Muslim Professionals Seek to Jumpstart their Careers
By Ahmed Khan
Associate Organizer, CIOGC


On July 18, the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals (Chicago Chapter) hosted a Career Development Symposium at the Renaissance Hotel in Northbrook. Titled “Jumpstart Your Career,” the symposium was attended by close to 60 individuals, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. It was an opportunity to meet professionals from various industries who shared proven techniques on improving one’s professional image and effective job search strategies.

The event started with an introduction by Fadi Ali, President of CAMP-Chicago, and with a Qur’anic recitation of Surah 94. Keynote speaker Dr. Robert Wright, who has been recognized as a top executive coach by Crain’s Chicago Business, reiterated the translation of the Ayat which was read earlier, “With every difficulty there is relief,” as a starting point for his presentation. He said the job of seeking a job is one of the hardest tasks which requires strategy, dedication, and consistency.

Lynn Hazan, President of Lynn Hazan and Associates, and Kristi Daeda, a Success Coach and President of Twin Sparks Consulting, ran a Resume Workshop. To increase a resume’s effectiveness it should include a “Unique Positioning Statement” highlighting quantified and qualified accomplishments and telling a personal story. Both reviewed various resumes brought by the attendees to demonstrate the do’s and don’ts.

How to have a competitive edge during interviews was the theme of Asma Hashmi’s presentation. Asma, an HR professional with several years of staffing and consulting experience, emphasized to never go in nervous and unprepared. An interview should be a conversation which utilizes engaging and complimentary statements and which shows empathy, all geared towards increasing a candidate’s likeability. She ran a mock interview to address commonly asked questions and best answers.

Marci Zinke Raja, an Account Executive for a large humanitarian NGO, emphasized the benefit of strong networking as the best way to job hunt and increase business opportunities. Job searching solely through the Internet is an old passive way to look for a job and needs to be enhanced with personal research and meaningful contact with peers and leaders in companies of interest.

Finally, Sima Dahl, President of Parlay Communications Ltd., provided the audience with a presentation on social online networking. Personal networking at events is still necessary but actively utilizing the Internet provides a unique and easy tool to facilitate follow through and self-marketing. She focused on the utilization of Linked In and gave examples of how to best utilize this service to improve chances of finding opportunities.

In a day and age when it has become common to hear that the economy is struggling and people are being laid off left and right, CAMP-Chicago brought a much needed service to the community at the right time. Opportunities are scarce but the attendees left feeling optimistic in going back out with such useful skills taught by esteemed trainers. The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago assisted in the promotion of the event among the Muslim community and supports such development initiatives. For more information on this event and future trainings visit



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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