The art of job-hunting

By Roopa Raveendran Menon

People often keep their eyes peeled for new professional opportunities, especially if they feel there’s much more they can get out of their profession, or that they have much more to offer.

The good news is that there are solutions to be found, preparations to be made, and strategies to be revised. So, get busy.

Applying for a job is an art by itself. A major reason why many job-seekers fail to get that coveted offer is that they’re unable to successfully navigate the application process. While there’s no fool-proof formula, you can give yourself the best chance by doing adequate research, fine-tuning your resume, and preparing for the interview. After all, as the adage goes, success is when opportunity meets preparedness.

Top recent HR statistics have noted some interesting trends. A survey conducted by CareerBuilder, an online employment website founded since 1995, revealed that around 60 per cent of job applicants quit in the middle of filling out an online job application because they find the length and complexity of the form highly daunting. Another survey conducted by Career Arc, HR technology company helping businesses recruit employees, showed that a typical job applicant spends around 3-4 hours preparing and submitting one job application, while around 72 per cent of the employers spend less than 15 minutes in reviewing one application.

Meanwhile, HR professionals in the region have also revealed some of the factors that can hamper the applicant’s chances.

Rose Alapatt, Head of Talent Management at a UAE-based company, reveals to 999, “Resumes that are poorly proof-read and have spelling errors, especially in the company’s name, can be a put-off. It shows that the candidate is sloppy and not serious about their application.”

Even a bad resume design can hinder your career. Dubai-based Judy Santos was working as an administration assistant in her home country. She got married last year and moved to the UAE. Soon afterwards, she started looking for a job, but despite applying to a number of companies, she never got any interview calls for three months. “I had the experience and qualification, but I didn’t know what I was doing wrong,” she recalls. As a last resort, Santos sought the help of an HR consultant friend. “He evaluated my resume and pointed out that it had some classic resume mistakes such as poor design and choice of fonts, use of repetitive words and phrases, dense blocks of text etc,” she adds. As soon as she started sending out her new and improved resume, the interview calls followed. “Now I’m completing one month in my new job. I’m so glad I took proactive steps to amend my situation,” says a happy Santos.

The length and clarity of the resume matter as well. Prashanth Edasseri, Chief People Consultant and CEO, Gravity-The Holding Force, advises job applicants to keep their resumes brief and to the point. He tells 999, “Candidates must refrain from submitting long, tedious resumes filled with irrelevant information.”

The competition out there is brutal and every misstep along the way can cost you a good offer. So, let 999 steer you through this process.

MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE

It’s common knowledge that a job-hunt can look like a very complex process. Nonetheless, a well-prepared candidate can get through this maze if they understand the factors that come into play.

Edasseri highlights some key points that must be kept in mind for jobs at all levels: entry level, mid-level, or senior level. The first point is networking, making yourself visible. Even for those at the senior level, this factor is vital. He asserts, “Most people underestimate the power of networking. Today, more and more positions are getting filled without being advertised or posted on well-known job sites. Especially, at the middle or senior level, a referral is more likely to get you the position than conventionally applying to a job site or portal.”

With referral-based hiring happening on such a large scale, Edasseri advises all job applicants to step outside their homes and offices, visit exhibitions, forums, and other industry events, and interact and mingle with people from their profession. He says, “Quit focusing on old ways of securing a job; go out and meet people and look at every interaction as a possible opportunity.”

BUILD YOUR OWN BRAND

Finding and building a personal brand is not for celebrities alone. It is, in fact, the secret ingredient that can make you stand out while scouting for a job. Edasseri tells 999, “Developing your personal brand is a great way to manage your career progression and how you’re recognised in the marketplace. A strong personal brand can successfully impact your ability to get the right jobs and promotions.” He recommends that job applicants should identify their strengths, unique traits, and the areas where they excel. “Once their uniqueness and strengths are identified, then they can hone them and take ownership of them,” he says. Also, Edasseri adds, “A big part of building your brand involves continuous learning.”

BE ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media platforms, if used effectively, can significantly help with building your personal brand. Additionally, they can play a crucial role in getting you closer to that dream job. Based on the 2018 CareerBuilder survey, around 70 per cent of employers utilise social media to monitor candidates during the hiring process.

Edasseri says, “Usually, job-seekers that are from the old school of thought often avoid or dismiss social media. However, they must be on social media and use it as a platform to share their intelligent and thought-provoking ideas, as those might catch the interest of a potential employer.

“As for millennials, who are reportedly more active on social media, they must maintain proper social media decorum and etiquette, as a negative social media image can often be a red flag for prospective employers.”

RESEARCH THE COMPANY

So, now that you have a job interview on your schedule, congratulate yourself for crossing the first hurdle in the job-hunting race. The interview preparation phase is a crucial one. A survey of Classes and Careers, found that 33% of bosses say they know within 90 seconds whether they will hire someone or not. In another survey by the global staffing agency Accountemps, 90 per cent of HR managers usually make up their mind in the first 20 minutes, so use your time wisely to impress them.

Meanwhile, Alapatt puts forth some interviews tips and recommendations that will help job-seekers ace their interview. “Doing your homework is a crucial part of the interview preparation,” she tells 999. “Every job applicant must visit the website of the prospective employer and scan it thoroughly, as this will give them an idea of their mission, values, and vision.” She also points out, “While exploring the website, a job applicant should look for reasons to work for this employer, since he/she can impress them by stating simple but convincing reasons to work for the company. Doing enough groundwork and research will help one frame thought-provoking questions that a job applicant can later ask the interviewer.”

DRESS PROPERLY AND WORK ON YOUR CONFIDENCE

Emphasising on the importance of being professionally dressed, Alapatt explains, “One thing that many job applicants underestimate is their attire and appearance. A job applicant must be dressed in a manner that is appropriate to the position for which he/she is applying.” She also recommends avoiding loud or gaudy colours and keeping their accessories and jewellery to the minimum. “Ensure that your hair is neatly styled,” she adds.

