Recognize Your Strengths as an Arab-American

Minorities in the Job Market

I identify as Arab American. My dad is Saudi Arabian and my mom is American. Growing up, I never fully fit into either background, but I’m grateful for both cultures for allowing me to have an open mind, empathize with other people’s perspectives, and shape me into the person I am today.

In terms of the job market, it’s important to recognize your strengths, such as intercultural communication, living abroad, and/or being bilingual or multilingual, etc. Rejection is normal and unfortunately it’s possible that ethnic people or people of color are getting rejected for our names. I’ve heard of stories where candidates have been declined a position for possible reasons like underestimating language skills or not being a U.S. citizen. This is an issue that is more likely to occur within smaller cities and less with larger cities because they are more diverse. Discuss advantages that set you apart professionally, culturally, and personally (if applicable in the interview). Regardless of rejection, never be ashamed of your heritage, recognize that rejection is normal and happens to everybody, be confident in your abilities, and continue to persevere by applying to more jobs.

Making connections is important to help receive job offers, meet people, and learn about new skills. In order to receive a career in your preferred field, it’s necessary that minorities and people with disabilities apply for internships, work in relevant fields, and acquire opportunities that allow for improvements in related skills to your future career.

Job Interview Tips

Be confident. It sometimes feels awkward talking about your own accomplishments or good qualities but when asked, it’s important to deliver that information with an example or two to better explain your strengths.

Be concise rather than ramble on. This can be difficult when we’re nervous, however, it shows the interviewer that you’re sure of yourself and clear at explaining your experiences.

If possible, try and arrive 10 minutes before the interview because that helps you organize your information, looks better than even arriving on time, and may help you stand out among other potential candidates.

Multiple Positions at Sanford Health

I work in Fargo, North Dakota, at Sanford Health as a Marketing Intern. Sanford Health is one of the largest health systems in the United States and specializes in the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research, and insurance. In my role, I implement innovative marketing strategies and increase brand awareness by writing in various genres such as news releases, blogs, and newsletters. I also help to inform employees on Sanford’s internal site through writing, photojournalism, and interviews, and direct and communicate with designers to execute marketing plans.

I’ve worked as a Patient Access Representative for the past two years at Sanford as well, and that experience is enjoyable because my job consists of meeting new people at a clinic when checking them in. It’s exciting seeing the different backgrounds that live within my community, especially because where I live is not as diverse as big cities. I also like talking to Arabic speakers in Arabic whenever possible. The process of checking people in gets old and repetitive, but I’m satisfied with my co-workers, job, and benefits.

Student Activities at North Dakota State University

The clubs that I’m involved in on campus are the school newspaper, The Spectrum, and TRIO Student Support Services. I take pictures for the newspaper and occasionally write articles. I also post on TRIO’s social media accounts to inform SSS students about available resources, workshops, and events.

Living in North Dakota

North Dakota is okay. It’s difficult because I love big cities and warm weather, which is the opposite of North Dakota. I do believe that there are many job opportunities with less competition, polite people, it’s safe, and it’s a good environment for people to raise a family. Despite the cold weather and small population, I’m very grateful for the opportunities that I have received and the person that I have become from living here.

Community Volunteer at Cultural Diversity Resources

The goal of this organization is to enrich communities with diverse populations, provide people with resources, and host cultural events to break boundaries between people within the community. During my time at Cultural Diversity Resources, I’ve barely gotten to interact with clients face-to-face; however, I love knowing that I can help people in my community in any way possible, even if it’s indirect. Tasks primarily include clerical duties, but I like when I’m able to educate clients on the phone about available resources offered.

My Career Plans

After graduation, I plan to work in the marketing field. I’ve always had a passion for travel, photography, art, and design so I prefer working in the advertising, travel, or entertainment industry. I’m open to other industries and related careers to my major as well.

My interest in photography began at the end of High School. I have always had a passion for the arts. This includes drawing, painting, sculpting, etc. When I got my first phone, I took pictures of scenery whenever we traveled and really liked it. I remember seeing students at my High School taking pictures for their photography class and that developed my interest in photography too.

Photography in North Dakota is enjoyable if it’s a nice winter day. There could be a lot of pretty pictures of snow and nature. Driving out away from cities allows for nice pictures in nature in any season too. I mostly take pictures of people and events on campus, so I’m not as experienced in this part of photography.

North Dakota
Photo credit: Maryam Bukhari
North Dakota street
Photo credit: Maryam Bukhari
North Dakota snow
Photo credit: Maryam Bukhari
North Dakota snowy day
Photo credit: Maryam Bukhari

Maryam Bukhari

Maryam Bukhari is an undergraduate student at North Dakota State University majoring in Strategic Communication and minoring in Art (Digital media emphasis). She is currently searching for a summer internship in advertising/marketing, communication, or any other related field. She would preferably like an internship that gives her the opportunity to do some design work as well. Maryam enjoys getting involved in organizations that challenge her to improve on skills like photography, writing, design, advertising, interpersonal communication, campaign strategizing, brainstorming, and public speaking.

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