Copywriting jobs in the UAE

If you’re looking for a job in advertising in the UAE, these are the usual routes:
1. Spot the vacancies in the local newspapers
Gulf News and Khaleej Times are good places to start. The print editions have supplements dedicated to ‘Appointments’, while the usual classified ads can be browsed online.

2. Look for your dream job in an advertising/marketing community website

My friend Zeid Nasser’s mediame.com is a good place to begin.

3. Go through recruitment agencies and headhunters
Most advertising vacancies are posted in the papers through recruitment agencies. Many advertise the jobs available on their own sites and you can apply online.

SOS and Kershaw Leonard are currently looking for copywriters. You can visit them online and apply.

4. Contact your dream agency directly
Sometimes, the best thing to land a good job in advertising is to meet the Creative Director of your dream agency directly. Even if a CD does not have a copywriting position waiting to be filled, a few minutes with a good one can get you valuable feedback on your portfolio.

Visiting an agency and meeting its creative head helps you understand the agency and its expectations better.

But be warned: CDs are very busy souls and you must not be pushy in trying to arrange a meeting with them. Most will be happy to give you a few minutes of their time, when they have a few to spare. Which is rare. It rhymes, eh?

5. If you apply everywhere and nothing seems to work, don’t get mad…

Get even. Start your own agency. Or freelance copywriting business.

Dubai Media City and RAK Free Zone can help you establish your own advertising/copywriting operation with minimum red tape.

There are many other ways to stay in touch with the advertising world.

Networking helps. Knowing people in the industry will keep you updated on the trends: who’s moving, who’s scouting for talent, etc.

In a multicultural place like Dubai, a few advertising decision makers have a tendency to try and pull in their ex-colleagues from back home, whichever country they are from. Unfortunately, I have seen this sometimes leads to groupism in the agency, so this is an option I do not personally admire or encourage.

Even though I usually have a friend or two in most top agencies but I don’t use friends to pull any strings. Because if one is good at what one does, getting spotted in a crowd of applicants isn’t usually a problem.

Of course, there are Murphy’s laws. And luck too.

Liked what you read? Share your views and comments below:

Comments

  1. murtaza says:

    Hi Farrukh
    I’m a senior copywriter working with draftfcb delhi. I’m very keen on working in UAE. I have about 6 and a half years of experience and am currently clueless as to how to go about applying for a job there. Tried a few sites like bayt but haven’t got any good results. I’d be more than happy if you could guide me

    Cheers
    Murtaza

    • Hi Murtaza – your best bet is to get in touch with agencies directly, or headhunters.

      The scene with ad jobs is currently grim though – with more people getting fired than hired.

      Unless you are a digital specialist – that’s a field on the rise.

      Email me your CV if you like – and continue to try your best – also look up MediaMe and Jazarah.net for jobs…

      Farrukh

  2. Hi Farrukh,

    Kudos to the great work you are doing. Your replies and concerned feedback are commendable.
    I am an engineer by profession but much of my passion lies in advertising. I know its fantastical but i desire of switching my career. I have creative and unequalled ideas (thats what i think) but dont know how and where to begin with.i have had 2 years part-time experience as graphic designer. I am willing to start from the scratch.

    Any advice for me would be appreciated.

    rgds

  3. hi farrukh,
    i am ALISHA from India. I am a professional copywriter with around 2years of working experience. i am looking for a switch in the gulf region. specifically qatar or dubai. as my fiance is moving to qatar in a couple of months. i am looking for a good creative agengy to wrk with.

    can you please help me as i need a shift on urgent basis.:(

  4. Purvisha says:

    I am a bba graduate.. specialization in finance and m lukin for a writing job. in Dubai..which may include any kind… i.e. writing articles, stories, surveys etc… pls help me with it..

  5. wessam el desoki says:

    hi farukh,

    i am an egyptian copywriter ..and am looking for a job in advertising agency in dubai , i have 2 years experience ..but i believe strongly in my talent … … plz let me know if there is any chances for me in dubai ..coz iam tired of wasting my talent

    thank you ..and am waiting for ur reply

  6. Hi Farukh,

    I am a copywriter by profession and is currently working an in an advertising firm..I m looking out for some help for a job in Dubai as I am getting married in Dubai soon..Just wanted to know if you could help me in any way? Or tell me the ways of getting a job in Dubai?I would really appreciate your help

  7. Hai sir,i am really passionate towards advertising and creative art,ideas,work,selling and promotions of the specific products,copy writing and creative slogans too.and i have nearly 10 years of internet pro-efficiency.I have my own SPEC ADs too.I have been promoted web companies too for past couple of years as a freelance.Since my brother is in UAE.if i come there and stay and prove my self.can you help me to get atleast a freelance job pls.I am kindly looking forward for your reply in your free time,u can reply .if u r busy.

    Really you are very grt man to help these many peoples all around the world

  8. Hi,
    As usual your blogs are extremely informative! thanks a ton for that.
    I am based in Dubai, but unable to find a Job as a content writer. I have many artworks to my credit, and have been doing freelance writing for sometime now..I am very much interested in this field and wish to explore new avenues, kindly help.

    Tahera

  9. Hi there,

    Great blog! Very informative and refreshing.

    I’m a mid-weight/senior copywriter, currently based in Melbourne, Australia, but have above, below and slightly left of the line experience in the US and UK. My last role was at Ogilvy.

    Just wondering – do Dubai-based companies ever hire without face-to-face meetings? And also, how lengthy is the process to hire an international employee (ie. me!)

    Many thanks,

    Sarah.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for visiting the blog.

      Australia, US, UK – that should have some employers in UAE drooling.

      Most top agencies have offices overseas so I guess you could be interviewed where you are and then brought in.