Your appearance matters as you walk into the interview room. And then your personality has to take over. You have to give confident answers to interviewers’ questions. And this is where candidates sometimes falter. Abu Dhabi-based Arun Shah, an information technology professional, looked for better prospects for a long while. Being well-qualified and experienced, he’d often get interview calls; it was at the interview that he’d stumble. Shah says, “There was no dearth of interview calls, but I’d get so nervous at the interview that I’d either go blank or mumble some answer. I was never able to properly explain what I do and this cost me several job opportunities.”

Finally, after doing some mock interview sessions with his friends who have been working in the UAE for quite some time now, his composure improved. “Little by little, I was able to gain confidence and present my answers in an articulate manner. Now, I’m able to face a panel with ease,” says Shah, who recently got a job offer from a major IT firm.

This strategy is also recommended by Alapatt. She says, “One way to alleviate your nervousness is by doing mock interviews. Seek professional help or ask one of your friends to do a mock interview session with you.” However, she also cautions job applicants against memorising or rote learning their lines as this could stress them out if they can’t recall what they have to say.

AND MAKE IT ON TIME

Punctuality is non-negotiable, says Alapatt. “Ensure that you have enough time to get to the interview, as rushing amplifies stress. Being late leaves a negative impression.” She advises candidates to smile politely and make eye contact, as this gives the prospective employer the impression that you’re open-minded and articulate. Finally, she counsels job applicants to be themselves. “One can’t emphasise enough about the importance of this,” she says. “Pretending to be someone you are not or suppressing your personality will not help you as most of the interviewers will be able to see through your artifice.”

Things to avoid during the interview

For a job applicant, knowing what not to do in an interview is as important as having a perfectly crafted resume. While job interviews can be subjective, HR expert Rose Alapatt has identified some common interview mistakes that candidates must avoid.

– Avoid arriving late.
– Avoid being inappropriately dressed.
– Avoid talking too much. Be brief in your responses.
– Avoid giving monosyllabic answers, as that can put off interviewers.
– Avoid taking any calls or answering any messages during the interview.

Write a winning CV

For a job applicant, one of the tensest tasks is putting together a perfectly crafted resume aka CV or polishing the current one. However, even the most experienced of job applicants can make faux pas in their CVs, thus thwarting their chances.

Prashanth Edasseri, Chief People Consultant and CEO, Gravity-The Holding Force, shares some tips to craft a winning resume:

– Most recruiters and employers have only a short time to scan your resume, so it should be well-designed and professional fonts must be used to make it a clear and easy read.
– Use a one-inch margin size on all sides of your resume, and maintain a single space between the lines. To avoid too much white space, consider spacing lines by 1.15 or 1.5 or you can also spread your margins if it’s difficult to add more information to your resume, but the margins should remain below two inches.
– Try to use effective words such as “accomplished”, “earned”, “completed.” The content must be simple and easy to read.
– Even though you might have comprehensive work or educational experience, it’s important to keep your resume short and straight to the point. Your resume must not be longer than two pages.
– Ensure that the resume includes a professionally shot photograph of the job-seeker. Avoid using photographs from your holidays or social gatherings.
– To avoid glaring typos or grammatical errors, always ensure that your resume is thoroughly proof-read.

Tips to master before your job interview

Here are the takeaways that can help you prepare for your future job interview:

9 out of 10
HR managers who usually make up their mind in the first 20 minutes. As a piece of advice, impress them as soon as your interview begins

7 out of 10
Employers who have a negative perception on applicants who ‘dress to kill’

7 out of 10
Job applicants who quit in the middle of filling out an online job application because they find the length and complexity of the form highly daunting

15 minutes
More than 7 out of 10 employers who spend less than 15 minutes in reviewing one application

7 out of 10
Employers who say that personal deal-breakers, such as including irrelevant information or unprofessional e-mail address, are enough to reject a candidate

7 out of 10
Employers who utilise social media to monitor candidates during the hiring process

3-4 hours
A typical job applicant spends in preparing and submitting one job application

90 seconds
Amount of time employers spend to determine whether they will hire someone or not

Are you one of these seven types of jobseekers?

Based on 999’s conversations with various HR professionals in the UAE, if you’re still unable to secure the position you want, then perhaps it’s time to take a good hard look at yourself and see if you fall in any of the seven categories.

1. The Invisible
This applicant loves to apply for jobs. He will spend hours in a day applying for a vast selection of jobs. However, the moment you call and inform him that he has been selected for an interview, all his enthusiasm evaporates. He commits to come for an interview but is often a no-show. DrJohnSullivan.com, a talent management thought leadership, has cited the reason behind the growing number of no-shows at interviews, by interestingly comparing going for an interview to “going to the dentist”.

2. The Competitive
This job applicant takes himself and his accomplishments way too seriously. He is fiercely competitive and loves to list out all his accomplishments, including those from his school days and maybe even kindergarten. Don’t be surprised if you find the line ‘Secured first place in fancy dress competition, KG 2,’ in this job applicant’s resume. According to a 2018 survey conducted by TopResume, at least 70 per cent of employers reported that personal deal-breakers, such as including irrelevant information or unprofessional e-mail address, are enough to reject a candidate before they even finished reading the resume.

3. The Die-hard Optimist
Now, amongst job applicants, there are optimists and then there are die-hard optimists. The die-hard optimists are those that send their CVs to the same job portals every day, irrespective of job postings or openings. Possibly, this job applicant is a great believer in the law of probability or trusts that applying for a job is akin to winning a lottery: if you don’t succeed at first, try, try, try, till you succeed, or perhaps till the recruiter blocks your e-mail. According to an article by efinancialcareers, one of the 11 ways to ruin your chances with recruiters is pestering or stalking employers.

4. The Commitment-Phobic
This is an interesting kind of job applicant. They do everything by the book, right from applying for the appropriate position to acing several rounds of interviews. Finally, when it comes down to accepting the offer, they often get cold feet and remain non-committal. According to an article of the Business Insider, millennials tend to be commitment-phobic and they have a tendency to move from one job opportunity to another.

5. The Mobile Addict
This job applicant will never turn their mobiles off during the interview. You know you’re in the presence of The Mobile Addict when, right before the interview begins, they fish out their mobile from their bag and place it on the table. And throughout the interview, they will sneak a peek at the mobile. Some of these job applicants take it as far as even taking a call during the interview. According to a senior official from ManPower Group, since millennials have been technology-enabled, they have a different way of connecting, which makes them struggle with traditional interviews where it’s all about personal interaction.

