Category Archives: XCareer Support

Fasting While Working

I owe my readers an apology for my lack of postings. If it is any consolation, one of the reasons I’ve been busy is due to critiquing your resumes and having career counseling sessions. Now you know I haven’t fully abandoned my job seekers!

Last year I wrote Fasting While @ Work to help both sides through the Islamic fasting month. With Ramadan just around the corner, I’ve decided to rewrite this piece to include more information and resources.

The Islamic fasting month of Ramadan begins on Wednesday, August 11th. For working Muslims, fasting while at work isn’t the easiest of things to do; especially when you feel like the only one fasting during the month. If you’re a working student, it can be much more difficult. Trust me when I say, “I know the feeling”! When I was a junior in high school, I used to be in class all day before going to my night job and breaking my fast just an hour or two before going home to my moms’ home cooking. All through my time in college and grad school, I’d break my fast during my evening courses while some classmates look at me in amazement at the fact that I’m eating.

With that, I think a few pointers for my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters observing Ramadan this year as they work or go to school is just as appropriate as it is necessary.

Photo Courtesy of SpecialtyHospital.com
The Dreaded Lunch Hour

Being from San Francisco, I must say that we are blessed with the number of mosques in or near the downtown area, including the financial district. Muslim employees should try during their lunch hour to go to a mosque near by. As this is the month to celebrate the scriptures of the Holy Quran being brought down to Prophet Mohamed (pbuh), what better way to pass that hour then by being in a place where others are worshiping and reciting the scriptures, right? Not sure if there is a mosque near your place of work? You should be able to find one through IslamicFinder.

If you’re a high school student, only go to a nearby mosque if your campus is an “open campus”. The Career Club does not condone cutting class or sneaking off campus!

If  there isn’t a mosque near by, there is always a quiet space where you can be to worship and read the Holy Quran. I’ve worked in many parts of the Bay Area where there wasn’t always a mosque near by. I ended up discovering a quiet small garden I could sit in or an empty conference room I had to myself during that time. Many businesses and organizations are highly respectful of one’s beliefs and practices as long as it does not interrupt their productivity. Do not expect for them to assume your needs, so make the request for space during your break in a professional manner.

For university students, there should be an MSA (Muslim Student Association) at your school where there is a designated space for meetings and worship. If not, please check where you can go, such as the library (where there is almost always secluded spaces for projects) or an empty classroom. For high school students, an MSA should have a similar situation at your campus. Otherwise try to find a quiet space on campus. When I was in high school, we had a few professors that kept their classroom open as well as the library being open during lunch.

The Fasting Breath

As Muslims, we believe that the most beloved scent to God (swt) is the scent of one’s fasting breath. However, that isn’t going to be the same amongst many mortals, Muslim or not. Nothing to be offended about as it is a natural occurrence of halitosis or bad breath when one doesn’t consume food or beverage for a while. What can you do about it? Simple things such as making sure you have good distance between yourself and others. Always brush your teeth, even if it’s rinsing with water. If you have a “miswak“, even better! Click here to read some good tips on things to do during Suhur (pre dawn meal) to assure that your breath stays decent throughout the day.

Etiquettes of Working With a Fasting Muslim

If you know someone is fasting, don’t start eating and drinking in front of them. Be as courteous as you would want others to be if you too were fasting. If you want to know what it is like to be fasting, fast with a fellow colleague then go with them to break your fast. It’s an amazing learning experience according to my many colleagues that have done the same with me. Plan to either fast the whole month of even try it for a few days, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

Also, as many of you may or may not know, Muslims do a physical prayer that does not allow for interuptions. This means that Muslims do not speak to others during their prayers. So if you walk in on someone praying, be respectful by being silent or even stepping out. Prayers shouldn’t last more then 5 minutes.

I always tell people that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Ask your Muslim colleagues and classmates about Ramadan while being courteous. There are several resources online to learn about Ramadan, including IslamicFinder.org, IslamiCity.com, Islamic Society of Northern America and Islamic Center of America.

May this month of Ramadan be of ease to all my Muslim brothers and sisters. Happy Ramadan!

SFIS is Hiring!!

Below is a job lead from the San Francisco Islamic School (SFIS) for their new after-school program! Check it out and apply today by emailing your resume to Fowzigiah today!

San Francisco Islamic School is starting an after-school program aimed to help students academically and teach Arabic as second language. The program’s staff will be composed of one Arabic teacher, three tutors and a program director. All five positions are paid positions.

General Requirements:
• The candidate will serve as a role model for the youth participating in the program.
• Commitment: The program lasts for the school year starting September and ending in May. Candidates are expected to commit to the entire period of the program. The program requires consistent attendance and punctuality. Tutoring will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6 pm.