      If you’re really really wanted, a good and powerful agency would find a way to get you on board fast and easy.

      The big challenge is not getting a job but finding an apartment you can afford to live in with your family… at least in Abu Dhabi… LOL.

      farrukh

  10. Hii Farrukh,

    Im a 1st yr. student of Mass Communication & Im seeking a job on a part time level at any news or publishing agency. Would appreciate if u could help out.

    Thanks
    Nikhita

  11. Dear Farrukh,

    I’m writing to thank you once again for your help. I am definitely more passionate about art and design. Thus, I have enrolled in a course to learn the required software and have been working on a dummy portfolio at the same time. I feel my career and life is going the way I want it to. I have confidence in my work and abilities now. Thank you so much for your advice.

    Warm Regards,
    Nisha

  12. Hello Mr.Farrukh
    I am a BBA graduate from India with specialzation of Marketing in my final year. Now, am seeking to take up a career in the field of Advertising and have a keen interest to become a copywriter. But I do not possess any work experience in this field. So please guide me whether to do some special course in copywriting or I may get a job directly (in India or UAE).
    Waiting for your reply. Thanks…

  13. Hi Farrukh,

    I’m sure you’ve helped many people and would be ever so grateful if you could help me too. I am a fresh graduate with 2 Internships as my only experience. When I reached Dubai, there were hardly any jobs due to recession. Thus, I accepted another Internship with an Advertising Agency in Dubai Media City with the notion that any experience is better than no experience. I have been the Junior Copywriter here for over a month and I’m enjoying the experience as I am learning a lot. I would like to pursue my Masters in a year or so, but I’d like to get some experience before I do that. My problem is I don’t know whether to stick with this company as an Intern (and for how long) or to apply for other jobs as they are not paying me at all. Also, I have always loved Art, thinking that I’ll do something design related someday. I am a little confused about whether to get into Copy or Art, and where each one can take me (growth-wise). I do not have a portfolio for either and am unsure how to go about creating it. Should my portfolio only consist of ideas that have been accepted/published? I know I have asked a lot of questions and would like to thank you in advance for your kind help.

    Nisha

    • It’s ok to be confused, Nisha. At the stage you’re in, we all are trying to figure out what our future would look like.

      The answer lies within you. What do you feel most passionate about? What is it that would keep you awake at night, ideas flooding through your head, and not seem like ‘work’? Art? Copy?

      If you keep doing what you are most passionate about – the growth will come. Not the other way round.

      Portfolios are to showcase the range of your creativity – no rule that these should be published. Just let the reviewer know.

      Any good CD can spot potential from a scribble on a tissue paper.

      farrukh

  14. Hi Farrukh,

    This might sound a little premature, but I’m an English major university student, and I’ve still got a bit until I graduate. I’m currently studying in Canada, but after I’m done I’m planning on getting a job as a writer or an editor in the UAE (inshallah). I’ve looked online for job postings but it was kinda hard to find anything closely related to my field or anything that didn’t require years of experience. I don’t have any work experience but I have some volunteer experiences. I was just wondering what advice you would have for a fresh graduate as I don’t have much of a clue on the job market in UAE for writers/editors, and how valuable do you think volunteer experiences are on a resume compared to actual work experience??

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Rayyana,

      It should be easy for a writer to prove what she is good at. This means query letters to editors, or sample ads in your book for ad agency creative directors. Everyone is a fresh graduate once – but it is your task to convince employers that you can write well. Show, don’t tell is the creed in the advertising business.

      Don’t think ‘job’ – think career. Think writing projects. Think how you can get an editor, CD to notice your writing. Use any medium. Go for it!

      farrukh

  15. Halo farrukh,

    Cheers for this informative yet witty blog.I am a junior copywriter who had stint with copywriting in Cochin.I had interned with Nirvana Films,Bangalore, which as u know ,is a production house and had worked on Hutch,Bajaj xcd.Hows the scenario out here as its not pretty foggy in India.I have sent you my resume.Kindly check it out.

    Once again cheers..

  16. Hi Farrokh,

    Very interesting and resourceful blog you have here. Keep up the good work.

    I am currently looking out for a job in client servicing, as I was made redundant a couple of days ago.I can assure you that its an upheaval task finding a job in these tough times. I hope I can outlast the recession:)
    Do you know if the situation is the same in other countries in the GCC or is Dubai hit the worst?

    To cut a long story short..is there any hope for me?:)

  17. Dear Farrukh,

    Some may not credit it but I hear the recession is receeding. Shhh, don’t shout about it, just pass it on.

    Du(you)bai into that?

    Love to know what you think of my site. Will it pack a punch in the crunch?

    I’ll go now.

    Love,

    Steffen

  18. Oghenekevwe Laba says:

    Hi Faruk,
    I am a Nigrian residence in Nigeria with over eight years experience in journalism. I am interested in working in any of the Middle East countries as a sub-editor or any journalistic job that is suitable for me. Please can you link me to agencies or employers who could offer journalistics in the Middle East countries.

  19. Hi Farrukh, I posted something yesterday I hasnt appeared on the forum it seems…I used to work in ad production houses in Bombay..presently working as freelance writer for films…I want to get into ads as a writer, whats the scene in Dubai?I can put up some stuff that I have written if you could evaluate them please…

  20. Subhrajit Mukherjee says:

    Hi Farrukh, I am a freelance feature length screenwriter looking to get into advertising.I have worked in Bombay in ad production houses and have a Masters in Films from Bond University Australia. I am Indian and am currently working out of Kolkata. I want to go to dubai or abu dhabi wherever I get a good offer as a copywriter.I am working on some copies as a portfolio, I will send it over as soon as I finish.

  21. Fateema Faris says:

    hey farrukh,
    I’m a journalist with six years exp.
    I decided to work for the first time in dubai as a Freelancer Writer but i don’t know the rate per word.
    What do you think? How much these days?
    Actually i failed in finding a suitable job in dubai.. No vacancies at all in any magazine or news paper.

    Thanks,
    Fateema

    • Hey Fateema,

      The rates vary depending on projects, agencies, amount of work involved. Usually it’s in the global ballpark per word. AED 1 per word is standard I think. Above that would be great. There are rarely ever any vacancies for journalists in newspapers. But nothing can stop you from starting off with freelance projects first and then going on board full time when the opportunity arises.

      farrukh

  22. Steffen: Lots of good work from Dubai can be spotted on http://www.adsoftheworld.com – just a few days ago, one of the campaigns I worked on was there on it.

    Reema: You don’t need to do any specific course for being a copywriter. Most ad agencies have copy-tests to test your suitability as a writer.

    Doug: There’s always a market for freelance copy. If you’re available when others aren’t, and you’re charging what clients are happy to pay, and delivering what works for them – why not!

    Miranda – try intercative companies. Flip comes to mind.

    farrukh

  23. Hey Farrukh,

    Interesting blog, love it, keep it up.

    What are my chances of landing a web copywriting job? I’m currently freelancing while living in Sharjah. I have not yet come across any worthwhile placement in my field. My experience in web copywriting totals 5 years, but I’m not properly qualified for the job. Do let me know your opinion :)

    Cheers

  24. Hi Farrukh.

    This thread has been going for some time – testimony to the number of searches on ‘copywriter’ and ‘Dubai’.

    Do you know if many agencies use freelance copywriters remotely? I understand there’s a shortage of writers in Dubai, and a reliable remote writer would make sense for those emergency jobs.

    Many thanks,

    Doug Nolan.

  25. reema chakraborty says:

    Hi Farrukh,
    Your blog is really helpful for people like me who want to work in advertising but don’t know how to make the 1st move.I am an Indian student pursuing my Masters in English literature. i am really fascinated by this field of advertising and also come up now and then with jingles and ideas which i want to make big .Please do let me know how should i proceed on this path.What courses do you think i need to opt for to succeed in my life as a copy writer…

  26. Steffen Collings says:

    Dear Farrukh and Ayesha,

    Thanks for throwing me a line. That should be my job rather than yours. I am now splashing about in the shallows like a long haired lunatic reaching for the rope. In otherwords I’ll mail you Ayesha – thanks for the address. I am currently constructing the best website in the world. Yes, it’s the online presence of my portfolio and full of copywriting gems and trinkets it is too. Er, well, ok perhaps it’s not quite the best website in the world but it’ll be pretty good and easy to click around. I’ll post it on here when ready and send you the link Ayesha.

    Farrukh – what’s the best peiec of UAE copy you’ve seen recently? There’s some good stuff happening in the UK, Nokia’s ‘Music Almighty’ (Weiden& Kennedy) and Oxfam’s ‘Be Humankind’ (RKCR) hook the mind as great lines do.

    Is there a Dubai crunch? I hope not. It’d be great to wave Dubai to that…

    Steff

  27. Hey Farukh,

    Thanks for the quick response. I am sure they are many designers who are still looking out for a job.

    Regards,
    Ayesha.

  28. Your smoke signals seem to be working, Steffen.

    Good to hear from you again, Ayesha.

    Designers reading the comment above – you know what to do :-)

    farrukh

  29. Hi Stephen,

    Sorry, was kinda busy. you canan send me in your portfolio and resume to ayesha@shuttle.ae. We have hired a copywriter but your art of writing has kinda attracted me as well.

    Hey farukh,

    I also have positions open for Graphic designers. If anyone is looking out then they are free to get in touch with me.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Regards,
    Ayesha

  30. Steffen, meet Ayesha. Ayesha, meet Steffen.

    I don’t usually let job calls in through the comments section but Steffen’s reply made it worthwhile. Someone must rescue him from his island… LOL.

    farrukh

  31. Steffen Collings says:

    Dear Ayesha,

    Just in case you might not be inclined to send a little boat out, tell the skipper there’s copywriting buried treasure on my island. Oh yes, arrrgh, shiver-me-timbers and taglines.

    Sorry, bit silly that.

    Steffen

  32. Steffen Collings says:

    Dear Farrukh (& Ayesha Sharif),

    Farrukh, Thanks very much for your kind comment above. Don’t worry, I’m not asking you any more questions. To continue the voyager theme of my last comments I’m just using your lovely blog as a kind of desert island from where I am calling out waving my arms, marooned and ragged trousered, to the beautifully named AYESHA…Hello! HELLO! DON’T SAIL PAST ON YOUR BIG SHIP. RESCUE ME! I’M A COPYWRITER WITH 3 YEARS INTEGRATED EXPERIENCE ABOVE THE LINE, BELOW THE LINE, CRUISE LINE. I CAN ANSWER ANY BRIEF WITH SMOKE SIGNALS AS WELL AS WORDS. SO PICK ME UP. I’M A MAN OF MY WORD AFTERALL.’

    Farrukh has my mail or just leave a comment here Ayesha – if you’re not on the horizon by now and getting smaller… I’m working as a copywriter in London at the moment but it would be great to explore the UAE ad scene, with added sun.

    How are you Farrukh? Did you get my last e-mail? I know you have been busy; answering all these comments must make you feel like a very tired Father Christmas. My copywriter web site is under construction – right up there with one of Dubai’s mega structures – and I’ll send you the link when it’s live.

    Many thanks,

    Steffen

  33. Hi Kumail,

    You don’t need software to come up with concepts. For print advertising, you’ll need images/words and for TV – just have the story and script and a production company will take care of the rest.