6. The Blabbermouth
This job applicant can talk endlessly during an interview. They end up talking about anything and everything, sometimes even leaving the interviewer confused and in a tizzy. Brevity as a concept is lost on them. A small word of advice for them is to take a pause and a deep breath after every two sentences. Also, if you think that talking a lot means a better chance of getting the job, then you couldn’t be more wrong. Based on a survey of around 2,000 bosses, trying to be all things to all people and over-explaining are amongst the top ten mistakes job applicants make during interviews.

7. The Image-Conscious
This job applicant is never available for an immediate or on-the-spot interview opportunity. They pride themselves on dazzling their interviewer by over-dressing to impress. Often, they’ll ask for a week or two to prep for the interview, where a grooming session in the salon is given more importance than diving into the company’s literature. But does this work? According to the survey of around 2,000 bosses, at least 70 per cent of the employers claimed that they didn’t want applicants who ‘dress to kill’.

The deadly trend of muscle boosters

By Heba Hashem

For a lot of young people, getting a perfect body is necessary to be able to conform to society’s standards of beauty and masculinity. Heedless of the cost, many of them are willing to pump themselves with physique-enhancing supplements or take unlicensed diet pills. But the risk is too high for those who use ‘muscle boosters’ without proper expert advice and medical prescription.

A case that has recently made headlines is that of Abu Dhabi-based South African teen Tristan Alberts. In his quest for the perfect physique, he had tried taking insulin without medical prescription. But what he believed to be an easy way to develop muscles sent him into a hypoglycaemic coma.

“We only found out the day my wife found my son unconscious in his bedroom. After the paramedics came, I found a syringe on his bed and it was insulin. Someone gave it to him. We have no idea how many times he took it, how he took it, when he took it, or who gave it to him,” says Tristan’s father, Neville Alberts, speaking to 999.

He adds, “When you’re diabetic, you’ve got to take a certain amount of insulin to control the blood sugar levels. If you’re not a diabetic, how do you know how much insulin you need to release the enzymes, and how much you should take before it puts you in a state of hypoglycaemia? Unless you go to a doctor, you would never know how much you need to use.”

That day, when his mother found him, was three years ago. Now 23, Tristan remains in a semi-conscious state. He cannot see, speak, walk, or move his arms.

“For them to give this product to my son is totally illegal,” says Neville. Tristan’s family also has to swallow the bitter pill of his growing medical bills, which now reach almost Dhs46,000 every month, much more than what they can afford. “Currently, I’m paying for everything myself; nobody is helping me at all,” says the father, who works as a manager of an automobile firm and is his family’s only breadwinner.

Neville adds, “I want other parents to be aware and know what their kids are doing. They need to go and look at the gym that their child is going to, and make sure that it’s 100 per cent safe. They also need to talk to their kids and tell them that ‘if you get approached with a product, speak to us so we can make sure it’s a safe supplement and not an enhancement drug.’”

The father shares, “I go to see my son every single day. Every morning before I go to work, I visit him first; and after work, I go to see him again. I never miss one day without seeing my son.”

Potentially lethal

As a natural hormone produced by the pancreas, insulin controls our blood sugar level, keeping it from getting too high or too low. At the same time, it helps feed muscles during intense exercise, prevents muscle breakdown, and improves performance.

While it’s a lifesaver for people with diabetes, unprescribed insulin intake has become a deadly trend amongst bodybuilders who use it often in combination with steroids to make their muscles bulge. That explains why the International Olympic Committee has banned it since 1998.

One of the highly-publicised cases of insulin abuse happened in England in 2016, when 35-year-old aspiring wrestler was found dead in his home. An inquest into his death raised questions about whether insulin played a role.

Health experts caution

The Ministry of Health has constantly been issuing caution amongst gym-goers on taking physique-enhancing drugs without proper medical prescription. Dr Ameen Hussain Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing Sector at the UAE Ministry of Health, has warned sports centres that offer steroids, saying, “It is against the law and logic for people to be turning to steroids to gain muscle. The Ministry should be notified if any sport centres are found to be distributing these drugs to bodybuilders.”

Meanwhile, Dr Osman El-Labban, Family Medicine Consultant and Head of the Department at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai, tells 999 that misusing insulin can lead to mood changes induced by fluctuations in blood sugar control, which may result in a higher prevalence of depression and anxiety, and even euphoria at times. Additionally, a high dose of insulin can lead to convulsions and coma due to a marked drop in blood sugar level.

“Insulin, which is responsible for maintaining a normal blood sugar level, is being taken in the belief that it increases skeletal muscle mass and improves body performance,” says Dr El-Labban.

Effects of steroids

The most widely abused drug type, however, is not insulin; it is anabolic-androgenic steroids, which include all synthetic derivatives, both oral and injectable, of the two natural male hormones testosterone and dihydrotestosterone.

According to Dr El-Labban, anabolic-androgenic steroids are taken for their desirable cosmetic effects, defined by an increase in muscle mass and strength. Moreover, these steroids reduce the muscle damage that occurs during hard work, helping athletes to recover more quickly and allowing them to work out more frequently.

But the side effects should be enough to put anyone off. Men could develop prominent breasts, infertility, and prostate gland enlargement; women could get a deeper voice, which may be irreversible, as well as increased body hair and hair loss.

Both genders will be susceptible to liver abnormalities and tumours, high blood pressure, heart and blood circulation problems, and aggressive behaviours. Premature death has also been associated with anabolic steroid use, with suicide and acute myocardial infarction being the two most common causes, Dr El-Labban says. “Many athletes take anabolic steroids at doses that are much higher than those prescribed for medical reasons,” explains the doctor, adding that such drugs have serious side effects.

The online sale

Because of the ease of online purchase, the previously unobtainable and expensive steroids have now become freely available “Most of these products come from people or fly-by-night stores that have not been licensed to sell the drugs in the country, and they’re not in compliance with international standards; therefore, they may contain impurities,” Dr El-Labban explains.

