Image via Fares Nimri
Nina Mufleh made headlines back in April for her innovative resume to Airbnb, which ended up catching the attention of Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. Her resume ultimately landed her an interview with the $25 billion startup.
But there’s a slight twist to the whole story: While Airbnb was on Mufleh’s list of top companies to work for, her viral resume was also a part of a carefully crafted plan to get her name out there with other companies — and it worked.
“There were about 10 companies that I’d been looking at throughout the year that I really wanted to work for, and all of them have a common theme of having a high growth potential, high quality team, and an environment that is very conducive to learning, which is what I was looking for.
“Picking Airbnb specifically for this report was pretty strategic on a couple fronts. The first is that I’m an active community member, so I genuinely understand both sides as a marketer and a community member, the brand values and how to communicate around that.
“Second, it’s one of the biggest pre-IPO startups in the area and there’s a lot of media attention around anything happening around the brand. I thought that would increase the likelihood of me being able to get some mainstream media attention, just by default of doing something cool around where everyone is looking at.”
Image via Shaz Khan
To develop her resume, Mufleh dedicated eight hours a day for a couple of days gathering data about the travel industry and Airbnb. Much of her data was simply scraped from the company’s website. From there, she spent a week working with a freelance designer to put it all together.
Mufleh, 32, was born in the United States and raised in Jordan. Her mother’s side of the family is Iranian and lives in Los Angeles, while her father’s side of the family is Jordanian and lives in Jordan. Since most of her contacts were in the Middle East, she targeted her contacts there first.
“I took advantage of the time difference between where I was, which was in San Francisco, and the majority of my contacts in the Middle East. During the evening, I shared it through them, 50 or so contacts. I said, ‘Check this out. If you think it’s cool, if you think it’s worth mentioning it’d be great if you could tweet about it.’
“In the morning my goal was to have a handful of people talking about it. I tweeted it to the Airbnb co-founders and shared it directly with members of the leadership team in hopes that they would take a look at it. The reactions begin building off of there. I was really fortunate that Queen Noor tweeted about it, my experiment got on the radar of many relevant people. At that point, the hockey stick effect of the conversation kicked in.”
Image via Joi Ito
Mufleh ended up not only getting an interview with Airbnb but was also contacted by other top-tier tech companies in SIlicon Valley, which she says was her “ultimate goal in the entire experiment.”
Ultimately, Mufleh decided to join freelancing platform startup Upwork as a freelance growth manager in their San Francisco office.
“I ended up joining Upwork because I really believe in their mission and they had everything that I wanted out of a team,” Mufleh said.
Before her campaign, Mufleh had co-founded a social media agency in the Middle East in 2009. She grew the agency to have three offices across the Middle East and 52 team members before she sold her shares in the company and exited. She says that she sees joining a company as an “extension” of her entrepreneurial path and as further fuel for her desire to learn more.
Image via Fares Nimri
When asked about the growing competition in today’s job market, Mufleh stresseed the need for candidates to find ways to stand out.
“What I learned from the challenges that I’ve faced is it’s really about finding a way to add value, stand out, and communicate that value to the audience that you’re interested in talking to.
“I think one thing that I would give advice is to really get an understanding for the company you want to work for, what it is that they value, what it is that they’re looking for — see if there’s a fit on both ends and how to compliment that value. It’s a huge difference especially in the interview stage when you can already identify those things and you can communicate them easily to the person across the table and have an understanding of what they’re looking for and what they want.
“Many times you’re not even sure if your resume is being read or if anyone is looking through it or not. There is this temptation to just ‘spray and pray,’ as some people have called it. I think the current way that resumes are reviewed, or received even, is so challenging for candidates to break through the clutter. You end up just kind of doing the same thing over and over again.”
As for the future, Mufleh says she would like to stay in Silicon Valley for the next couple of years and concentrate on learning as much as she can at Upwork.
See Muflehs resume in full below: