Profile of a Modern Job Seeker: Yifei Zhang

As you may have gathered by now, I don’t believe in traditional job searching.  I think huge job boards are typically a black hole of nothingness, traditional resumes are old school and cover letters are ineffective bull shit. 

Therefore, I was pretty darn excited when I came across this modern job-seeker Yifei Zhang on Yifei (pronounced EE-fay) wants a job at, so what did he do?  He created as a way of showcasing his skills, talents and desire to be a valuable member to the hubspot team. 

Yifei is a college drop out who, in my opinion, is smarter and more innovative than most of the college grads I know.  He is living proof of my theory that “the best education is self-education.”

Yifei took an unconventional (and perhaps controversial) path to starting his career.  He did the same thing in trying to land his dream job at Hub Spot.  Read Yifei’s story below and then give us your feedback.

Yifei’s Story

I come from an Asian family with strong educational roots. As a little kid, I loved reading. Loved learning. And I had great parents who supported me. Then high school came around, and I started to hate institutionalized education. I couldn’t have explained it as well then, but the rules of were designed to make everyone “adequate” – even those who aspired to be more.

Long story short, I went to college at BU, and worked my face off trying to break free of the bureaucracy and actually learn a thing or two. But it seemed so inefficient, all the busywork and prerequisites. I loved the people, the atmosphere, and those unique moments of intense challenge (right around finals). And when I realized that I could have all of that outside of the campus without the cost or absurdity, I made up my mind to leave.

So my last two years have been spent immersing myself in topics ranging from entrepreneurship to meditation. I taught myself web design, worked first in high end retail and now a non-profit foundation, made a lot of friends in the Boston start-up community, and am just looking to continue the journey.

Why I used Social Media to Apply for This Job

I decided to apply to HubSpot using a blog because it seemed like the right thing to do. No joke. HubSpot is a young, progressive start-up that helps businesses get found online. They market themselves through quirky online videos and rap songs. The blogging approach seemed to be a good fit for the company culture. Had I been looking into investment banking, I might have taken a different route.

What are your general thoughts about using social media in a job search?

I think online media can be effective in today’s job market… but only if you understand the bigger picture. The main advantage isn’t the ability to put your resume and accomplishments online. The main advantage is being able to convey your “soft” qualifications – your passion for the subject, your personality, your ability to engage an audience, etc. It’s that ellusive quality called “brand.”

My own approach, while it has a bit of novelty to it, is just another way of tackling the same problem: how do I stand out?

What do YOU think?

  • Would YOU ever try to land a job by creating a site like Yifei’s? 
  • Do you think Yifei’s method will be effective?
  • Do you think that dropping out of college will be a help or a hinderance to Yifei’s career?
  • Employers- if someone applied for a job at your company through a method like Yifei’s, how would you react?
  • Do you think more traditional companies will start using social media to find their ideal candidates?

Stories like this prove that the recruiting and job searching game is changing.  I’d love to hear what YOU think!

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.