People: A Bagful of Jobs
Nofel Izz, a self-confessed ‘product’ of Dubai, is making a difference to people’s lives all the way from Canada — through his online recruiting agency
The beauty of people in Dubai is that they understand any kind of accent without people having to repeat themselves,” laughs 34-year-old Nofel Izz, entrepreneur and managing director of jobsindubai.com, a recruitment website serving more than 4.2 million job seekers the world over. “So, the process of getting my English accent right, or losing what I had, was a challenge for me!” Maybe it is because he was born in Dubai, his dad is from India, mom from Pakistan, and had Arab and Iranian friends, plus had moved to Canada, he sees himself as a blend of internatinal cultures.
Nofel’s success story is not without the usual hardships. He moved to Toronto in 1997 to pursue higher studies and juggled several evening jobs. “It was hard to concentrate on school when you had to go to work in the evening,” he remembers. His first real break came in 2000 when he joined the Bank of Montreal in Toronto as a relationship manager. “While I was working for the bank, I was still trying to figure out what I really wanted to do in life since I was good at IT solutions. I had completed my Canadian Securities Course and a year of E-Commerce before it hit me that the online industry was where I wanted to be.”
Even though it was the era of dotcom firms going bust, he started a company with three others, creating small systems for larger corporations like WebSonic. Soon after he branched out on his own and started jobsindubai.com. By then, he had figured out how exportable skills were from Canada to Dubai, and vice versa. “Quitting a nine to five job was the start. I have always been inclined to start new ventures ever since, which is what I do every year, some successful, some not. It is a risk I enjoy taking,” he points out.
His parents were not happy with his choice initially, but a few years down the line they finally understood how it benefited him. Today, jobsindubai.com is a key ingredient in the UAE’s recruitment market.
Although not the only jobs website in Dubai, Nofel relishes the challenge of competition. “I consider competition very healthy. It motivates us all to do better.”
Once Nofel was self-employed, there was no turning back. “I won’t say I am successful now, and I probably won’t say it in the future. All I can say is that I am doing well and would like to do even better.”
His formula for success? Nofel lists a few pointers: “Listen to the voice in your head and take risks in life, count the number of productive hours you put into a day, and, last but not least, make as many friends as you can.”
More recently, he has launched connect.com, which aims to be the largest Middle East-based networking website which will ‘connect’ people looking for employment and immigration-related matters.
Nofel also offers advice for job seekers hit by recession that is affecting the Middle East and beyond. “Be patient! Many times job seekers register with a website or agency and want an immediate response.
“It is important for them to understand that an employer is supplied with over 1,000 resumes per day. Feedback may take a while.
“It is also vital to have an excellent resume, which has less chances of being overlooked by an HR manager.”
The basis for selection depends on what an employer is looking for in an employee. “Nowadays, nationality is becoming insignificant and a strong educational and career background has taken over for employers when they decide on the perfect candidate.”
As for those looking to follow in his footsteps and venture out into the business world on their own, Nofel says,“Do what you want to do and do not take advice from someone on what career path you should follow — what works for others might not necessarily work for you.”
“Do something productive with your time. We live in a world of technology after all. Maybe help someone understand it better, why not help your grandpa to get online!”
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