    Hope that helps.

    farrukh

  34. Ayesha,

    This blog is flooded with copywriters reading and commenting, with many adding their emails to their comments (click on the commentor’s name).

    If you haven’t found a copywriter so far, email me – I could help.

    farrukh

  35. Steffen,

    If I was an agency reading what you have written here in the comments, I’d hire you for copywriting.

    farrukh

  36. Dear Mayank,

    I’d suggest that you get solid exposure in India and build up your skills in that market before you turn your career sights to Dubai.

    farrukh

  37. May Campos says:

    Hi Farrukh,

    I am looking for a full time copywriting job here in Dubai. Been freelancing actually so I thought it’s easier to get news but apparently people are saying “we are not hiring at the moment”.

    Do you know anyone who is seriously and urgently in need?

    Thanks and regards,

    May

  38. Kumail Nakhuda says:

    Hi Farrukh
    Good Evening

    I am kumail from india working in dubai now as an accountanct & no experience i have in advertising field but i am very much interested in making slogans and television advertising concepts for products.

    Please guide me how do i go with this.? Also what softwares i need to learn & the most important i want to make a part time career in this.

    Appreciate your response and thanks
    kumail

  39. Hi Farukh,

    My name is Ayesha and i am an HR for an ad agency. i am glad i have across this site. and you have been very sweet in replying everyones email. I am looking out for copywriter for immediate placement. Can you help me in looking for one.

    thanks,
    Ayesha

  40. Steffen Collings says:

    Blimey how embarrassing – I seem to have posted the same message three times, like someone knocking on the door until it caves in…

    Ooops,

    Steff

  41. Steffen Collings says:

    Dear Farrukh,

    Sorry, Steffen again. My Arabic’s not too hot and so the portfolio I am building is full of English langauge words and the website I am developing showcases English copy. How much of a limitation will this be? The recruitment agencies I am looking at seem to specify ‘English Langauge Copywriter’ for their positions in Dubai etc. but I’d thought I’d check with you.

    By the way I’ve been trying to send this message several times but it doesn’t seem to want to stick.

    Sorry to pester and thanks for your time.

    Warm regards,

    Steffen

  42. Steffen Collings says:

    Dear Farrukh,

    Brilliant blog; I’ve read all the comments – and your diligent replies. It reads like a hundred hopeful voyagers sailing off from the harbour.

    Now here’s another small vessel unfurling its sail. I’m Steffen Collings, a copywriter based in London. For the last year and a half I’ve been builing up a portfolio of conceptual work – my response to live briefs and my take on current campaigns. I love writing with a view to giving the reader some reward. Copy I feel is the poetry of commerce, but provoking action rather than reflection. I will always be fascinated by the power of language to capture a reader, especially outside the usual ‘homes’ of language such as the novel or the newspaper or the poem.

    Here endeth the lecture. Now here’s the point. It rains far too much in this soggy land. I’ve decided I need light to write. What do I have to do to get samples of my work to the right people in the UAE/ Dubai? I haven’t spent 20 years at BootleBartleHigglyWiggly or whatever but I know i can write, answer briefs and, er, well, sell stuff! I am also interested and have some experience in writing for digital/ BTL.

    Can I send you samples of my work Farrukh? Or does your arm ache waving so many adventurers goodbye?

    Warm regards,

    Steffen Collings

  43. mayank tripathi says:

    assalam walekum farrukh bhai,
    i m belongs from u.p.,kanpur. i hd done diploma in radio management & programming.right now i m pursuing internship in big fm,aligarh as a promo producer.so i m really anxiously willing to work in dubai as a copy writer.kindly can u give some detail about how to crack this to found the destination.
    khuda haafiz.

  44. Dear Tony,

    I’ve got your email. And replied to it in detail. Yes, any kind of writing experience helps, sometimes even gives an edge to a copywriter.

    farrukh

  45. Dear Farrukh,

    I emailed you a few days ago but it seems the email may have ended up in the spam folder. I would like to know if journalistic experience is relevant for a copywriter?

    SIncerely,
    Tony

  46. Hi Tamas,

    If you could manage to put together a good portfolio of big idea ads and maybe team up with an aspiring art director for a joint portfolio, you could get Creative Directors interested I think.

    farrukh

  47. Hi Sarah,

    Possibilities are always open if your work works for a client. Yes, there are challenges of not being able to work with an art director who might be here.

    If you could email me a link to some of your good work… maybe I could help.

    farrukh

  48. Hi Lebnan,

    If your copy is getting results for your client, you’re a good copywriter. If your copy is making life better for its readers/target audience, you’re a great copywriter.

    farrukh

  49. Dear Naser,

    You could pitch your filler ideas to publications which source out fillers. A query email to the editor of your target could help.

    farrukh

  50. Hi Ray,

    Have been on the move recently and couldn’t reply to posts… sorry about that. Salaries are usually given lumpsum and you have to figure out your expenses. I’d think a monthly takeaway of USD 10,000 would be good for things you mention, out of which you could end up paying USD 2,000 to USD 3,000 per month for renting a 1-bedroom apartment.

    farrukh

  51. Hi Erum,

    If you want to keep yourself updated to the ad and media scene in the GCC, I would recommend fellow blogger Zeid Nasser’s MediaMe.com. And a news portal like AMEInfo.com

    KippReport.com is amazing for a fresh perspective on current affairs and lives of businessmen.

    farrukh

  52. Hi Farrukh,

    I am Tamas Pataki from Hungary.
    I have done some copywriting tasks for SAAB Hungary (headlines, radio spots, etc.) as i used to work there as a marketing trainee before. But right now “officially” i am working as a buyer for Nokia, which means that my resume does not look that impressive -if it comes to applying for a copywriter position-, even though i am absolutely aware of my skills.
    Do you know if there is any kind of competition currently in the UAE, where i could prove my skills, and thereby take up some copywriting tasks in the country?

