Excerpted from the United Arab Emirates Guide.
Cover Letter Guidelines
In the UAE, cover letters are always used. They should be tailored to suit each specific company.
Cover letters should be typed on white or cream-colored paper in Word format. They should have the address of the applicant in the top left hand corner followed by the address of the prospective employer. If the name of the hiring manager is known, it is better to address him/her by name. If one is unsure, it is safer to begin by using Dear/Respected Sir/Madam. The content of the letter should indicate the candidate’s enthusiasm for the position as well as his/her suitability.
The position should be clearly mentioned in the body of the letter. The writer should specify how he/she learned about the opening. If stating ‘newspaper’ as the source of reference, state the name of the newspaper. If the referral was made by a person, state the person’s name and designation.
Resume/CV Guidelines and Samples
Like the cover letter, the resume also needs to be clear, concise and well presented. The appropriate length is usually two pages of A4 size paper. The paper should be white or cream. Use a good, clear typeface in plain black ink. It is usually a Word processed document that may be hand delivered, posted or emailed to an employer.
While attaching the resume to the cover letter in an email, remember to include one’s name on the attached document, as an organization may receive several such files and the document may get lost in the pile. Key words are important in all resumes but more so when computerized selection procedures are involved. It is therefore important to include positions, occupational background, knowledge areas, specific skills, qualifications and outstanding achievements.
What most applicants in UAE tend to do that is different from resumes in the West is to include a lot of identifying information, such as nationality, passport number, driver’s license information, visa status, date of birth, marital status and sponsorship information. (If one is an expat living in Dubai, one needs a sponsor; the sponsor could be an educational institution, a parent/spouse or a company.) Recent Emirati graduates tend to include their TOEFL scores to indicate proficiency in the English language. Applicants on visitor visas are allowed to apply for positions but are not legally permitted to work until obtaining an employment sponsor and a labor card. Some candidates give their personal details in the first part of the resume while others present it in the end, under the section labeled ‘personal details.’ Some resumes also feature the candidate’s photograph in the top right hand corner of the document, but this is not mandatory. Unless specified, it is best to leave it out as the document could become too heavy.
You'll find much more advice and resume samples in the complete United Arab Emirates Guide.