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The Key to Career Success: Mastering the Art of Being Career Smart

Last Saturday, I got the privilege to attend Illuminate’s Think Tank with Mash Chowdhury, a

cybersecurity consultant at Deloitte, as part of Illuminate’s Associate National Lead program. I was extremely inspired and would like to take the opportunity to share what I learned with my Linkedin platform.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mash’s presentation for us as he was a vibrant communicator who was fun to interact with. From creating his own 6-step career formula to heavily criticizing our Linkedin profiles, Mash gave extremely insightful tips on how to grow your network and build professional relationships. His tips — or laws, as he calls them — are as follows:

1. First Impressions.

One of the most important things in the business world is first impressions. No one will consider you if they do not deem you worthy of their time, so capturing their attention is vital. As humans, we start forming judgements that lead to quick assumptions, which last well beyond the first moment of contact.

2. Build connections.

Your parents, teachers, friends, and “insider connections” cannot get you into your desired organization on their own. You must be able to stand up on your own feet and prove to yourself and your coworkers that you are capable of getting the job done.

Additionally, don’t connect with others just for the sake of future referrals. Reach out to them and ask if they will be your mentor, ask questions, or check up on them here and there — building meaningful connections will encourage the other person to put in a good word for you willingly.

3. Bring a sniper, not a shotgun.

Never, ever, send a generic resume to the jobs you are applying for. Building a singular resume for numerous job families won’t land you the job; instead, ensure your resume is tailored to that job family. Make sure it’s concise and to the point, and preferably only 1 page long. “Aim, prepare, and get that bread” - Mash Chowdhury.

4. It’s a grind to the top.

As Mash puts it, there are many ways to the top of the mountain. Everyone’s strategies and life goals will vary, so defining the meaning of success is a key part of finding meaning in your life. The biggest challenge will be learning to be successful in your own way and finding out what makes YOU happy. Seize the opportunities available to you, and if there aren’t any, make some for yourself. Act upon the things you learn as there is no other way to the top. Work hard, study on weekends, and keep playing the game - the hard work will pay off.

As mentioned earlier, Mash created a 6-step career formula which includes highlighting your academic strengths, personality bonuses, professional “wow” points, why you are ready for the role, why you will stand out, and the must-have job requirements to land the position. This formula is a simple and straightforward organized way to pursue the career you want and ace your resume content and interview. Finally, Mash gave us some constructive criticism on our Linkedin profiles, and how to write and approach people to connect with you. Approach people who are similar to you. Whether the person went to the same high school, university, or worked at the same company as you — heck, even is the same ethnicity as you — it wouldn’t hurt to bring up something in common between you two when you are reaching out to connect with them. People like relatability, and are drawn more toward someone who is similar to them.

Stay consistent.

To steadily grow a network on Linkedin, Mash advised us to keep sending Linkedin requests, at least 3-5 every day. Getting into this habit by approaching people and expanding your connections will heighten the status of your profile page.

Adapt your communication style to the occasion.

When searching for people to connect with, it is imperative to scour profiles for who they are as a person. If their profile seems to give off serious vibes, write a serious connection request message. Whereas if they seem goofy, then write a fun note to match their style!

I am glad I had this opportunity to interact and learn from Mash, and I am sure to apply his feedback to my own job pursuits!

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