledge of the language was rudimentary at best. I knew a few words here and there from the Quran but didn’t know the contextual use or even the Saudi pronunciation so even when I used those words, I got completely blank stares from the locals.”

Having dealt with this blank stare marathon at numerous occasions I decided to arm myself with the must-know-can’t-survive-without list of Arabic phrases. These phrases along with a clever mix of expressive sign language will make your life and transition much easier. I promise you that!

Read more…

Ask Bee: What NOT to do While Shopping for Make-up in Jeddah


For the fairer sex, make-up shopping can be a bit of a dilemma in Jeddah for several reasons. There are no female sales persons, there isn’t a culture of giving out make-up samples, and generally customer service isn’t top notch. Add a ‘yet’ to all that. All these factors could lead to a situation where you end up deciding against your better judgment.  Our last query for Ask Bee was about make-up shopping. We told you that randomness isn’t a problem with Bee, and she’s tried her hand at everything from belly-dancing to website designing and everything in between. Turns out she has been struggling with make-up and make-up shopping issues herself.  In her dictionary, for this chapter, the pitfalls to avoid are more important than the rules to follow.  She is happy to share her list here, so that you can learn from her mistakes, and avoid walking around like the bride of Frankenstein like she did.

If you have any questions for Bee, send us a message at team.jeddah.blog@gmail.com with the title Ask Bee.

About Bee

Bee is a 30 something mother, wife, corporate consultant and a bona fide prodigy in the art of shelling out unnecessary, unsolicited and often useless advice. The kind people at her office actually pay her for doing this on an hourly daily basis and she returns the kindness by making them lose sleep over random pointless issues. She currently lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with her very sane husband (he takes after his mother) and her two not very sane children (they too take after their mother). Her own personal hell would be to have nothing to do with no-one paying her for pretending to have nothing to do. 

“Now my next frustration is about make-up. I still haven’t got it in my system to apply make-up except for special occasions. Now that I am in my early 30’s and I am applying for work, I would like to have a decent make-up kit (& more or less learn how to use it.. haha). In my home country, you just need to go to the department store and ask for a demo or consultation so you’ll know which ones works for you. Here there are no girls to do that for you and you just rely on samples dabbed on your hand. 😦
Do you know of make-up stores which have this service? Or has an all female staff here in Jeddah?”
  Make-up Newbie

Even though I consider myself a veritable authority in all things Jeddah (or life in general), makeup is one area where till about one year ago I was ermm…not quite an authority. So what did I do? Did I go around looking like the bride of Frankenstein? Yes, and no. According to my last estimate, I have spent about 2,500 riyals on a total of 17 useless make-up products. I still have half-used bottles with me if anyone is interested. What these products gave me was a mix of pimples, burn marks (true story) and a lot of unnecessary attention from random people on the street. In order to save you from the same nightmare that I went through before I became make-up savvy, I am giving below my list of things NOT to do while shopping for makeup in Jeddah.

                  

 

Create your own Bible for make-up shopping. once you master the do’s and, more importantly, the don’t’s, the whole experience can turn out to be not just joyful but very productive.

  1. DO NOT listen to the salesman: The last time I did that, he sold me an overpriced bottle of foundation that made me look like a cross between a sunburned transvestite and a plastic surgery victim. The sales man is there to do his job, but you are smart. DO NOT follow him no matter how persuasive he is, and  make your own logical decisions.
  1. DO NOT buy on a whim: sometimes when you enter a store, you see a gorgeous-looking woman staring at you from a poster, beckoning you to buy that magic potion which will make you look as photo-shopped as her. DON’T buy that stuff. She looks so great with a clever mix of graphic, forgiving camera angles, lighting and a dozen other products.

 
Keep your sense of reality intact when buying make-up. That thing on the wall is a poster. It is not real. Repeat that to yourself. A lot more than a simple product purchase went into the dazzling look of the model.  Just because the two things are physically close to each other, it doesn’t mean there is a logical connection between the two. Although they’re trying hard to dupe you into believing so.

  1. DO NOT buy without trying: Since Jeddah is this weird place that does not offer samples of makeup products; I have created a hack to get over this limitation. All you need to do is to leave your inhibitions at home and bring a pill container with you. Yes, those plastic pill containers with days of the week printed on top. These are great for taking small amounts of makeup especially foundation from makeup counters. Instead of squeezing out a drop on your fingertips, put 2 (or 4) in your container and write the brand and shade on the section. You can get at least 7 different samples that you can try at home and decide which one works best with your skin and lifestyle.

