From Minimum Wage to Job Search Guru: Annie Yang's 5-Day Strategy to Land Your Dream Job - Freedom Nation Podcast

Episode 174

From Minimum Wage to Job Search Guru: Annie Yang's 5-Day Strategy to Land Your Dream Job

In this episode, Annie Yang shares tactical tips on how to land a job in 5 days or less. She talks about her background coming from a working class immigrant family and deciding not to take on college debt without a clear career plan.

Annie ended up working minimum wage jobs before eventually getting an accounting degree. After struggling to find good jobs, she developed her own system to land offers quickly. Now she helps others shorten their job search through her book, online community and training programs.

Key Takeaways

  • Why taking on college debt without a career plan often leads to being underemployed
  • How Annie went from minimum wage jobs to landing accounting roles in 5-7 days
  • Why applying to 50+ jobs per day is key to a fast job search
  • Using targeted resumes for each job title vs. generic resumes
  • Getting past automated application screening with keywords
  • Rethinking traditional education pathways to save money
  • The importance of professional headshots in making a good first impression
  • Building your own community vs relying solely on social media platforms

About the Guest:

Annie Margarita Yang is more than a finance guru; she’s a lifeline for Millennials navigating a rigged system.

A no-fluff YouTube personality with over one million views, she is also the best-selling author of two books, The 5-Day Job Search and 1,001 Ways to Save Money.

A part of the demographic she serves—Millennials facing financial hurdles previous generations didn’t. Annie’s firsthand experience translates into targeted advice that doesn’t just recycle general platitudes. Whether escaping the debt trap or creating a savings strategy that works, Annie is all about actionable solutions that yield results.

Annie’s primary focus now is her award-winning book, The 5-Day Job Search, which has become a must-read for young professionals clawing their way out of student loan debt while trying to keep a well-paying job. It is also a page-turner for Gen Zers looking to pursue their passions without getting into debt at all.

Not just an online personality, she also has a corporate career offline. By day, Annie is an accounting manager and business operations leader in the real estate industry. Her true passion, however, is empowering people to take charge of their financial destiny so they have funds for the things that truly matter in life.

Annie’s backstory is as compelling as her advice. She side-stepped the student loan minefield by taking on minimum-wage jobs right after high school. It wasn’t easy, but during this time she developed a love for frugal living, self-education, and planning for the future. Annie eventually earned her B.A. in Communications from Thomas Edison State University, proving that a debt-free education was still possible.

Based in Boston with her supportive husband, Annie also finds solace in learning the piano, a hobby that adds another dimension to her dynamic personality.



Fast Five Questions:

  1. If you woke up and your business was gone, you have $500, a laptop, a place to live, and food, what would you do first? " I think the first thing I do is I get on Squarespace and I pay 16 to get a website up and running. "
  2. What is the biggest mistake that you have made in business? "The biggest mistake is I never got people on my newsletter."
What is a book that you would recommend? "Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart by Janet Murray"
  1. What is a tool that you use everyday that you would recommend? "iPhone"
  2. What is your definition of freedom? "It is the ability to think and believe in what you want. So nobody can impose that on you."

About Jeff: 

Jeff spent the early part of his career working for others. Jeff had started 5 businesses that failed before he had his first success. Since that time he has learned the principles of a successful business and has been able to build and grow multiple seven-figure businesses. Jeff lives in the Austin area and is actively working in his community and supporting the growth of small businesses. He is a board member of the Incubator.Edu program at Vista Ridge High School and is on the board of directors of the Leander Educational Excellence Foundation

Connect with the Freedom Nation podcast at

Connect with Jeff:




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Jeff Kikel: [:

We had this discussion before. Annie, welcome to the show, my friend.

Annie Yang: Jeff, thanks for having me on today.

Jeff Kikel: I am so happy to have you on. I'm really excited to hear your story and how you've gotten yourself to where you're at relatively young. So, the cool part is it doesn't matter if you're young or old, you can get there if you put in the effort and the work.

So why don't you start off telling us a little bit about your story.

reading, this was in the year:

[00:01:00] stories of people coming out of college and 50 percent of them were either unemployed or underemployed

but they still owe like back then on average, $26,000 in student loan debt.

And I was like, my God, that's a lot of money. And how's anyone ever going to pay that back? And so financially, it just didn't seem to make any sense. So I didn't go. This is despite people saying, oh, you can figure it out what you want to do in college. And I was just like, it doesn't make sense to not know what you want to do and take on the debt to figure that out.

I think you, you should first figure out what you want to do. And then you make a plan and if it involves student loans, okay, but if it doesn't then don't do it. Right. Yeah. So I ended up working a whole string of minimum wage jobs up until I was 20. Okay. And then I went back, I did go to community college, and then I got an online bachelor's degree from Thomas Edison in communication.

an hour. So I [:

Jeff Kikel: What did you teach me? You taught me how to lose money.

Annie Yang: And so when I moved from Texas to Boston with my husband, I was just like, this is so stupid. I clearly, I'm very good with money management because I was earning minimum wage. I know how to save money. I can budget well, I track every penny.

