To get a job today, create a pitch; don't waste time creating a perfect resume.
Resumes are used to quickly reject you, whereas a pitch is used to get to know what you are proposing.
Nina Mufleh pitched her idea for Airbnb on a website instead of sending them her resume, which she had done and failed to get a job. The pitch was so good that the CEO noticed it, whereas her resume probably did not get past the resume parser software that many companies use today.
What made the difference?
All hot companies have one thing in common, and that is they have to grow quickly, or they die slowly. Forget about other problems they may have. All companies have multiple problems, but if a company can't grow, solving other problems won't matter much. When looking for a job, if you exploit this fact, you can easily differentiate yourself from the competition.
The traditional way to get a job has always been to send your resume and then pray that someone in the company reads it and contacts you. But when you are competing with close to a thousand people for one position, no matter how good you are, your chances of even someone contacting you are not good. You are applying on a prayer when you are trying to get a job at hot companies like Google, Facebook, Airbnb or Uber.
How to differentiate yourself from others?
You have to show the company that you are already doing the job that they want to be done. Instead of applying for the job, make a proposal that they simply can't refuse.
Nina Mufleh did this when she wanted to get a job at Airbnb. She created a resume that had a similar look and feel of the Airbnb.com website. I came to know of this resume from listening to the Ask Altucher Podcast hosted by James Altucher and Claudia Altucher. In their brief podcast, they both do an excellent job analyzing Nina's resume and why it was so effective that it got noticed by both the CMO and CEO of Airbnb.
There are so many reasons but the main one is that this is a solid business plan from someone outside the company presented as a resume. If you are Airbnb, you immediately notice this since she does not want a job, she is doing the job. She is showing Airbnb how they can make a boat load of money from her idea. And if they are interested in making money then who better than her to have on their team to expand their business to countries she described in her resume. She is showing the future for Airbnb and her talent and potential to capitalize on the opportunities in Middle East.
Here are few other things she does that are very effective:
She is focusing on the present and the future so she provides a link to her LinkedIn profile on the website if Airbnb wants to look at her education, experience, and achievement. In addition, she includes other ways Airbnb can know more about her as she includes her Twitter handle, email address, and blog site.
She indicates right in the beginning that "I want to work at Airbnb."
She targets her resume specifically for Airbnb; the resume can't be used for any other company so only Airbnb would be interested in reading this closely.
After her brief intro and her purpose for creating this resume, she tells how well Airbnb is doing and then gets to the heart of the problem on "What's Missing?" She does something that all companies want in their employees today: Ability to define a problem.
She addresses a possible objection that an executive would raise by answering, "Why this matters."
She then makes it easier and tells Airbnb on "Where to Start." She has not only identified the problem, but she is also solving the problem by showing them where they can start. She is not only defining the problem and solving it but steps to take to solve it.
Next she addresses another objection that someone would raise such as, "Can Airbnb Move Into Dubai Today?" by providing market challenges and market opportunities.
She does not stop here; she adds partnering opportunities and regional events that could be a potential huge business for Airbnb.
She then tells her story and her love for Airbnb both as a guest and as a host.
If someone has gotten this far, she gives four ways she can add value, including making coffee (so she even shows with some humor how badly she wants to work at Airbnb).
Lastly, she does one thing that James Altucher points out in his podcast that is quite clever and shows off her personality when she writes, "I love getting shit done." Using profanity may be inappropriate in a formal resume, but she has not written a formal resume. She is doing a job. When you are doing a job, you better love getting shit done since you are not always wining and dining clients.
To do a good job working for a hot company today, you need passion, research skills, analytical skills business acumen, creativity, and guts to take initiatives. She does all of this in her resume and makes her more certain of the outcome she is capable of delivering. She takes uncertainty out of her being considered for a position at Airbnb.
The resume Nina has written is excellent. I think what she could have done that would have closed the deal is to create three videos.
Video 1 would be a two-minute pitch to get Airbnb to view the short three-minute video of the proposal. And if they wanted more detail then also provide a 20-minute with more detailed information. She has a perfect resume, but what is missing is her ability to articulate her vision. She can bring her proposal alive by doing three videos.
She is selling, and before she can sell her idea, she has to sell herself first. All she has to do is to turn it into a video so she can not only sell her idea but sell herself in the process. There is a big difference between a written word and spoken word. If she had turned this into three videos, then I am sure she would be in negotiation with Airbnb to start work right away.
Isn't this time consuming?
You may be asking that isn't this a lot of work for a job when you don't even know whether you will get the job or not.
If you like the industry that you are in and you can add value then you should definitely go all out. It may not be that much work since you already know the industry and how to add value. The time consuming part is to put the resume the way Nina Mufleh did and organizing it in a way that captures attention.
And even if you don't get the job, it shows that you have the necessary skills to add value to a potential employer because you have an entrepreneurial mindset or even become an entrepreneur yourself.
Why this method is so effective?
The reason this method of getting a job is effective is that you are making it easier for someone to make a decision. You are not making them think too hard. You are methodically walking them through understanding your ideas and making a go or no-go decision. You are doing all the work, and that makes a big difference in how someone pay attention. If you have monopolized someone's time, then you are likely to win.
Another thing that makes this approach effective is that you are making a proposal (with a business idea), instead of making a request (with a resume). According to the blog in Inc titled, "Why You Should Make Proposals Instead of Requests," the author explains that people are so busy that you have to make it easier for them to make a decision. A good way to do this is to save them time by making a proposal instead of making a request.
Another reason why this method is so effective is that it gets the attention of powerful people who can make the decision that you want, which in Nina's case is to hire her. Powerful people are busy and they don't waste time with powerless people unless it is some kind of charity they are involved with. They simply are not going to give their time to other unless there is something in it for them.
Heidi Grant Halvarson, social psychologist and author of 'No One Understands You', says this real well in this blog from 99u titled, "How to fuel collaboration and innovation" to make yourself instrumental to others. She explains that people in power have a narrow focus of attention so you have to get to what they are focusing on otherwise they are not interested in talking to you. You have to figure out how you can add value to them, help them reach their goals, or help them make money. If you do that they are going to be interested in talking to you as Nina found out and landed a job at Airbnb.
To get the job, you not only have to do the job, but make a compelling proposal such that it not only defines a problem but provides potential solutions. If you do this, it will increase your chances of getting the job.
This applies to all jobs. Carol Leifer (comedian, writer, producer, actress) says on "The Howard Stern Show" that to get a writing job on the "The Jerry Seinfeld Show," you had to pitch an idea that both Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David liked. If you did not have a good idea, you did not get to write for an episode. If both Jerry and Larry liked the draft, they would make some changes and that is what we got to see on TV. This is kind of what happens in interviews. You are giving a rough pitch that resonates and it would go through iterations before it gets implemented and it would probably look a lot different than what you pitched, No pitches are ever perfect.
Getting a good job today is very hard and you have to up your game. To up your game, you don't apply for a job, but you have to do the job to get the job. Unless you do this, you are one among thousands on the outside praying to get in. Unless your prayers miraculously get answered, you are likely to remain on the outside.