 
Unlikely saviours? Think practical, think effective, and work your way around obstacles. So what if make-up samples don’t exist here (yet)? Why not put empty pill containers to good use?

  1. DO NOT believe the packaging: The packaging is meant to MAKE you buy that uber expensive item. Be smart; don’t fall for this age-old trick.
  1. DO NOT try on your hand:  Makeup of any kind especially foundation, blushers and lipsticks don’t look the same when you put them on your hand. Carry a pack of wipes (to wipe the item and your face after usage) with you and try every item on your face to know how it will work with your complexion. Foundation is best matched when applied on your jaw line toward your chin and cheek. If it blends well there and looks like second skin, that is the right shade for you.

  
  
Whatever our mothers and their mothers might have believed about trying make-up on the hand, it’s useless. The face. That’s where the action is going to be, and that’s where you should be trying on your foundation shades. 

  1. DO NOT buy without reading reviews: This is my holy grail of makeup tips. I have made a commitment to myself to not spend a single penny unless I know how other people feel about it. For real people reviews, the following two sites are the best:  Makeup Alley and Makeup and Beauty Blog (mostly MAC product reviews but a great site for newbies too).
  1. DO NOT buy without knowing how to use it: I have a few pots of stuff that have their names in French (or Greek, I don’t really know the difference) and I have no clue what to do with them. I bought them because they looked pretty and I hoped they would make me look pretty too…if only I knew how to use them. Get my drift? Watch these two amazing women that I have learnt a lot from and you will have most of your questions answered. And if these two don’t use it, don’t bother buying it.

Let the gurus guide you: When someone is wiser than you, just concede it. These two women know more about make-up than most of us ever will, so just take their word for it.

If you would like to read past columns of Ask Bee, simply Google her or click on the ‘Ask Bee’ tag in the right-hand column of Jeddah Blog.

Ask Bee: The (far from) Perfect Fit


“If you’re a woman, and into clothes, Jeddah’s buzzing mall scene is truly its most attractive highlight. With a new one sprouting every other week, the wares on offer keep getting more numerous and more sumptuous. If your wallet is well-beefed and your shopper’s mania soaring, almost nothing can bring your spirits down, except, maybe, the absence of fitting rooms. For all we know, in the long run, the situation might change soon! Until then, let us not keep you from spending those hard-earned riyals.

Bee pools in her two cents of wisdom on how to get past this last hedge….”

About Bee

Bee is a 30 something mother, wife, corporate consultant and a bona fide prodigy in the art of shelling out unnecessary, unsolicited and often useless advice. The kind people at her office actually pay her for doing this on an hourly daily basis and she returns the kindness by making them lose sleep over random pointless issues. She currently lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with her very sane husband (he takes after his mother) and her two not very sane children (they too take after their mother). Her own personal hell would be to have nothing to do with no-one paying her for pretending to have nothing to do.

“Dear Bee,

I moved to Saudi Arabia this year and have so far loved it. I enjoy shopping here, especially for my home and my kids. My biggest problem is when I have to shop for myself. I find it difficult to buy clothes without trying them on first. Clothes always look different when I  try them on at home. The sales are amazing, as is the variety of shops and malls, but how do I shop for myself in the absence of fitting rooms? Please help!”

– Shopaholic in-waiting

Dear Shopaholic in-waiting,

I lost my will to shop and to drown all my sorrows in shop receipts after I moved to Saudi Arabia and discovered the sad truth about no fitting rooms in shops. If you are a woman (or have an appetite like mine) you are always in-between sizes or your size varies on an hourly basis. Getting the right size off the racks therefore is a virtual impossibility. So what do we do…what do I do? Here’s what.

Make friends

The staff at the outlets are mostly friendly and understand the limitation of their outlets. See if you can talk to them about taking 3-4 pieces and trying them on in the mall restrooms. Some staff will let you take the pieces without paying and even if you have to pay, you can come back and get it exchanged on the spot if the pieces don’t work for you.

