Standing Out from the Job Hunting Crowd

Anyone attempting to land their dream job can learn a great deal from Nina Mufleh’s experience.

By Jane Hosking

Sometimes submitting your resume when applying for a job feels more like you are throwing it into a dark abyss where it will never be seen again, let alone be read by anyone. When Nina Mufleh moved to San Francisco from Jordan last year in the hope of landing a job at a high profile tech firm in Silicon Valley, she found this experience all too familiar.

Despite having a decade of experience in marketing, and having cofounded a company which grew into one of the leading social media agencies in the MENA region, Mufleh struggled to get an interview. After a year of applying for jobs the traditional way she decided to adopt a dramatically different approach when trying to land her dream job with Airbnb, the hugely popular home-sharing website.

She designed a website which presented not only her skills and experience but also a detailed rundown of why Airbnb would be wise to expand into the Middle East. Social media quickly caught wind of her unusual online creation, and it soon went viral.

Within two weeks, the website received nearly half a million hits. There were hundreds and thousands of tweets, her LinkedIn profile was viewed over 14,000 times, and her story attracted global media coverage. But most importantly, within a few hours of launching the campaign, Mufleh was contacted by Airbnb to arrange an interview.

While it didn’t result in a job offer, Mufleh had garnered so much attention that she also gained interviews with dozens of other high profile companies, which eventually led to being offered a job with Upwork, a platform that connects companies with freelancers.

Here are five top tips we’ve developed with the help of Mufleh to help you stand out from the crowd when looking for a job.

1- Think outside the box

Each industry is different and will therefore require a different approach, but Mufleh strongly believes in the value of thinking creatively when it comes to applying for a job. “I think it’s really important for people to re-evaluate what they’re doing and what the opportunities are,” she said. Mufleh added that you need to work out a way to be unique, and look at the challenges from a different angle so that you can find an approach that will work for you. You’re not going to stand out if you’re using the same tactics as everyone else.

2- Use the power of your digital presence

By building up an online presence using social media and by posting content online that’s relevant to your field, you can significantly increase your visibility to help you be noticed by potential employers, and impress them with the work that you are capable of. Be careful at the same time not to have anything online that could work against you or damage your image in the eyes of an employer.

3- Reach out and connect

Social media, particularly Twitter, can be an extremely effective way of connecting with the relevant people in your field. Mufleh suggested identifying the relevant people in your targeted field, following them, getting an understanding of how they communicate, and then eventually opening up a dialogue with them, which could lead to suggesting to meet up for a coffee or a conversation. Other than this, Mufleh believes that following the right people and consuming the content that they share will keep you informed and ready for any conversations that could lead to a job.

4- Use your network or build one

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that knowing the right people can take you a long way in getting that dream job. When Mufleh first moved to San Francisco she had no connections there, but by asking her network at home to help spread her campaign, she managed to attract the attention of those in Silicon Valley and create a new network. HM Queen Noor also brought Mufleh’s website to the attention of Airbnb’s CEO via a tweet, which no doubt helped her get noticed. So if you find you don’t know the right people in your field, think about how you can get to know them. This might include connecting through social media, attending relevant events, or joining a relevant association.

5- Stay positive

Being rejected again and again, or not hearing back from a recruiter after you have slaved away for hours writing a job application can be a soul crushing experience. Despite knowing she had a lot to offer, Mufleh found that self-doubt was one of the biggest challenges of looking for work. “Throughout my own journey there were times I doubted my own abilities, where I wondered if I was ever going to be able to succeed,” she said. Mufleh, therefore, believes that while it’s really difficult to maintain that positivity, it’s the most important part of looking for a job.