A Successful Tutor will:
• Create and maintain a safe and stress free learning environment.
• Inspire students and develop a positive rapport with them.
• Maintain and show positive attitude toward learning and working with the students.
• Supervise, interact with and motivate students during instruction hour while they work on their homework assignments.
• Help students to complete assignments.
• Evaluate and document student progress.
• Communicate student needs to the program director.

Minimum Educational Requirement: Some college, bachelor degree preferred
Pay Rate: $14/hr

Work Schedule:
Sept. 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30
Oct. 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28
Nov. 9, 11, 18, 23
Dec. 7, 9, 14, 16
Jan. 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27
Feb. 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24
Mar. 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24
Apr. 5, 7, 12, 14, 26, 28
May 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26

PLEASE SEND YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER TO fowzigiah@yahoo.com.

"Overqualified," the Ugly Myth

Lately, I’ve been approached by several well-educated and experienced professionals who are having trouble landing a job. Many of them have started taking out their education and some of their experiences off their resume (tsk tsk) in the hopes of landing that desired job. Why? Due to the reason they keep hearing from these employers, they are “overqualified.”

I personally believe that the term “overqualified” is an ugly myth. I believe this myth was started by the employer’s hiring manager who couldn’t simply speak the truth to their candidates.

An employer tells you, “sorry but you are overqualified for this position”, when in reality s/he meant to say, “you are not what we are looking for.” Plain and simple. There are several reasons why an employer will use that overqualified line. However, that line can cause you, the job seeker, a hit in your confidence. After getting that line, you are walking out thinking you are overqualified for a job you are qualified for. You start searching for jobs with either less or more requirements and you can easily end up in a job that doesn’t satisfy you.

As a job seeker, you need to know what you are applying for and if in fact you qualify for that position. Only you can determine whether or not you qualify based on your evaluation of the company culture and what you can offer to them.

It used to be believed that when an employer stated that a candidate was overqualified, they were referring to their age. According to a post by Starflight Corporation, it’s not necessarily about age but a lot about how the employer’s hiring manager who may feel threatened by the candidate being more skilled than them or in making a “bad hire” decision. Hiring managers can be reprimanded for costing the company money with “bad hires.”

Here’s a scenario to consider: At an interview that is going well, the employer asks, “don’t you think you are overqualified for this position?” How do you answer a question about being qualified? You simply showcase to them how you can take on several roles with your many talents. This appeals to the employer that you are worth the investment as in the long run, you’ll be saving them a lot of money. I think this question is great because they want to know what you determined from your evaluation of the company and what you can offer them.

However, if they give you this line as the reason behind why you weren’t hired, ask them for constructive feedback and/or simply end the conversation on a positive note. Believe me, you do not want to be disappointed, if anything be happy. If an employer can’t give you honest feedback and be honest with you in your face, then it’s not a place you want to work at in the first place.

As you go out there, stay confident and do not let that ugly myth near your confidence!

Support for NUMMI

As you all may have heard, the NUMMI auto manufacturing company in Fremont, CA is shutting down, earlier then they had announced. Many workers ended their decades long tenure today and the rest will do so next week.

Many of the NUMMI employees worked there all their adult lives and may have never felt the need to create a goal plan, update their resume or had an interview! The time has come to develop our careers, not just find a job, that’ll sustain us and our families. NUMMI employees should not be felt like they are alone during this difficult time.

If you or anyone you know worked at NUMMI, I’d like to offer my services and support. Please pass on my contact information so that we can set up some time of way to support our fellow community members.

To learn more about what’s been happening at NUMMI’s, click here for the news video from ABC 7 News.

What's Your Intelligence Type?

Often times, we see our barriers before our skill sets when it comes to what is it we can be in our lives. As we evaluate ourselves and our skill sets during our job searches, we can also learn of what types of intelligences we have. From there, we can better understand what skills we are good at as well as how we can improve ourselves as we learn new one.

It has been proven that there are eight types of intelligences. This is also relevant to the science behind how one uses either side of their brain for the learning processes. Before I go into the types of intelligences, one must realize that no one has only one type but maybe stronger in one then the other. Once one is better aware of their intelligence type strength, one can learn faster, gain confidence and improve on any weaknesses one may have.

1. Interpersonal – This intelligence is about social interaction and working with people. One who is always working in a group, especially surrounding themselves with like minded individuals.

2. Intrapersonal – Some what the opposite of an interpersonal intelligence. One who is self conscious and with a strong sense of individuality. One who is very well aware of their inner self, can work alone and set themselves on task with very minimal supervision.

3. Kinesthetic – This intelligence is connected with movement and the sense of touch. One who can be seen doodling while in a meeting or prefer conversing while taking a walk. Many children have a strong kinesthetic intelligence from birth and learn by touching (and tasting) everything!

