Back in April, a young transplant from the Middle East who had been living in San Francisco for a year had tried everything to get a job at her favorite company, Airbnb.

She had fallen in love with the company both as a visitor and as a host. She loved the concept of the company and it’s culture.

To land a job at the company, she had tried numerous standard search techniques including networking and submitting her resume through channels to various people within the company. She eventually did manage to meet with the company, but to no avail.

Family members tried to convince her that she should move on because she had tried everything.

But then she had a life-changing thought:

“I haven’t done everything I can.  I’ve done the same thing multiple times, but I haven’t tried new approaches.”

This “aha moment” led her to a breakthrough approach to capturing the attention and interest of the right people at Airbnb.

Her ground-breaking resume resulted in:

  • 455,000 hits to her website
  • Millions of impressions with $0 advertising
  • Featured interviews in Business Insider, Fortune Magazine, and invitations for speaking gigs.
  • Multiple company invitations to interview – at Airbnb and others.
  • The job offer of her dreams (but not at Airbnb).

Nina’s need and “big why” for getting the job at her dream company pushed her way, way past typical thinking and actions. It cancelled out all the negative voices around her.


Would you, could you, have created the brilliant innovative web site Nina did, one that mirrored Airbnb’s look and branding feel, and helped her make a compelling case for desirability as a major asset to the company?

(see her brilliant solution here: Nina4Airbnb)

Would you have done whatever it took to get the attention of the right people at Airbnb in order to generate breakthrough results?

For most people, the answer would have to be no – because they stop at the first, slightest hint of rejection, or worse, buy into the notion that if something is “hard” they should try something much easier and quicker.

That is the approach we most often teach (unknowingly) our staff, our colleagues, and what we most endorse in our day-in, day-out business dealings. I see this and hear this every single day in my conversations with clients and colleagues.

Determined, creative Nina, however, couldn’t and wouldn’t allow average thinking to prevent her from prevailing.

Necessity forced her to prevail.

And prevail she did.

While she didn’t get the job at Airbnb (her interviewer said her experience couldn’t be “contextualized” for their business !!!), she did get a job at a wonderful company, Upwork, formerly Odesk.

But more importantly, how she problem-solved, used unstoppable initiative, and overcame the negativity all around her, will serve her throughout her sure-to-be-successful career.

So what were the 6 brilliant ways she wouldn’t take no for an answer, and generated the breakthrough “resume” that earned her the ‘yes’ of her dreams?:

1. Realizing that she had been doing the same ineffective thing over and over to get a different result, and that an entirely unique approach was the solution.

2. In her first 2 succinct sentences at Nina4Airbnb she states what she wants and specifically what’s in it for Airbnb to read on. She states her personal value and brand – right off the bat.

3. She creates a look and feel that mirrors her ideal company’s on-line image, demonstrating she “gets” their brand.

4. She reflects the opportunity gap, and demonstrates she understands how to use data to make a strong case. 

5. She powerfully states why she’s the right candidate for the company over all the other people who equally want to work for the company. She goes way beyond the typical and gets very specific.

6. Finally, she clearly communicates her unique personal brand by focusing on a cross-cultural component, which has been a key theme guiding her career.

Nina’s determination and ingenuity earned massive attention across the web, and particularly from Airbnb and other wonderful companies.

And it taught her to never be satisfied by listening to nay-sayers.

The bigger question is:

What can you learn for yourself from Nina’s breakthroughs, and what will you do to generate new levels of determination, creativity, and opportunity within yourself, your team-mates, colleagues, and staff?