Making Your First Impression

Success. What is success and how do we attain it? Everyone has their own aspirations and desires, but attaining success requires essential skills. Last night, Rutgers MSA hosted First Impression, a career workshop event. Alhamdulillah, it was definitely an event worthwhile.

MSA President, Asad Mian, kicked off the event with a short introduction, noting the program intended to help students develop skills needed to talk to professionals, build effective resumes, and head toward the path of success. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and even seniors listened attentively as three speakers shared their words of advice.

Success / Failure – Mohammad Abbasi

The first speaker was Mohammad Abbasi, President of Bayan Consulting Inc. He began by defining the true meaning of success. “Success is failure,” he said. Everyone must fail in order to succeed.

Success is a progressive pursuit of a worthwhile goal where the journey—not the destination—determines the success. He also noted the different entities required to ultimately achieve success. Of these, he went over values, priorities, focus, thoughts, and feelings. Values are important for the individual only if he makes it important.

Brother Abbasi, who juggles family and work, established a mechanism to determine his priorities in a given time period. He would work from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. which is his client’s time, but from 5 P.M. to 9 A.M. is his time.

Setting ones priorities straight is essential to balance life and achieve success. These priorities are influenced by where we get our value from. The sources include our parents, siblings, teachers, faith and media, but sometimes they are innate (in our fitrah).  These values evolve into beliefs/priorities. Priorities change with time and circumstances, but essentially prioritizing is the key to leadership.

“A leader’s job is to help people think the way they need to think, so they can act the way they need to act and get what they need to get,” said Brother Abbasi.

We need to focus on our priorities. Even though focus can come off as rude, you must remember that focus is the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ. Once a focus is established, we must be able to distinguish between the feelings of the heart and mind. The goal is to find balance between what our heart says and what our mind says.

Careers – Mohammad Misbah

Mohammad Misbah was the next speaker, giving career advice. “The Secret” to attending an interview, or career workshop is to follow the steps: preparation, execution and follow-up. We need to self-analyze and pinpoint our purpose for getting an education. Knowing ourselves, researching the company we want to work for, networking, and distinguishing ourselves as unique/different are necessary. A good way to distinguish ourselves is to obtain internships.

Take advantage of Rutgers Career Services; they narrow the candidate pool immensely. In addition, take heed of these tips:

  1. Tailor your responses to the position.
  2. Listen to other people so that when it’s your turn, you can respond with what they’re looking for.
  3. Honesty is big.
  4. Convince them.
  5. Be confident and maintain eye contact.
  6. Ask for a business card.
  7. Follow up to show your level of interest and commitment. Make sure they remember you.

Resumes – Dean Adi

The last and final speaker was Dean Adi. He talked about resumes and that they are not the true keys to success. Achieving success isn’t a beautiful thing unless you’re doing it with the right intention. Some tips from Brother Dean:

  1. Increase in knowledge.
  2. Use leadership to become strong and successful so you can help the Ummah.
  3. On your resume, highlight what makes you special as opposed to everyone else.
  4. “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
  5. Think about the type of jobs that suit you the best.
  6. Be able to answer  these questions:
    1. Tell me about yourself.
    2. Why are you interested in this job?
    3. Why are you interested in working for the company you are applying for?
    4. What are your strengths and weaknesses? (Be honest!)

After the speakers finished, seniors and alumni represented a number of majors. They not only gave advice, but helped the younger students learn from their own mistakes. It was overall a great experience and event. For those who missed out, rest assured the seniors are available to help you out whenever you need it. Don’t be afraid to reach out! 


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