4. Musical – Another stimulating type of intelligence, recognized in many studies that those participating in musical activities, even just listening to their favorite genre of music, as they work get far more ahead then without. Something also connected with the way either side of one’s brain works, one who is strong in this intelligence are strong in areas utilizing patterns such as music of course, math & programming.

5. Naturalistic – One who is comfortable and knowledgeable about nature and the environment. One who can be seen outdoors, prefers to be surrounded by natural scenery such as the ocean or trees. Individuals strong in this type of intelligence are mostly known for their creativity and sense of being focused yet relaxed.

6. Visual/Spatial – This intelligence is all about the visualization of things. One who understands colors, shapes and see how things seem to fit together. This intelligence strength has been recognized in recent years now with the popularity of visuals such as mapping an idea through an image or video and being easily made and shared throughout the internet, placed in professional presentations and taught in educational systems.

7. Verbal/Linguistic – One of the two most popular types of intelligences very much emphasized in public schools. Ones who utilize their strong vocabulary either when being spoken or written. Individuals with this strength can handle the load of paperwork, language specific types of documentation such as the “legal lingo” and speech writing.

8. Logical/Mathematical – The second most popular type of intelligence emphasized in public schools. Ones who can handle formulas such as algebra or statistics. Many with this intelligence strength take on careers as computer programmers, engineers, physicists and of course mathematicians.

With the knowledge of the eight intelligence types, one should be able to recognize the type of learning and working styles they are best at. Again, not any one person has just one strong type of intelligence, but I think each of us definitely has one that can be stronger than the other.

If you must know, my intelligence type would have to be interpersonal, visual, musical and verbal. What’s your intelligence type?

Crisis to Recovery

Disclaimer: Though this isn’t career related, I feel it is important to be posting this here since we’ve discussed sustaining our careers though simple budgeting.

“Crisis to Recovery” was a community resource fair that was held earlier this week on Saturday in San Francisco to support community members with any financial trouble; specifically any mortgage or debt related ones. Amongst the speakers presenting, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (District 12 Representative), City Supervisor Carmen Chu (District 4), Patrick Murcia on the government’s Making Home Affordable and Jeanne Lu on the SF Mortgage Credit Certificate Program.

Financial counseling was then provided by banks such as Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America to over 200 attendees to go over their questions and concerns. So many resources and even translation for our Cantonese speaking community members was provided throughout the event. Throughout the day, I was very impressed and simply grateful for our community members.

Below are links to some of the videos from the presenters as well as links to some of the resources. If you are not from San Francisco, check with your local city supervisor or congress representative to see if such an event is being planned in your area. Should you need help, please feel free to contact me.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier
Crisis to Recovery opening remarks

Supervisor Carmen Chu
List of local resources for SF

Patrick Murcia’s presentation of Making Home Affordable
www.makinghomeaffordable.gov
888-995-HOPE (4673)

Jeanne Lu’s presentation of SF Mortgage Credit Certificate Program

SF Consumer Credit Counseling
www.cccsf.org
800-777-7526

To Craigslist or Not to Craigslist

I have been researching some of these job search engines out there today but focused on the local ones. One in particular always stands out to me, Craigslist. I’ve always used and respected the work Craigslist has done in regards to finding local work, gigs and community events. Something I noticed with Craigslist which I wanted to share with my job seekers.

Disclaimer: I’m not promoting or advertising for Craigslist, just giving pointers on how to use them.

I put my resume on Craigslist where my email address was viewable. In one hour, I had received a good 30 emails, none of them were real jobs. Just a bunch of scam companies promoting working from home wiring money. The same happened when I then posted my resume with the option to make my email address anonymous. When I posted my resume without my email address and just my phone number, then I got about two calls with serious job offers.

Obviously, something is up when using Craigslist.

The companies that continued to email me rarely had any postings up on Craigslist. That could be explained by two things, 1. it does cost $75 per job posting and 2. Craigslist let’s its users flag postings that are seen as spam. It would make sense that companies really looking to hire would invest the time and money to find the right candidate.

What can job seekers do to better utilize Criagslist? I suggest that must you post your resume, take your email out of the equation. You’ll get fewer responses but at least they are serious calls. I would prefer that you DON’T post resumes on Craigslist. Instead, designate time to search jobs posted. You can even have search results from keywords emailed to you on a daily basis so that you don’t miss out. That works more efficiently then getting 30 spam emails.

There are plenty local job search Web sites right here in the Bay Area that you can utilize including Bay Area Help Wanted and Bay Area Jobs. Share your favorite local job search Web sites by posting a comment below, on our Facebook group or message me on Twitter.