Matt Towers, co-founder of The Foundation Personal Training in Dubai, notes that long-term use of PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs) could also lead to severe mood swings, heightened aggression, enlargement of the heart, and changes in blood pressure. “Another issue to consider is the negative effects PEDs can have on the psychology of the user,” he shares with 999. “The gain in muscle and increased confidence that steroids give the user can be a real issue as they lose their size when they stop their steroid intake cycle. This can lead to body dysmorphia, depression, an inevitable return to steroids, and potential steroid abuse.”

Growth hormones, which are often taken along with insulin and anabolic steroids, could also cause an unexpected growth in other parts of the body. “I knew two different people who swore their tongues and arms both grew while taking growth hormone,” says Towers, who has been living in the UAE for eight years now and has more than 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry as a trainer.

Get ripped, safely

Despite the dangers associated with PEDs, many people still want results twice as fast but with half the work. For personal trainers like Towers, it’s often an uphill struggle to manage expectations related to building lean muscle mass. He says, “What makes this even more difficult is when unrealistic levels of muscle are constantly reinforced by other trainers who use drugs, and in the media through magazines and major movie stars.”

Towers believes that building muscle the old-fashioned way – by lifting weights and having a great diet – can help a person gain up to 2.4lbs (1kg) per month. The actual muscle mass gain depends on four variables.

One: the more experienced a lifter you are, the less you can expect to grow. Two: the better your diet is, the more you can expect to gain; this is a balance between calories in and out and the quality of those calories. Three: the kind of training you’re doing. Four: your genetics.

Meanwhile, Dr El-Labban advises gym-goers who want to maximise muscle gain to make sure they meet three criteria: eating more calories than they burn; consuming more protein than they break down; and following an exercise programme that is challenging to their muscles. “Some athletes make performance enhancement their priority, but this comes at a high cost,” he says. “Don’t let the initial physical achievements from using performance-enhancing drugs blind you to the long-term risks and complications – always remember that harmful and prohibited drugs are risky.”

Banned supplements

The UAE has already banned a long list of harmful PEDs, including anabolic steroids, androstenedione & dehydroepiandrosterone, erythropoietin, ephedrine & pseudoephedrine, and human growth hormone, according to Dr El-Labban.

“The Ministry of Health and Prevention has issued a warning to the public on the dangers of bodybuilding products sold online. The Department of Health has also issued a warning against 378 weight-loss supplements. The public can check if a medication is certified by checking the Ministry of Health’s approved medicine list, Dubai Drug Coding List, and the Health Authority Abu Dhabi list,” he says. “Dubai Municipality has also issued a warning against 15 slimming medicines that have been confiscated from the market for containing harmful ingredients.”

According to Towers, the UAE has a zero-tolerance policy on the use of recreational drugs, including anabolic steroids. Therefore, the first risk is that of arrest. “As steroids aren’t legal, they by nature have to be procured via illegal means. This then becomes an immediate risk to health, as you can’t guarantee that what you’re paying for is what it’s supposed to be,” he points out.

Towers advises athletes to regularly check the Ministry of Health’s website for updates because things can sometimes change very quickly. “If you’re an athlete who wishes to compete drug-free, then you should check the lists provided by the World Anti-Doping Agency and compare them with any supplements you use,” he says. “For the time being, anabolic steroids are and will hopefully continue to be illegal.”

The power of pedalling patrols

In the UAE, residents and visitors are not only awed by the policing efficiency, but also by the highend police vehicles. The fleet includes headline-making cars such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Aston Martin, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Audi. These patrol cars are amazing on wide roads when chasing criminals or reaching a victim quickly. But through dense traffic or in an area with narrow alleyways, the UAE police have a very different, very agile solution: bicycles.

When we see someone cycling down the road, we think of a fitness enthusiast. But in the UAE, depending on the colour of the bicycle and the cyclist’s clothes, this could be a patrolling policeman. Abu Dhabi Police had introduced the bike patrols in October 2016, Sharjah got them in November 2016, and Dubai followed in 2018.

Abu Dhabi Police had introduced the bike patrols in October 2016. Its police patrol cyclists go out in pairs and are fluent in at least two languages

Abu Dhabi Police told 999 that bike patrols have dealt with more than 10,000 different security cases since 2016. And in mid-September this year, just 18 months after they were launched, Dubai Police bike patrols had arrested 83 wanted criminals. Thanks to their manoeuvrability and compact size, the bikes can reach where cars can’t, and they can cut off the escape routes for criminals.

These bike patrols are evidence of the UAE police forces’ ability to revise and expand their law enforcement strategy, implement new methods, enhance police training, as well as try mobility options that would complement the traditional patrol cars.

The police bicycles and patrolling cyclists have some distinguishing features: the bikes are equipped with emergency lights; they carry communication devices that connect them to the central operations room; the patrolmen wear special police uniforms. The Abu Dhabi Police bike patrols go out in pairs and their officers are fluent in at least two languages. Explaining their necessity in order to cut emergency response time, Abu Dhabi Police said, “Police patrol bicycles will be capable of reaching traffic accident and crime scenes promptly.”

“These bike patrols can access all traffic or criminal scenes through the use of roads and side lanes until the arrival of security and traffic patrols vehicles. It enables police to assess and deal with the situation in advance,” the Abu Dhabi Police further explained in a statement to 999.

“Security bicycle patrols are considered an added value to improve the field performance of the police institutions, their ability to manoeuvre and reach all places, and maintain public order during events,” Abu Dhabi Police added.

IT FEELS SAFER

UAE residents love the idea of bike patrols, since they make the police presence much more visible and act as a crime deterrent. Nurah Khan, an Indian national who has lived and worked in Abu Dhabi for 12 years now, said, “Their visibility makes us confident that no road is too narrow for the police to catch criminals. And that makes residents feel safe even when walking at night.”

Mildred Baron, a Filipino expat who lives in Deira, Dubai, lauds the addition of bicycle patrols to the UAE police fleets. “I don’t think people should see bicycle patrol as a downgrade from the already ‘fast and furious’ UAE patrol fleet,” she said. “It goes to show that the UAE police would continue to employ and update their policing measures by all means to serve the public better.”

Residential neighbourhoods, commercial centres, green spaces, beaches, parks, subways, and tourist areas are the patrol posts for Abu Dhabi police bike patrollers.

