Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.


Several people sent it to me. They were excited. Here was the golden key that unlocks getting a job interview with Airbnb, Uber, and LinkedIn. 

Naturally, I had to look.

It all started in April when Nina Mufleh created a resume she hoped would interest her dream employer, Airbnb.

She made it look like the Airbnb website. But what was most beautiful about it was that it didn’t go on and on about her past enormous (or not) successes. (Is she a great volleyball player? Perhaps we’ll never know.)

Instead, her resume communicated what she felt about Airbnb and what she hoped to contribute.

She thought she’d be good at marketing, operations, and business development. She thought she’d be OK at coffee.

This immediately moved Airbnb executives. How do we know they were moved? Why, they said so on Twitter. They must have thought this was good publicity for them too.

Which made the resume go viral. Which made Nina Mufleh get all sorts of calls from companies she hadn’t contacted. Which must have been quite fun for her.

This all happened in April. Now Nina Mufleh has a job. It’s not with Airbnb. Neither is it with Uber, LinkedIn, Dropbox, or many of the other companies that contacted her.

As Business Insider reports, Airbnb didn’t offer her a job. Yes, despite all that work.

She’s taken a job with Upwork, a company that connects organizations in need with freelancers.

For her part, Mufleh has created a highly detailed -- and nicely designed -- analysis of why her resume worked, and how her thought process can work for you.

But there’s a few things that surely stand out.

She bothered to think about her potential employer at least as much as she thought about herself.

Imagine how many dull resumes are thrust before HR departments every day. Imagine how many more are thrust before the HR departments of companies thought to be sexy. (They’re never that sexy in real life.)

Suddenly, here was something worth looking at -- thoughtful and stunningly light on boasting about self. Or, at least, on boasting about self in the awful boasty way that most resumes enjoy. (“I was a visionary thought leader in college.”)

Mufleh herself offers as one of her pointers: "Aim to solicit an emotional reaction." And aim for that reaction not to be: "Ugh, another egotistical Millennial. I can’t bear it. I’m off to Tahiti."

Of course it helped that her resume achieved virality. But there are two sorts of resumes that go viral: Extremely well-thought-out, imaginative ones like Mufleh’s, or ones that try to be “wacky” but succeed in only being painful to endure.

She believed she’d get an emotional reaction because of sheer attention to design and detail -- and by telling Airbnb some things they might not know. About their own business, that is. She talked about them. Everyone loves that on a first date.

On her blog, Mufleh explained: “It took a year of rejections to push me to the brink of creativity.” Creativity is indeed the child of pain.

One bright HR person told her that her experience couldn’t be "contextualized" -- yes, seriously -- because she "hadn't worked at Facebook or Google or studied at Stanford."

Wouldn’t you just like to contextualize that HR person for a few minutes?