    …Otherwise i am afraid i have to find some other way (=other field) to get to that beatiful place as an employee:)

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Kind Regards,
    Tamas

  53. Hello Farrukh,

    Was kind of possibilities are there available for a senior copywriter to secure clients in UAE whilst residing in another country.
    I am currently interested in expanding my international client base whilst remaining in Australia. I find that I have had some wonderful clients that are happy to have remote writers. Any advice is appreciated.

    Regards,
    Sarah

  54. how do you know if you will be a good copywriter or not?
    i mean i work in advertising now in dubai, i like copywriting but i do not know if ill be good at it or not! advice man

  55. Naser Khan says:

    Dear friends

    I am interested to write short fillers for periodicals. Chould anybody advise me to get a foothold for the same?

    Regards,
    Naser/Dhaka/Bangladesh

  56. Hi Farrukh,

    My names Ray from South Africa. I’ve been offered a job in Dubai as a Graphic designer. I have 8yrs experience in the business. What salary should I expect? What other incentives should i negotiate? And one last question: What is the cost of living there? Living in a fairly nice flat, food, car, internet, phone etc.

  57. Hi Farrukh

    I read your above piece with much interest, very insightful.

    Based in London, I specialise in financial, business and investment writing. I have stumbled upon a couple of business contacts in Kuwait which has opened my eyes to the possibility of contacting companies in the UAE.

    I wondered whether you would be able to recommend any useful avenues to contact companies please – any particular websites and/or publications popular with corporations and financial institutions.

    Many many thanks in advance
    Erum

  58. Rayan,

    I’d suggest that you start with wherever you currently are. People may doubt what you say you can do but they’ll believe you if do it.

    Think of what you are passionate about, what your skills are – are you a design person or a writing person, or a strategy person or a people person. And then see which filed suits your temperament most. Then just dive in!

    With hard work and persistence, you can move mountains, my friend.

    farrukh

  59. Hi Tony,

    You’re most welcome to the UAE. And why leave your family behind – bring them along too if you can afford it.

    farrukh

  60. Hi,
    I graduated 2 years ago in Mass Communication. I have not had any job experience since then, due to some family circumstances. I do not know where to start. I have applied for many jobs in my field, however, I get rejected as I have no experience.

    I would like to work in UAE as I graduated from the Americain University there and I like the country. But, I am not living there now and I can not go there to look for work. So, I can only use the internet.

    I would really appreciate it if you could help me find a way to start my career.

    Thank You

  61. Hi Farrukh

    Great post. I am a South African writer and online marketing specialist living in Johannesburg. A friend of mine recently came back to SA after working as a freelance writer in Dubai. He said it was a fantastic experience and he can’t wait to get back.

    I am keen to follow in his footsteps (although it will be tough to leave the wife and kids behind for a couple of months/years).

    Cheers,

    Tony

  62. Hi Moni,

    The size of the agency would make a difference. I’d say it starts from USD 10,000 per month to USD 18,000 and more depending on the candidate’s credentials too.

  63. Hi there, i have been invited to an interview with a global advertising company for the role as “creative director” in Dubai. what wage should i accept? or reject? i am confused as there is not much information out there on wage determination in Dubai. one of my friends is stuck in a job as lead graphic designer with a leading company but has a low wage, he cant leave because of the whole ban thing in Dubai.

  64. Hi Seema,

    You surely must be good at your work if you’re a Fulbright Scholar!

    Copywriting does require a good command of the language but more than that, one has to have a passion for products, branding, marketing, consumer behaviour.

    More than just writers, copywriters are brand ambassadors, ‘salesmen in print’ as the ad legends used to say.

    Advertising agencies around the world have copy tests to test the ability of trainee copywriters – or you could develop a sample portfolio of ads written by you to show what you’ve got.

    Show not tell is what advertisers are taught to do.

    I wish you luck!

    farrukh

  65. Seema Kaushal says:

    Hey Farrukh
    My name is Seema Kaushal. I am in the US currently as a Fulbright scholar. Prior to coming to the US, I was teaching English at prestigious Panjab University, Chandigarh. I have done Masters in English and really have a very good teaching experience at University level for more than two years. My communication skills are really amazing. I am in the US for one year and have been teaching at American university, NCSU.
    Could you please tell me about this work opportunity as a copy writer?
    Please consider my qualification and let me know about my eligibility though i don’t have work experience in this field.

    eager to hear from you

    seema
    USA

  66. Hi Shiny,

    There aren’t many interactive agencies here at this time. Some even outsource their work to India.

    Nothing should stop you in testing the waters and getting in touch with potential employers from India before you arrive. It’ll help you assess where you stand in this market.

    In my opinion, how one writes is more important than how long one’s been writing.

    Best of luck!

    farrukh

  67. hi Farrukh,
    I m Shiny doing Content writing for a web designing co. in India. I have only 6 months of experience in this field, but believe strongly on my writing skills. My sister in Dubai is ready to sponsor my trip to the UAE; can I get the job as a copy writer or content writer with this experience at UAE ?
    Eager to hear your advice…

    your friend,
    Shiny

  68. Hi Tony and welcome,

    Lots of work being given to native English speakers here, mate. Guess you would find a place in the UAE sun too – maybe tie-up with an agency which sources out work to freelancers :-)

    farrukh

  69. Hello Farrukh!
    Nice blog. I was wondering if you know of anybody in the UAE willing to pay a totally creative U.S. based sales/copy writer for work? :) I’m begging from across the sea.

