This is Nina Mufleh . Last year, Nina moved to San Francisco, with one goal in mind – to find a job, in not just any company but with one of the biggest brands in the travel industry today: Airbnb.
But, things weren’t looking up for Nina, as she sent applications after applications, to companies in SF, with no luck. Her savings dwindled down to pennies, as she waited, desperately hoping for someone to take a chance at her, so that she could re-start her career in a new country. The rejections pushed her to the brink of her creativity, and that’s when she came up with the idea of what she describes as. “simplest yet most effective marketing experiment I’ve created to date” – a campaign was designed to get the attention of many companies by targeting one.
Nina created nina4airbnb, a website modeled after Airbnb’s own website, that displayed her resume, a report on what Airbnb should focus next, and a proposal to let her join their team.
See her entire resume at nina4airbnb.
Nina4airbnb immediately took off, and as its reach spread wider than what Nina had expected initially, it opened doors to opportunities she had only dreamed of, with multiple companies trying to get in touch with her for an interview. Amidst all of this, she got attention from Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb and Jonathan Mildenhall, the CMO.
@ninamufleh I am reviewing right now. Very impressive 🙂
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) April 21, 2015
Ok. You floored me with this brilliance. We’ll set something up for us to meet.
I love your smarts. Very much.
— Jonathan Mildenhall (@Mildenhall) April 21, 2015
Unfortunately for Nina, the Airbnb stint did not go as planned.
“As companies around the world were reaching out publicly, the one company that I had targeted was privately telling me that I wasn’t a fit for their needs. As emails of support were flooding my inbox, meetings with Airbnb’s CMO were cancelled and my followups were met with silence. Professionals I admire were calling my work impressive, but the person interviewing me was saying he couldn’t contextualize my experience because I “hadn’t worked at Facebook or Google or studied at Stanford”.
They were looking to hire someone to design their social media strategies, despite my 10 years of marketing and social media experience and despite the reach of my latest campaign, I was told I wouldn’t be that person. The decision had been made.”
– Nina wrote on her blog.
So, what was Nina’s next step after this?
“Doubt crept into my mind even as other companies continued to reach out. If the one company that benefited from this experiment didn’t want to hire me, what chances would I have with anyone else? I had used all my marketing skills and passion to drive their brand into news tickers around the world – headlines were appearing in Chinese, German, Arabic and languages I couldn’t recognize. Twitter and Facebook were abuzz with positive conversations about Airbnb, but that wasn’t enough. or maybe it was too much, I’ll never know.
All I do know is that in that moment, I was crushed. Gutted. My confidence was shaken. I had a choice, though. I could allow myself to be consumed by doubt, to accept their rejection as a judgement on my skills, or I could push through it by focusing on the bigger picture, on the end goal, which was to get a job at a top tier company in the valley.
Meanwhile, messages kept pouring for Nina from California to Calcutta, Rome to Riyadh, with people telling her how inspired they were by her efforts, and what she had done. Most of them had been facing career troubles of their own, and explained how she gave them hope. There were others who wanted to know the specifics of how she created nina4airbnb, so that they could give it a go themselves.
“I drew confidence from the support of strangers. I found strength from their words and gained resilience from their stories. All of their messages were overwhelmingly kind,” Nina recalls.
Nina met with dozens of companies, from established organizations to exciting startups – some reached out directly and others she went after myself. She found herself exactly here she wanted to be, when she moved to SF for the first time, a year ago.
“With every interview I learned more about myself and what drives me. I already knew that i wanted to be part of a stellar team, that I wanted the opportunity to grow and learn and do exciting work, and as I answered what felt like an endless stream of questions, I was able to draw in the details to those broad brush strokes.”
She was also approached by LinkedIn and Uber, among other big names, so what did she finally ended up with?
“I found everything that i wanted in upwork (formerly elance-odesk). From the start of our conversations, I was impressed by the way the company focuses on data driven decision making, on experimenting and testing obsessively to improve their product. I was inspired by how they’re helping millions of talented freelancers around the world build their careers online.
I’ve felt a rush of enthusiasm take over me with each person I’ve met there. As I sat through round after round of interviews, I found myself scribbling notes between conversations about what I could see myself learning from each team member. Nothing excites me as much as that feeling, that instinct that I’m signing up for something that has so much potential and promise.
And it’s that potential and promise that outshines all of the anxiety and self doubt that i experienced. It’s that feeling that proves to me that the campaign was a success, that by forcing myself outside my comfort zone, by pushing past rejection and focusing on my own goals, I was able to unlock opportunities I would have never had and for that I’m grateful.”
Nina4airbnb received over 455,000 visits, millions of social media impressions and resulted in over 14,000 people around the world viewing Nina’s resume. She also created a whitepaper to tell people how to go about doing what she did.
Like this post? Then, you’ll love the following!
The Resume that got Eric Gandhi a job at Google | Can your resume beat his? The resume that got me a job with Uber, and how you can be next. – by Dawson Botsford.