The bicycle patrols of Dubai Police managed to cover places frequented by locals and tourists e.g. La Mer, City Walk, Deira Souk, Bur Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Residence area, Al Muraqqabat, and Al Rigga.

HIGH EFFICIENCY

Praising these bike patrols, Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commanderin- Chief of Dubai Police, said, “The police bicycle patrollers have demonstrated high efficiency and performance, thanks to their high fitness levels and professional training.” He added that increased police visibility through the bicycle patrols was aligned with the emirate’s aim for community happiness, safe city, and innovation in institutional capacity.

“Dubai has become a global tourist destination attracting millions of visitors annually, and we’re keen to achieve pioneering positions in all fields,” added Al Marri.

The bicycle patrols of Dubai Police cover places frequented by locals and tourists like La Mer, City Walk, Deira Souk, Bur Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Residence area, Al Muraqqabat, and Al Rigga

The 83 arrests made by Dubai Police bike patrollers in just 18 months means at least four wanted criminals a month on an average, pointed out Major General Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Commander-in-Chief of Criminal Investigation Affairs, Dubai Police.

He said that bike patrols could very easily move from one spot to another, and their visibility made it easier for people to directly report to them the details of any incidents. The patrols have created a fear amongst criminals that they’d get caught red-handed; inversely, residents feel much less afraid of any possible crime. Al Mansouri said, “Seeing policemen in the streets also makes our residents and our tourists feel they’re safe and that help is under way immediately, if needed.”

CAUGHT IN THE ACT

Patrol bike policeman Ahmad Al Saadi recalled an incident when he was assigned to the Al Murraqqabat area. Al Saadi said that he and his teammate saw two Asians carrying backpacks. But what really caught their attention was that the two Asians were “walking suspiciously” around shops. “We stopped them and inspected their backpacks, and we found robbery tools and bolt cutters,” said Al Saadi. “Investigations showed that they were planning to rob one of the neighbourhood shops.”

Corporal Rashid Salim from Naif Police Station served in patrol cars before he joined the Dubai Police bicycle patrols

Bike patrollers also monitor alleys frequented by counterfeit goods vendors. Al Saadi said that vendors usually hid in the inner alleys or narrow streets in order to peddle the fake handbags, watches, and electronic goods to tourists. Thus, he added, police bikers should not only have the right equipment, but also the intuition to read the body language of offenders and fugitives.

HELP COMES FAST

Corporal Rashid Salim from Naif Police Station served in patrol cars before he joined the Dubai Police bicycle patrols.

One particular unique case for Salim was finding a lost four-year-old boy. He and his teammates were patrolling the downtown area in Naif when a Saudi national stopped them and sought their help. “We gathered some details and the description of the boy from the father, and we immediately initiated a search operation,” said Salim. “Having the advantage of being able to manoeuvre and move swiftly across the area, we located the child in just 30 minutes and handed him over to his father, who was extremely overwhelmed by our timely response.”

Tips also come to bicycle patrols from residents who know of foreigners who they think have overstayed their visa or are working without a proper visa.

IT’S A SPECIAL SQUAD

Police cyclists are required to maintain a high degree of physical fitness to be able to withstand the rigours of cycling of more than 30km per day and responding to emergencies quickly. This entails refresher courses every three months and cycling for long distances of at least 20km.

Sharjah Police launched its own bike patrols in November 2016

They should also undergo courses in self-defence, crowd control, public order, first-aid, firefighting, using taser guns, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, shooting while moving on the bicycles, and descending down stairs.

Aside from smart communication devices attached to the bikes and helmets, police cyclists were also issued with the German-made taser gun, Taser X2, said Corporal Jassim Al Razi from Bur Dubai Police Station.

They’re also given a pair of smart gloves with turning indicators to warn other road users when they change lanes or take a sharp turn. The smart equipment includes a waterproof, night-vision, smart camera that live broadcasts the situation to the operation control centre.

Special parking in certain locations is also provided for security bicycle patrols in Abu Dhabi. This enables them to conduct regular patrols which would then help the police force to be physically visible to their community, respond immediately to emergency situation as well as prevent crimes from happening.

Ready for all terrains

Running out of ideas to go after criminals? Certainly not for Abu Dhabi and Sharjah police forces.

Seven months ago, Abu Dhabi Police added a new light vehicle smart patrol to chase wanted criminals who brazenly use the desert or farms as escape routes. Meet the specialised quad bike, an all-terrain vehicle run by a motor with four low-pressure tyres designed for off-road or a wider variety of terrains, including desert or farms.

Abu Dhabi Police said that the quad bike is equipped with a digital smart camera integrated with an intuitive chip. This new patrol vehicle was one of the innovations as part of the UAE Innovation Month in February 2019.

Meanwhile, Sharjah Police have added scooters to its force of patrol vehicles to curb crime. And just like the bike patrols, scooter patrols brought down the emergency response time, said Major General Saif Ziri Al Shamsi, Commander-in- Chief of Sharjah Police. He said that the patrols could be used during community events, especially in tourist areas.

The scooter patrols are battery-operated and, like bike patrols, the riders are given helmets with state-of-the-art communication devices, directly linking them to the operation centre, and a Go-Pro camera to shoot videos of their patrol.

The scooter is also provided with a first-aid kit.

Meet the specialised quad bike of Abu Dhabi Police

Running out of ideas to go after criminals? Certainly not for Abu Dhabi and Sharjah police forces.

Seven months ago, Abu Dhabi Police added a new light vehicle smart patrol to chase wanted criminals who brazenly use the desert or farms as escape routes. Meet the specialised quad bike, an all-terrain vehicle run by a motor with four low-pressure tyres designed for off-road or a wider variety of terrains, including desert or farms.

Abu Dhabi Police said that the quad bike is equipped with a digital smart camera integrated with an intuitive chip. This new patrol vehicle was one of the innovations as part of the UAE Innovation Month in February 2019.

Meanwhile, Sharjah Police have added scooters to its force of patrol vehicles to curb crime. And just like the bike patrols, scooter patrols brought down the emergency response time, said Major General Saif Ziri Al Shamsi, Commander-in- Chief of Sharjah Police. He said that the patrols could be used during community events, especially in tourist areas.

The scooter patrols are battery-operated and, like bike patrols, the riders are given helmets with state-of-the-art communication devices, directly linking them to the operation centre, and a Go-Pro camera to shoot videos of their patrol.

The scooter is also provided with a first-aid kit.

Sharjah Police launced battery-operated scooter patrols

NPM’s Finance Manager wins photography awards; boasting the best of Dubai

Finance Manager of New Perspective Media Muhammad Abu Bakar, ACCA MCSI won the annual 35AWARDS: 4th International Photo Awards held June 2019 as one of the best photographers from his country-Pakistan, and also entered the top 35 urban landscape photographers.

The said annual awards choose 100 best photographers and photographs around the world. 112, 268 people joined the event, with 392,000 photos submitted from 172 countries. Muhammad bested the urban landscape photography category as a top photographer in Pakistan and placed 8th around the world. The panel of judges was composed of 50 best photographers from 50 different countries across the globe.

He also won second place for the night city photography category presenting some of the best sunset settings of Dubai urban jungle, and placed in the top 5 for a single photo night city category in 35AWARDS: Night city photography thematic contest.

A total of 3151 people from 108 countries and 1012 cities took part. In total, 7586 photographs were submitted for the competition.

Also, the Moscow International Foto awards acknowledged Muhammad in 2018 nature-sunset album photography titled “At the doorstep” showing the complimenting combinations of nature and city.

Landscapes and architectures

Muhammad started doing photography in 2015 when he first set his foot in Dubai. For him, the place is full of splendid architecture, which is perfect for capturing scenes.

“It came into my life when I came to Dubai when I first purchased a camera,” Muhammad claimed.

“I’ve been into many places in my life but if you go anywhere else, you won’t be able to find such huge or gigantic structures and really beautiful buildings,” he added.

Using his Nikon D810 professional camera, he was amazed by jaw-dropping quality images caught by him. The level of detail and sharpness, dynamic range, and rich tonality of colors and lighting inspired him to capture more pictures.

From his all-new camera FX-format full-frame image sensor design—36.3- megapixels with no optical low-pass filter (noise-free images from ISO 64 to ISO 2,800) he perfectly captures sunset photos that describe the whole sonnet beauty of UAE.

“Dubai in the UAE is a place with a nice mix of nature and man-made stuff. You cannot find something like this in any other place in the world,” he explained.

Learning based on experience

“It’s trial-and-error,” he explained. “Everything is based on experience and observation. My methodology for taking photos is very simple. People can do it one time; I can do the same thing in 10 tries,” he further said.

“It starts with capturing the right moment, which is actually in your mind,” he said.

Even if Muhammad has a day job as a finance manager, he usually spends at least an hour or two in the evening every day searching for stuff.

“When I’m going somewhere, I’ll be taking 40-50 pictures of the same sight. Then i’ll pick the best one,” Muhammad claimed.

Muhammad finished the Bachelor of Commerce from Pakistan and currently holds memberships from both ACCA and CISI (UK).

Profession and passion deviation

“There is a very good correlation between working as a finance manager of New Perspective Media and photography,” Muhammad explained. “Both have requirements, just like in photography, you need to have time. You have to be there,” he further explained.

Muhammad also gave very simple advice to aspiring photographers.

“You need to look beyond the ordinary and look for extraordinary ones. Go out and take pictures and look for that precious moment,” he said.

Muhammad’s Instagram account is its.ab.photography.

Launch of Aafaq Islamic Finance’s new Sharia-compliant credit cards in collaboration with Mastercard

The press conference organised by our team announcing the launch of Aafaq Islamic Finance’s new Sharia-compliant credit cards in collaboration with Mastercard was attended by Saif Ali Al Shehhi, Managing Director & CEO of Aafaq Islamic Finance; and Mohamed Sameer, Products & Business Development Manager of Aafaq Islamic Finance. The event was hosted and moderated by Dr. Karen Remo, Managing Director of NPM group, while Mr. Salah Al Tamimi, Associate Vice President of NPM Group discussed with the media the 360-degree marketing plan that NPM will execute on behalf of Aafaq.

3Bs for the Media

By Jojo Dass

As the digital age moves forward at a rapid pace, the media industry faces both limitless opportunities and massive challenges. A recent event in Dubai analysed the phenomenon

Time was when the model of communication was very linear, one-way process where the media (sender) feed information, while audience or readers (receiver) could not give feedback or response. Fast forward to the digital era, it all changed into a multi-dimensional paradigm, where the sphere of media users’ feedback and behaviour are continuously shaping and creating a big shift in the media landscape.

The Internet also has changed or blurred a lot of concepts that people knew then. For example, the word ‘friend’ is now rarely used to refer to someone you can count on; ‘share’ has very much been abused online; and ‘game’ can now be played even without real friends and real toys.

Dr. Karen Remo, Managing Director of New Perspective Media Group (NPM), together with Ravi Raman, publisher at Vogue Arabia; Syed Nazakat, editor at Data Leads in India; and Mukesh Sharma, editor at British Broadcasting Corporation. The discussion was moderated by Dr Fazal Malik, conference director and Dean of Humanities Arts and Applied Sciences at Amity University Dubai.

With the UAE having the highest mobile penetration rate in the world, 999 presents this big shift.

During a gathering of seasoned media practitioners at Amity University Dubai on June 17, it was discussed that a way for traditional media to survive is to be guided by the 3 Bs: behavioural science, big data, and borderless knowledge economy.

Dr Karen Remo, Managing Director of New Perspective Media Group (NPM), stressed that this was so because traditional business models in media, marketing and communications are under significant pressure.

“The 3B’s that are shaping the industry are behavioral science, big data and a borderless knowledge economy,” said Remo at one of the event’s panel discussions on ‘Changing Paradigms and Practices in Media Communication’. She said that some 20 years ago, the top-bottom model was the template of communication where a few media companies influence consumer behaviours.

This, she said, had changed with digitalisation of media. “Now, the bottom-up model is more at play where the audience influences what content is produced, in which channel and at what time. What’s important is to identify what exactly are the needs of the audience,” she said.