Make a date

Dedicate one day only for shopping. This works only if you don’t work or if your working hours are not determined by certain short, snotty and very loud people. Spending one full day only on shopping takes the pain out of going back and forth exchanging pieces that don’t fit or look ugly. You can get it all done and over with in one day where you can shop, go back home, try on the pieces and get them exchanged/ refunded the same day.

Look for the gems:

There are some places here in Jeddah where you do have try rooms. Salsa in the Red Sea Mall has one and so does Etre. Also the Ana Special Mall. Ask around for other outlets/ places who have try rooms and I am sure you will find a few more.

Ask Bee: Taking the Back Seat


New to Jeddah and missing the luxury of being behind the wheel? Does your husband come home and narrate horror stories about women and taxis in Jeddah? Have all drivers begun to look like potential molesters and serial killers? Do you feel imprisoned? Can’t seem to find your way between nightmare stories and the need to be out and about in town? Your commuting nightmare ends now. Our very own wisdom-dispenser, Bee, is here to the rescue.

About Bee

Bee is a 30 something mother, wife, corporate consultant and a bona fide prodigy in the art of shelling out unnecessary, unsolicited and often useless advice. The kind people at her office actually pay her for doing this on an hourly daily basis and she returns the kindness by making them lose sleep over random pointless issues. She currently lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with her very sane husband (he takes after his mother) and her two not very sane children (they too take after their mother). Her own personal hell would be to have nothing to do with no-one paying her for pretending to have nothing to do.

“Dear Bee, I have been in Jeddah for over a year now. I have adjusted to everything else, but I cannot get used to waiting around all day for my husband to come home to run the most basic of chores. I feel it’s very unfair for him, and I hate being crippled without him. He tells me that it’s completely unsafe for non-Arab women to take public taxis. I don’t see a way out. Please help if you know a way around this problem.”

– Wheel-less turning mindless

Dear Wheel-less turning mindless,

Ahhhh! The ever-present Saudi curse of wheel-less-ness…well, I will start off by saying “Welcome to Saudi Arabia”. Yes, it’s true that you will not be able to drive a car in this country (only lust after some amazing hot wheels on the road) but it’s also true that you are not destined to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement. Here are my top tips on how not to die of isolation and have a life out of the four walls:

1.      Get a cab! Yes it’s that simple. Contrary to what you may have heard about blood-sucking and child abducting taxi drivers here in KSA, getting a cab off the road is pretty safe. However, like all countries, you should not take a cab if you don’t have at least a general idea of where you are going. You need to know the basic Arabic words for “right”, “left”, “go Straight”, “stop” and “how much money” in case you end up with a non-English speaking driver. However, in my experience most of the taxi drivers understand the Basic English words. Also note that most residential compounds will not let a cab enter the gates so if you are going to a big compound or hate walking, make arrangements for someone to pick you from the compound gate.

As with everything, it’s not impossible! Nor as hard as it is made out to be. You CAN get a taxi in KSA safely. Just make sure you know your directions, along with the nominal Arabic terms.

2.      Ask for his number: Most cabbies will offer pick-and drop service if you live somewhere in their vicinity. If after a trip, you feel that the driver was decent and sensible, you can ask him if he will be available for a pick and drop if you give him a call.

3.      Create a portfolio: I have a huge portfolio of drivers and I suggest the same to you. Ask around for drivers living in your vicinity who provide pick n drop services to your neighbors and friends. At any given time you should have at least 6-8 numbers with you for drivers that are dependable and punctual. Also, if a driver ditches you once, he is a habitual ditcher so cross him off your list. The drivers with private cars are generally very punctual and trustworthy so when you find a good one, stick with him.
Keep asking for drivers’ numbers whenever you’re satisfied with their service, and build these up into a reliable portfolio. Very soon, you’ll have several contacts to count on when you need to set out.

 

4.      Get a second car: the last option is what most people don’t find feasible because of visa and residence issues for drivers. But if you can find a good driver with free iqama (and driver’s licence) and have a place for him to live, this is indeed your best bet.

Good luck with trying to venture out! It takes a while getting used to not having a car at your disposal, but it gets better with time. Promise!