    Thanks!
    -Tony

  70. Hi and welcome Mario,

    People usually take a few days off combining Christmas and New Year, so definitely after New Year. At what time your dream agency will have just the position for you is hard to say. But January is definitely a good month if you’re on the move. The weather’s perfect 😉

    Contact me once you’re here – maybe I could refer you somewhere.

    farrukh

  71. Hi Farrukh,

    I am a Copywriter planning to come to Dubai towards the end of January. However, I have been told that early January is the best time for job hunting in the UAE. Could I have some advice on this matter?

    Thanks

    Mario

  72. Thanks Farrukh!

  73. Hi Uma,

    There are many job sites that have dedicated Gulf versions for job seekers. Put up your CV there. Plus, from India or nay other country, you can apply online to lots of jobs.

    Of course, the best thing is to meet people face to face for interviews.

    Job hunting here is like in any other place. Hard work, persistence, creativity help. And of course, networking too.

    farrukh

  74. hi farrukh

    Could u pls give me information about how to go about job hunting in the field of corporate communications in UAE? My frnd has 5 years of experience in this field, presently working in India for an American Company. Who are the people to be contacted or applied to in UAE and what are the prospects of corporate communication here in UAE?

  75. Hi Heba and welcome,

    Ads and slogans shouldn’t be charged per word but per project.

    Copywriters in every market have different ways of billing projects – ranging from per hour and per day to per project. Whatever works best for you.

    Also, billing depends on your pricing strategy and where you want to place yourself in the market as a writer.

    farrukh

  76. Heba Hashem says:

    Hello Farrukh,

    Very useful tips here.

    I am a freelance copywriter but have been translating and editing previously so I am not familiar with the market rates.

    Could you possibly tell me what is the average rate per word, in regards to slogans, sms campaign text, and advert text?
    Your advice is appreciated! Thanks,

    Heba

  77. Happy to help, BEN.

    farrukh

  78. BEN Bradley says:

    thanks appreciate it

  79. Welcome back BEN. And hello.

    Wages vary widely depending on the agency and the applicant’s credentials. Can go from USD 10,000 upwards per month.

    farrukh

  80. BEN Bradley says:

    Sorry where were my manners, hello there. Can you answer my question or not? If not it’s ok and thanks anyway

  81. HI BEN – DO YOU WANT TO KNOW THE WAGE OF ‘FOREIGN’ CREATIVE DIRECTORS WHO TYPE IN ALL CAPS AND DO NOT EVEN HAVE THE COURTESY TO SAY HELLO?

    farrukh

  82. Hey Ali,

    In copywriting, certificates donlt mean anything. The writing speaks.

    Advertising creatives carry portfolios to interviews. Journalists carry clips. Web writers can just forward links to content.

    Creatives from around the world are competing for jobs in Dubai – so you better come armed with a very strong portfolio if your aim is a good MNC.

    I wish you the best in your career pursuits…

    farrukh

  83. Hi Nasr,

    Been travelling so couldn’t respond earlier.

    Copy rates vary – good writers can charge US$ 1 and above. depends on one’s credentials really. And the client’s willingness to pay of course.

    farrukh

  84. BEN Bradley says:

    WHAT’S THE AVERAGE MONTHLY WAGE FOR FOREIGN CREATIVE DIRECTORS WORKING DUBAI?

  85. Hi Farrukh,

    I am working for a BPO here from the past 2 years and also have 2 years of experience as content writer for a company which has already wound up and so I have no proof of my work but have an experience certificate.
    I am not a graduate but have impeccable English language spoken and written skills.
    I am coming to Dubai in December and hope to settle down with a job there.
    Since, I am not degree graduate do I still have some chance of getting a job based on my experience?
    I shall email you my CV to have a look… if you permit.
    I just want to make sure before I come there with hopes.

    Ali.

  86. Btw…could u tell me the rates for writing print media copy as a freelancer ($/word)? Obliged.

  87. Erm…checked ur inbox lately?

  88. Agony uncle, actually… LOL.

    farrukh

  89. Dude…

    Funny how the comments on this post read like an advertising agony aunt’s column! :) Real neat.

  90. Anthony M Barreto says:

    Hi Farrukh

    Tony Martin here just waiting to explode on the copywriting scene in Dubai. Any takers?

    Regards
    TM

  91. Hi Ken from Kenya,

    I wouldn’t recommend the Dubai ad scene as the place to gain global experience or even as a one stop shop for creative people. Yes, if you are keen on working in the Middle East, Dubai is worth a try.

    The way ahead is to try the things above. If you’re passing by Dubai, a visit to a few top CDs with your book could also help 😉

    farrukh

  92. Hi farukh,
    Man you are great! I really value your comments on basically everything copywriting. I want to move to Dubai too. I am currently working in Kenya as Head of Copy in a major Ad agency. I need global experience in advertising and Dubai unquestionably comes to my mind as a one stop shop.So…having said that crap what is the way forward for this creative soul searching for a creative abode in a world that is dubbed the emerging new world?
    I am a copywriter….not just a copywriter but a very creative one for that matter.Period!

  93. Hi Charlotte,

    In the past few years, housing has become a very challenging issue all over the UAE. Although Dubai is more expensive, it has more accommodation options than Abu Dhabi. The salary you mentioned is in the ball park for middle weight copywriters. MNCs may be able to pay even more than that.

    Mostly companies would leave the house hunting to you and the house rent allowance would be part of the salary.

    Hope that helps.

    farrukh

  94. Hi Sadiq,

    Copywriter salaries are higher than journalist salaries. Depends on your credentials and the company you work for.