Citing 999 Magazine, published by NPM on behalf of the Ministry of Interior, and The Filipino Times Newspaper, one of the six companies under NPM and is read in 236 countries, she highlighted that netizens digital movements and behaviours leave a big pool of information that is of vital importance to businesses because as the new oil of the digital economy, data promise understanding and addressing customer needs as well as attracting and retaining knowledge-based talents in this borderless century.

“When we analysed the data, we found out that it is no longer just about the story because sometimes, the best stories are not necessarily the most-read. It could be a great story, but if it is 3,000 words, a smaller number of people would want to read it because of the length. The timing of the post also matters, stories posted during peak hours get to have more reach and engagements,” Remo stressed.

Revenue models

Malik said that the awe-inspiring developments in communication technologies along with innovative approaches and disruptive models made many of the conventional media and their revenue generation models redundant.

“Print editions of many newspapers across the globe have been discontinued and we see more focus on digital and online versions of newspapers, journals and glossies. Some newspapers have reduced the number of pages or gone for smaller formats.

“In the digital age, people’s tastes and the way they read news have also changed. With news available on tablets, smartphones, etc., in most cases free, newspapers and magazine owners are shifting to digital forms of publishing,” he stressed.

This, he added, had also changed the traditional revenue models of advertising. “Today, companies are getting smarter and they use social media influencers rather than the print editions to reach their potential market segment. This transformation is irreversible – a bit slow in some parts of the world, but very rapid in others,” he said.

The challenge

The mammoth increase in mobile device usage, social media, cheap Wi-Fi and broadband connectivity led to a phenomenal growth in the creation and distribution of content never seen before, said Malik in a post-event interview.

“There is no doubt that we are witnessing a democratisation of media and communication processes, though the issues of knowledge gap still remain critical,” he said.

The downside was that “the slow but certain replacement of the conventional media by the social, digital and mobile media is increasingly leading to the lack of editorial control to separate facts from fictions, distinguish news from views, and to check the spread of rumours and hearsay”, he added.

“With a smart device in hand and Wi-Fi connection, modern technology has enabled every individual to become a potential broadcaster. The social media platforms defy time and space, offer unmatched access to post, forward and recycle content (text, images, video) at electrifying speed and fidelity,” said Malik.

He also lamented that “in this infinite media-scape, there is no legislation to safeguard the principles of ethical and professional practice.”

“No wonder,” he added, “we are dealing today with an alarming increase in the spread of fake news, creation of alternative truths, running trolling and propaganda machines.”

During the event in Dubai titled, “Current Practices & Future Trends in Media Communication” that brought together academicians, researchers, scholars, practitioners, social scientists, and data engineers to exchange and share experiences, ideas, and research results

Malik said that the hundreds of delegates from various universities, creative industries, and research institutions from around the world who participated in this Dubai conference “took part in panel discussions to map the contours of the change and to find out a way forward; participated in fringe meetings to review and revise the current curriculum to reflect the changes in the industry”.

“There was a general consensus amongst the participants of the conference that the changes in the production and consumption patterns of media demand a new set of skills and competencies for those who want to enter into the industry. So, the focus was on revising curriculum and developing new pedagogies that reflect this transformation,” he said.

Adapting to changes

The Amity event, named ‘Current Practices & Future Trends in Media Communication’, brought together academicians, researchers, scholars, practitioners, social scientists, and data engineers to exchange and share experiences, ideas, and research results.

Organisers said that these changes not only offer immense possibilities but also pose huge challenges for the media industry as well as institutions that govern us and the society we live in.

Adopting a multi-perspective and multi-disciplinary approach to engage liberal arts, humanities, social sciences, business studies, economics, technology and data sciences with the current practices and future trends in communication, the conference’s purpose was to provide a “dynamic platform for a holistic understanding of the media discourse that is shaping up at the dawn of the 4th Industrial Revolution”, said the organisers.

Information pollution

Experts have warned that while social media and connectivity have seeming limitless benefits, these two have spawned what they call as “information pollution” that has become quite challenging, as people nowadays hardly discern true information from mere propaganda, or worse, outright lies.

This has resulted in alarming findings about how much most people actually distrust websites, according to a report cited by the Council of Europe (CoE) from BBC World Service.

The study, conducted in 18 countries, revealed that 79 per cent of respondents said they were worried about what was fake and what was real on the Internet.

Dr Claire Wardle, executive director of First Draft, and Hossein Derakhshan, researcher and pioneering blogger, argued in their CoE-published report that contemporary social technology has created “information pollution at a global scale; a complex web of motivations for creating, disseminating and consuming these ‘polluted’ messages; a myriad of content types and techniques for amplifying content”.

The scholars stressed that the scale of information in our digitally-connected world is producing an avalanche of unprecedented challenges.

What can be done?

In the UAE, data from the Global Web Index in January 2019 showed that people were spending more minutes on social media now than they did seven years ago. The average person in the country is spending 3.11 hours on social media, the highest figure in the Middle East and Africa region and the sixth highest globally. This means that a formidable chunk of one’s waking hours is spent on digital interactions. It’s a world of learning and fun out there but, like fire and the wheel—the other two innovations that revolutionised the history of mankind—the Internet has the power to lock you up in jail.

Brigadier Dr Salah Obeid Al-Ghoul, Director General of Community Protection and Crime Prevention, and Supervisor of the Ministry of Interior’s Culture of Respect for Law Bureau advised UAE residents to believe only in news that is disseminated from official sources and licensed media. “The provisions of the law are clear and apply to everyone. Some people resort to posting news or pictures for the purpose of generating excitement or increasing their personal fan base,” Al-Ghoul told 999.

“It is possible,” he said, “that a lot of such news may be seditious, aimed at inciting people or defamation — intentionally or unintentionally — or intended to have a negative public interest.”

Al-Ghoul said that such people are legally accountable as the Federal Penal Code and its amendments impose stiff penalties on those who generate propaganda or rumours, or intentionally broadcast news or statements that frighten people. “There is a penalty of imprisonment from one to three years, and ignorance of the law is no excuse. To those who use social media, it is my advice to beware of rumours and think before you click,” he added.

Meanwhile, Wardle and Derakhshan, in their report titled, “Information Disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policymaking,” proposed that national governments commission research to map information disorder, regulate ad networks, and require transparency on social media ads, amongst others.