Ask Bee: How to Find a Job in Jeddah


Forget Abigail Van Buren. We’ve got our own little expert on matters related to life in Saudi Arabia. She’s something of a know-it-all, and has opinion and information on everything from purchasing fancy grocery items to successfully nailing the ideal job.  We roped her in to share some nuggets of wisdom with us. Do you have any questions for her? Have you wondered where to go and splurge in Jeddah, how to spoil yourself silly, or, let’s say, who is the best dentist in town? Randomness doesn’t bother her, in fact, it turns her on. Whatever it is, wonder out loud, and send in your queries with the title ‘Ask Bee’ to team.jeddah.blog@gmail.com. She’d be happy to oblige.

In this first post, she addresses job hunting, a pressing issue for most women who’ve just moved to Saudi. Read on and find out.

About Bee

Bee is a 30 something mother, wife, corporate consultant and a bona fide prodigy in the art of shelling out unnecessary, unsolicited and often useless advice. The kind people at her office actually pay her for doing this on an hourly daily basis and she returns the kindness by making them lose sleep over random pointless issues. She currently lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with her very sane husband (he takes after his mother) and her two not very sane children (they too take after their mother). Her own personal hell would be to have nothing to do with no-one paying her for pretending to have nothing to do.

“Dear Bee, I’ve been in Jeddah for four months now. I applied to several companies for a job, sending my CV to the email addresses on the websites, but haven’t had any response as yet. General opinion is very discouraging regarding women and job opportunities. I’m sick of staying home and staring at the walls. Please help me before I go crazy, or eat my way to death!”

– Desperate Housewife in Saudi

Dear Desperate Housewife in Saudi

“I HEAR YA” is all I have to say about your situation because not too long ago I was in a similar one. Having moved here from a country that offered very attractive opportunities for smart well educated women (even if I say so myself), it was a nasty shock to be faced with the prospect of being unemployed merely because of cultural issues.  To add insult to injury, they put a not very discreet and perhaps a little threatening “not allowed to work” stamp on your visa so that any evil employment plan you may have in your head is nipped in the bud.

Finding a job in Saudi Arabia

Don’t go by hearsay about doomsday scenarios for women. Step into the field and prove them wrong.

That said, I will go ahead and make a sweeping generalization here; if you are sure you want to work, sooner or later you WILL land a job. Here are my top five tips for being successfully and gainfully employed in Saudi:

1.       Forget about sending CVs to the email addresses that do not belong to a person. Saudi companies are not very tech savvy and email addresses that start with info, HR, jobs, employment etc. never get opened. Instead go to the company contact page on their website and call the company office to get the email address of the HR manager…. or the CEO if you are like me!

Finding a job in Saudi Arabia 2

Hop straight to the top when job-hunting. Don’t bother with getting a foot in the pipeline, and expecting to be noticed. Most company email addresses are ghost addresses and not monitored.

2.       Most job vacancies never get advertised but the companies here are constantly in need of good talented people in all fields. I can’t even remember how many of my corporate clients have asked me if I know of any good people looking for jobs. Your best bet here is to choose the companies you want to work for and start applying (refer to tip above). The two links below are a good starting point because they generally have a higher percentage of women than usual:

Top 100 Saudi Arabian Companies

Best Saudi Companies to work for

Finding a job in Saudi Arabia 3

Contrary to what people believe, Saudi can be a land of opportunities once you get the hang of things. There is always a demand for educated, smart young women.



3.
       DO NOT underestimate the power of contacts. Talk to anyone and everyone you know and tell them that you are looking for a job. Most people will be willing to help and if they can’t get you a job, the least they can do is share the email address of the CEO/ HR manager etc. at their company so that you don’t go off shooting in the dark.

4.       Update your LinkedIn and Bayt.com profiles. More and more companies here in KSA are hiring through LinkedIn especially when it comes to one-off projects. Put your qualification etc, join relevant local groups and do not forget to mention that you are an Iqama holder and are willing to work flexible or on project basis.

5.       My last tip and something that takes bit of courage is to take this opportunity to become an entrepreneur. Whatever your passion is; be it cooking, dancing, fitness, writing, teaching etc.  Saudi is a land of opportunities. I know of people who have started small home based businesses, promoted themselves through Social Media (Facebook etc.) and are now making more money than their paycheck back home. Above all, you get to live your dream!

 Do you have a question for Bee? Write in to team.jeddah.blog@gmail.com with ‘Ask Bee’ in the subject.

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