    Copywriters can earn anywhere between US$ 3000 to US$ 5000 and beyond as they move on to become ACDs. Some nationalities earn more than others – yes, it’s sad but true.

    farrukh

  95. Charlotte says:

    Hi Farrukh

    I currently work at Wunderman Jhb as a copywriter and am looking to make the move to Emirates. Currently in talks with an agency in Abu Dhabi. I’m battling to get a distinct idea on salaries. Some say it’s cheaper to live in Abu Dhabi than Dubai and others (especially web sites) say not really – accommodation being the big baddie. As a medium weight below the line copywriter could i ask for US$5000 (or more?) and would that include my housing costs or would that be an extra? My biggest concern is accepting a poor salary thinking it’s great and then having a lower standard of living compared to what I enjoy here in South Africa.

    Thanks so much.

  96. I’m a business journalist with over 3 years of experience. Would you plz tell me what would be the averaeg salary of a journalist/copy writer in UAE?

    Regards
    Sadiq

  97. Hi Kevin,

    One way to spot hot agencies is at the global awards. There’s also Ivan’s Adsoftheworld.com where you can see some great work from the region and the world – and the agencies associated with it.

    Mail me your CV if you like – I might have something interesting for you here in the UAE.

    Also, I am curious to know why moving to the UAE is on your ‘To-Do’ list :-)

    farrukh

  98. Kevin Corcoran says:

    Hi
    i wonder if you can help. I’ve worked in integrated agencies in London for over 13 years and am currently in a similar agency in Manchester where I am a Client Services Director. I am considering a move to UAE as it has always been an ambition of ours (my wife is a great Sr Art Director) but I do not know where to start.
    Where is the best place to discover the right agency, where should i be looking and what’s the best place to appreciate local community/ schooling etc?
    Many thanks for your help on this.

  99. Hi Poulomi,

    I worked with Wunderman under Rediff Y&R too in New Delhi once upon a time.

    It’d be a good idea to set up appointments like you are planning and then come and show your portfolio face to face to CDs. Many times it is possible to speak to CDs directly or email them for an appointment, here in the UAE.

    Mail me your CV if you like, so that if I come across something interesting, I’ll pass it along.

    farrukh

  100. Uma,

    Mail me your CV – I think I can do something about the SEM position.

    farrukh

  101. Dear Mohd Asif from Amity,

    It’s As Salam Aleikum, not As Salam Walekum. Anyway, Wa Aleikum As Salam.

    If you want true job satisfaction, don’t get distracted by more ‘bucks’. Pick the profession that you are more passionate about, and one that suits your aptitude and skills.

    Both advertising and journalism are very demanding professions – perhaps visiting a news room and a few ad agencies will help you make up your mind.

    I wish you luck in your career,

    farrukh

  102. Dear Mansoor Ali,

    Wa Aleikum As Salam – the broad tips are pretty much in the post above. If you need to know something specific, feel free to email me.

    farrukh

  103. Hi Farrukh,
    I am a Sr. Visualiser in Rediffusion DY&R Mumbai. Have been working for about two and a half years now in the advertising industry (was in O&M Mumbai before this). I would like to shift to Dubai, and would like to know how to go about it, and how much salary i can expect given my work ex. I believe in presenting my portfolio personally to the CD of any agency, rather than just sending across my work. So could you please advise me if its possible for me to fix interviews from before so that I can go to Dubai for some time, maybe a week and meet people?

    Thanks.

    P.S. Would you know of any placement agencies here in Mumbai who can help me fix interviews in Dubai?

  104. Hi Farrukh,

    First of all thanks for this resourceful information. It just explains what people are looking for.

    Am currently working in Bombay and looking for a job in Dubai. I have 3 yrs experience in the serach engine marketing field (Paid search) on Google. Could you let me know the demand for such professionals out there and where can i apply for the same

  105. MOHD. ASIF KHAN says:

    ASSALAMWALEKUM,
    FARRUKH BHAI
    Myself Mohd Asif Khan I am pursuing mjmc from Amity university lucknow campus.I want to become a reporter but i am a little bit confused to see the charm and bucks in the advertising field.I like composing song ,composing stories etc.I am in third sem.I have to
    do my enternship in the fourth sem.I am very much confused that which would be good for my career and this question also give me alot of pain that i should do enternship in reporting or advertising.
    Bhai please tell me through mail that which will be brighter for my future.Please give me solution farrukh bhai.
    I bow down to allah to fulfill all your dreams and to reach the pinnacle of life.
    ALLAH HAFIZ

  106. Mansoor Ali says:

    Assalam Alaykum Farukh

    My name is Mansoor Ali, currently i am working in saudi arabia as a Sr. Graphic Designer. I am intrested woring in dubai. Please give me proper advise what i do.

  107. Welcome Sabir,

    There are Urdu TV channels broadcasting from here, and some shows being shot here too. That’s scriptwriting. There aren’t many Urdu ads produced here that could be enough for a full time job.

    farrukh

  108. Dear Farrukh,
    I am working at a Pakistani Televison Channel as a Urdu Copywriter,
    also have some experience of advertising and radio broadcast medium i want to know are there any opportunity for urdu copy writer in UAE

  109. Welcome Ashkar,

    For copy, the post and comments above would help. For reporting, you could always query business editors with story ideas.

    Best of luck,

    farrukh

  110. Dear Farruk,
    I would like to have a better position as copy writer or business/financial market reporter in UAE. Please advise me on the same.

  111. Hi Dinesh,

    The best qualification for a copywriter is good copy in his portfolio. Show people what you can do with your writing. Write ads – dummy ones if necessary. Don’t just say it, do it. People will believe you if you’re good.

    Best of luck,

    farrukh

  112. Dinesh Varma says:

    Hi Farrukh,
    This is Dinesh from UAE. I am not a trained or professionaly qualified copy-writer I do not know to find my way into this field,particularly with regard to the Dubai market.
    Please advise me on the same.