KNOW THE LAW


Speaking to 999, Fiona Robertson, Senior Associate in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Al Tamimi, Dubai, said, “All content must be in accordance with the print and publications law, which was first published in 1980 and then expanded upon by an executive resolution in the 2000s. This law applies to all media, and how they are distributed, including online.”

“The other law people need to be aware of is the Cybercrimes law of 2012, which includes a list of things that are off-limits, such as criticising UAE culture, the UAE government, Islam, and any subject that could bring disrepute to the country. In relation to the Cybercrimes law, the penalties are stiff, with up to Dhs500,000 in fines as well as jail terms. Anyone who is prosecuted and found guilty under the 2012 Cybercrimes law and who’s not a national will be deported,” Robertson warned netizens or social media users.

Press conference| Launch of SME Protect| Etihad Credit Insurance

Good news! In a press conference, where media relations were managed by New Perspective Media, UAE Federal exports credit company ECI has launched a dedicated solution to help SMEs grow globally.

It was attended by H.E. Engr. Saed Alawadi and partners including, Abu Dhabi Global Market, Dubai Exports, ADCB, National bank of Fujairah, Mashreq Bank Bank of China, ADNIC, ICBC, and many others. The event was attended by friends from the media. Congratulations to Massimo Falcioni, CEO of ECI, and the entire ECI team. We wish them the best in this new venture to support SMEs.

DTI pushes Philippines forward as a global brand at Expo 2020 Dubai

New Perspective Media Group has paid a courtesy visit at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) headquarters in Makati, Philippines to discuss marketing and advertising collaborations for the country’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Trade Assistant Secretary and alternate commissioner general Rosvi Gaetos warmly welcomed NPM delegation, which was headed by Dr. Karen Remo, the group’s managing director.

The two sides discussed ways to bolster the country’s commercial and public interests in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region as a tourism destination and investment location in the heart of Southeast Asia.

The meeting also witnessed the discussion of possible approaches to catch the world’s attention by highlighting salient products and services at Expo 2020 Dubai, where 11 million foreign visitors are expected. The Expo is projected to give a significant boost not only to the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) tourism sector but also to the 192 confirmed participating countries.

With the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” the massive exposition of trade fairs, which starts in October 2020 and runs for six months aims to promote collaborations and partnerships between governments, corporations, and civil society in drawing up sustainable solutions to global problems.

As the Philippines’s main export and investment-promotion agency, DTI discussed with NPM Group during the visit that the country’s participation is now in full throttle, following Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of Administrative Order 17, which greenlighted the creation of the Expo 2020 Philippine Organizing Committee – of which DTI has been assigned as the lead agency.

Meanwhile, even before the signing of the Administrative Order, NPM Group has already been helping DTI to drive ahead of the country’s participation in this global expo. One of its publication arms, The Filipino Times, the biggest newspaper in the UAE and the largest digital platform for Filipinos in the Middle East and North Africa, has been consistently at the frontline from the get-go of promoting related news and information.

During Asec. Gaetos’ and her accompanying delegation’s visit to Dubai to hold a technical meeting with the organizing committee of Expo 2020 Dubai, TFT has published articles that thrilled the Filipino community in the UAE. It also broke the news about the Philippines’ showcasing the country’s natural beauty and wonders in a 3,000 sq. m. pavilion.

TFT has also made it possible for these trending stories to be carried in the online portal of the UAE’s official news agency, WAM, for a bigger and wider consumption. Hence, creating a strong impact on the region.

The meeting between DTI and NPM Group was also attended by Gilda R. Dela Cruz of the Office of DTI Assistant Secretary; Vince Ang, NPM Group Business Unit Head and General Manager of TFT; Mark Nituma, NPM Group Content Director and Manila Bureau Chief; and Malou Talosig Bartolome, NPM Group Editor.

NPM Group, a leading media, PR, and marketing communications company based in Dubai with offices across the Middle East and the Asia Pacific, has been a supporter of DTI’s initiatives and had done consultancy and educational workshop with Philippines companies to help promote trade goals, particularly in exports and Halal trade.

Papal visit a ‘testament to UAE role in fostering tolerance and respect,” says Filipino publisher

WAM: The Papal Visit of Pope Francis to the UAE is “a testament to the country’s globally-recognised role in fostering tolerance and respect, enabling it to be a cradle for more than 200 nationalities from across the globe who live and work here in a profound level of harmony,” according to a leading member of the UAE’s Filipino community.

“Since the establishment of the United Arab Emirates, the nation has been an oasis of tolerance for diverse nationalities, religions, and cultures that converge in a peaceful coexistence, in line with the principles of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father,” Dr. Karen Remo, Managing Director of New Perspective Media, the publisher of The Filipino Times, told the Emirates News Agency, WAM.

“The Filipino community in the UAE lauds this historic visit of Pope Francis that coincides with the declaration of 2019 as ‘The Year of Tolerance’ in the UAE, which clearly reflects the goals of the UAE to spread unity amidst diversity,” Dr. Remo said.

“The Pope’s visit is an important historic event, not only because it is the first visit of its kind to the Arabian peninsula, but also because it gives a huge back up to the UAE’s efforts in promoting peace and rejecting all forms of racial, religious, and cultural discrimination, as well as hatred and strife,” she added.

Thanks to its prudent policies,” Dr. Remo said, “the UAE has become a home where Filipinos can enjoy safety and security, and freedom of religion factors that have positioned the country as one of the leading destinations in the world where Filipinos can work and live.”

“The appreciation and love that Filipino residents feel for the UAE and its wise leadership are manifested by the way they see and call it as their home for many years, even decades.”

She concluded by thanking the UAE “for taking care of the Filipinos here and being instrumental in turning their aspirations and the dreams they have for their families back home a reality.”

The Filipino Times is the biggest Filipino newspaper in the UAE and the largest digital platform for Filipinos in the Middle East.

Source: The Filipino Times

Abu Dhabi Department of Transport commissions NPM for the communication of new bus routes and services in Abu Dhabi City

New Perspective Media is pleased to do the communication of the new bus routes and services in Abu Dhabi City launched by Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DOT).

The new services include four new bus routes and four express bus services in the capital.

In addition to the new bus routes and express bus services, the DOT has also launched the new services and changes of the existing airport bus connections.