I'm clearly good at financial management. I think I can do accounting for a small business because if I can do it for me, it's just on a larger scale for business, right? I'll make sure no one rips off that business owner. Right. And so I started applying to accounting jobs and I got an offer in seven days.

redential. You'll never make [:

And then I was just like, what? Do they really know what they're talking about here? Employers care much more about my character. So I was landing jobs, no problem. And then now that people are getting laid off, what I do is I'm online helping people land job offers in five days. And last week I had an immigrant actually from El Salvador who moved to California seven years ago and only has his GED.

He just commented saying that he got an offer in 14 days. So everyone in my community was so happy. I even bought a trophy, which I shipped out to him yesterday.

Jeff Kikel: That is awesome. That is awesome. I think, for me watching your YouTube videos and a lot of the stuff that you have, I think you're just.

. So let's talk a little bit [:

What is it that you primarily do?

Annie Yang: We're actually in the transition. So primarily what I do right now is I do accounting. So I have, I actually have a full time quote unquote full time job, but I actually spend only like 10 hours a week doing that job. Okay. So I still have W2 income and then I had an accounting firm, right.

Where I'm actually helping the same thing, just helping my boss, but clients instead, right? Just a different format. And then once I saw SVB collapse, I was just like, this is not safe doing accounting. People think it's secure. It's not safe because we don't know which businesses will go out of business.

So I was just like we need to pivot. And so I thought, okay. I was actually in the middle of writing the five day job search book. And then I had a conversation with my employees. I was like, we should capitalize on the fact that people are losing their jobs. So, and make money off of the fact that they can come to us and learn from us how to land a job quickly.

g this part. So it's not the [:

Jeff Kikel: Now, are you doing that mainly just through an online community or I know you've got the book. But in online community, or do you have like a training program that you offer?

What, how are you delivering?

Annie Yang: So we have the book and I only launched that back in August. So it's only been about five months since I launched. So, and then what I thought of first was like, I was thinking pure book sales. And then I realized it took me all this time to realize nobody read books, like nobody buys books, right?

It took me that long to realize.

Jeff Kikel: I think Amazon would disagree with you, but

Annie Yang: I know, but Actually, like, readers are actually a very small subset of the population. And I want to, like, reach millions of people with this information, right? So I was getting on podcasts and this is podcast episode interview number one Oh eight, I think.

ng I'll admit, but in one of [:

that was the first time I ever said, guys, I don't take sponsorships, but I did all this research. You want to support my channel? Use my affiliate link to buy these headshots. And then I made $10,000. It's an affiliate income from just recommending the head shots.

So I was shocked. How much people are willing to spend on headshots instead of a book. So we're going to grow that revenue stream and then now we're thinking since I'm posting almost every day on YouTube. But it's unorganized, right? Yeah. Yep. We're going to make a section on my site where people can sign up as a member

to subscribe and they can watch the videos in an organized manner.

So it'll be organized based on their problem. So. I can earn a subscription for that and then

I'll make a course.

Jeff Kikel: Yeah, and people will pay for that because, it's like, okay, I can go out there and try and find all this stuff. You put the information out there, but I've got to go assemble it.


Annie Yang: I have never done this before. Actually, I had a meeting with my employee.

It was her idea. I was like, I love it. She, because what she did was she went on other coaches sites. And so we never asked the coach to teach us this, what we're doing instead is we're learning through observation. So we're just going to like go on competitors who are in like totally different niche, right?

Like they don't necessarily have to be job coaches, right? Career coaches. And then we're just going to like take notes of everything that they do. We can sign up for their newsletter to see how their automation works, how often they're sending it. How is their copywriting and things like that. We learned just from researching other people, how they do it.

Jeff Kikel: Of course.

he more and more you see it, [:

the same stuff over and over again, like in my world the Freedom Day method that I created

everybody's like, Oh, that's so innovative and unique.

I'm like, there is nothing innovative and unique at all about what I do. It's just how I sequenced it together. And when I sequence it together the way I did, everybody's like, Oh, my God, that's amazing. Well, that's. It was for me looking at all the people that had been talking about this and just not

not really getting the point across or just repeating the same stupid stuff everybody else does.

Annie Yang: Well, that's Jeff's secret sauce.

Jeff Kikel: There you go. There you go. Well, tell me a little bit about the five day job search. What's your secret sauce when it comes to that?

Annie Yang: Yeah, it's, as we were talking about before the interview we're having now, it's applied to 50 jobs a day. Like that is one of the biggest things that I realized people are making a mistake in.

orking so hard. I'm applying [:

to someone else.

Jeff Kikel: Okay. I'm doing three to five a day. What are you doing for the other eight or nine hours a day?

Annie Yang: Or they think that they're putting in so much work because they're customizing quote unquote

each application or customizing their resume to target the employer. So they spend one hour. On one application, so if you apply to three you spend three hours

whereas I only spend one hour and I'll apply to 50 because I hit the easy apply button,


Jeff Kikel: So, what are some of the things in today's world? The common thing that I hear from people and I even saw this from the back end

has happened. You've got all [:

What's some of the keys to getting past that gatekeeper, so to speak?