  113. Hi Ziad,

    If you can impress the creative director of agency with your portfolio, the HR guys would not mind too much. HR people usually have the task of elimination rather than selection of candidates.

    farrukh

  114. hi sir, i have been working as copywriter for some enough time, and i do like this profession so much, but unfortunatley im far from it for awhile and i went through other feild for some reasons,. honestly i wish i can go back to it, its in my blood.but i dont know how i can start.,,,,,,,,,, u might tell me u need to apply , i know u r right,but i feel my resume wont be attractive to the HR. because i told u i stopped for quite some time and im not willing to fill my resume with lies which i guess what works nowadays….

    regards

  115. Hi Wyndham,

    Welcome… you could look up your target employers’ website onm the net – most have contact addresses for potential recruits.

    farrukh

  116. Wyndham Prins says:

    Hi Farrukh,

    I am a a Dutch Burgher living in Sri Lanka looking for employmeny in Sales & Marketing field in UAE.

    Could you please advise who I could get in touch with an employer while in Sri Lanka.

    Awaiting your earliest Reply.

    Wyndham Prins

  117. Hi Lubuna,

    Welcome to my blog. There are lots of good jobs around, being advertised too. Do keep in mind that with Dubai becoming a hot destination for creatives from around the world – the competition for good openings is pretty stiff and your resume is up against people with more experience, more awards, and perhaps with brands and agencies matching the prospective employer’s pet likes.

    farrukh

  118. Hi,
    Am a writer from Coimbatore. Right now am searching for a writer job in Dubai. I have two years experience in writing.
    Well, i have tried all the job sites and eNewspapers but couldnt coime across any good openings. That ignited a thought in me “Am i unaware of the right way?”….. Can you pls let me know how to find the right job in Dubai..
    Expecting your reply,
    Lubuna Waiting :(

  119. Hi Rashmi: Having an online portfolio would help. You could email prospective employers by looking them up online and pointing them to your online portfolio.

    Before CDs meet people, they usually like to see samples of their work.

    Of course, being physically present here makes it easy to cover more ground and convince people face to face. It’s easier for people to offer you a job if you are already here.

    No harm in contacting agency people from India first via email and then taking it from there.

    farrukh

  120. Hi farrukh
    I am a lecturer in English literature and a freelance copywriter working in India.I want to shift to Dubai as a full time copywriter. Many people have advised me that i should be in Duba for a personal interview if i want to be considered for a job. Is there a way of getting across to advertising agencies in Dubai, while i am in India? How should i get started? Should i approach a recruitment agency? Please advise

  121. Hi Murtaza: You could come through your agency trying for a transfer to their Dubai office, you could log on to MNC agency sites and apply to their UAE offices, or you could go through the recruitment agency route. Best of luck.

    Hi Vera: I have emailed you. Hope that helped. Do keep visiting.

  122. Hey Farrukh
    I’m an english copywriter with 4 and a half years of experience and a cannes media entry shortlist (2005)to my name. I used to work in Mumbai, but then got married and the same company transferred me and my hubby ( yes, we work together.. trouble free) to Sri Lanka. Right now, we’re a bit harrowed by the industry standards here and are looking to shift specifically to Dubai. He might have something lined up. But im at a real loss on how to go about looking for a job. Is there any way you could help? If you know anyone recruiting etc . Just something to get me started? I’d greatly appreciate it. greatly. Please email me? Thanks a ton.

  123. HI farrukh

    I’m a copywriter working in Delhi.I have about an years experience…i worked in Leo Burnett for 10 months,and now i look forward to work for a good agency in Dubai…so cud u help my in my decision as to what channels shud i go through and what kind of chances do i have in making it in a good agency.

  124. Hi Swati: We’ve had emails exchanged.

    Hi George: Welcome. Now is a good time – many agencies are looking for people in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. http://www.sos.ae is a good place to look for advertising related jobs.

    Whatever your favourite agency network may be, chances are that it’s here in the UAE – look their UAE offices up online.

    And do keep visiting – I plan to keep my readers updated on openings here in the UAE.

  125. Farrukh, I am a suit that understands the creative process, looking for a good job in dubai. Can you recommend an agency or a head hunter that i should talk to? I am an australian living in KL at the moment.

  126. Hi Farrukh,

    Aslam walekum, salaam namaste,

    I am a Delhi based copywriter and want to work with an Ad agency in UAE.

    Please do let me know how to go about finding a job in UAE. if you could recommend some ad agencies there.

    P.S. I have also dropped a mail at your ID.

  127. Dear Maliks,

    Thank you for taking the time to call, comment and appreciate. Yes, there is enough work to pass around. I believe in the law of abundance. The more you give, the more comes back to you :-)

    farrukh

  128. The Maliks says:

    Thank you Farrukh for your time, effort and guidance. This blog has been very useful. Thank you also for believing “There is enough for everyone” as opposed to the crab mentality many ppl have in the present age. Jazak-Allah-Khair.

  129. Hi Sissi:
    Copywriters could get US$ 1000 to US$ 5000 and more. Depends on credentials, company, and sadly, nationality too at times. If you’ve won an award, have Gulf experience, are from the Creative Director’s village – add bonus points 😉

    Hi Muhammad:
    Maybe we could trade places, man. Jeddah is an hour from the Haram Shareef! SOS and MBR are active for ad recruitments here. Welcome to Dubai!

    farrukh

  130. Hi i am currently workin in Jeddah saudi Arabia as web & graphic designer im looking forward forshifting to dubai on urgent basis since my fiance is here and i want to settle down fast could you please confimr me the recutiment agencies where i could have 100% placement support.

  131. Hi Mr. Faroukh, hi everybody,
    can anyone give me an idea about the salary average of an Ad copywriter in UAE?

    THANKS A LOT

    Sissi

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