Annie Yang: Your resume and your LinkedIn profile needs to be on point. So it needs to have the right keywords in there because of that automation that filters people out and people don't do that. Like, let me give you an example. So, I'm in accounting, right?

Yeah. And what is the casual way of saying what I do at my job? I processed and I pay bills, right? That is the casual way of saying it. That's everyday speak, but you can't put that on your resume, even though that's like. Any high schooler can understand because apparently the keyword is accounts payable.

That's correct. If you don't have the word accounts payable on your resume, you get filtered out right away. Yeah.

Jeff Kikel: Accounts payable, accounts receivable, it's like I collect money or I pay out money. Yeah, exactly. Well, I remember this too. This, like I said, I see it from the back end side of it.

g for a large financial firm [:

to get in and I remember I'm sitting there like, okay, it's paying extraordinarily. Well, it was in a phone site. So, you didn't have to get dressed up or anything like that. And I'm like, I'm getting like 3 people applying for this. What the heck's going on? And it was 1 of these things where.

Well, you have to have a series seven, which is our main license. And then a series 66 is nice to have. Well, it was blocking out the series 60. If you didn't have it, you didn't, boom, you're just completely out. I'm like, why are you cutting that? That's something we can train and pay somebody to do.

It's not hard to do that. So.

ing the job of the recruiter [:

I'm not qualified, so I'm not going to apply but they don't realize it's not your job to determine whether you're qualified or not, it's the recruiter's job.

Jeff Kikel: So in your method, okay, so let's say I've got to tailor my resume, my LinkedIn profile. So I'm looking for or I'm applying for very specific jobs. Would you recommend okay, this is my resume and I'm going to apply for I'm in accounting

so I'm going to apply, specifically to a bunch of accounting jobs.

And then if I'm willing to do something else, I need to tailor my resume over to that other industry then.

Annie Yang: Yeah, you need one tailored resume per title. So it's not even per industry, it's per title. So it depends on the title you're applying for. What I tell people is, I like to tell people to think like really long term in their career, what they want to do.

he's working as a front desk [:

And I was, it was like, you don't go from there to there, right? You need to chart the path. And I said, let's figure out how to get there. Like, what is the next title you. You apply for so that the next job you apply for is not front desk agent. Okay. You don't work the same job. You were already working.

And so what we did was we went on LinkedIn. We bought the we didn't buy, we got the free 30 day trial of LinkedIn premium. And then with that, you can do advanced filtering and look for anyone on the site. And we filtered for people who had hotel manager as their current title. And then we wrote, we went backwards in their career from there.

itle. So it has to be like a [:

Jeff Kikel: Oh, that's I never thought of that but that's brilliant starting from okay, where do you want to be? And then just working your way backwards to figure out, okay what should be my career path? Cause it may or may not be a career path with that one hotel you're at. It may be that. Okay, now that I've got some seasoning here, now I might apply to that next position at the next, hotel.

Annie Yang: That's right, because it might not be open. There might not be an opening for front desk supervisor at the hotel you're at. Yeah.

Jeff Kikel: That's awesome. What are some of your other advice for people and there's a lot of people I keep hearing more and more layoffs

and I expect more and more later on this year, what are some other techniques or things

that you would recommend for somebody that's out there looking for a job?

Annie Yang: I think it's about rethinking your education. So, when people get laid off, apparently the first thing they think of is like

to upskill by going back to [:

or I need to take out more student loan debt, get an MBA. I don't know why they start thinking this like that.

This is the answer and the key to

Jeff Kikel: the reason I got laid off is because I'm not smart enough, no.

Annie Yang: But this is like what people do, right? Or they choose to go to school because they're like, well, I think the economy will be better three years from now

so once I get out of school two to three years from now, it'll be better then and so my prospect will be easier or something like that.

But actually, they put themselves in a financially worse opposition because of their debt, right? So It is exactly that. You first figure out what you want to do, right? And that guy who said, I want to be a hotel manager. And he said to my face, he said, I'll never become one. I'm limited because I never got my college degree.

lege. And I was like, do you [:

I saw geology, biology, psychology, political science. I saw the whole spectrum, but I also found. Like a nice handful of people out of the 20 people that I researched, they didn't have any college degree. What they got was a $3,000 certificate from eCornell. And that certificate took only a couple months to complete.

And they were just as qualified because they were working as hotel managers as anybody else. So the answer, the other secret I have for people is you need to shift that educational paradigm

that you've been indoctrinated and conditioned with because you don't necessarily

need to pay $50,000 to be in the career that you want to be in.

le of that. I'm finishing up [:

It costs less than I think 2000 bucks for the thing. And if I ever wanted to go on, I don't know why in the hell I would, but I don't know why

if I wanted to go on, it would apply towards a full master's, but I'm like, I didn't really need that. I really needed some of the technical financial skills that I felt like I was missing.

And okay, it was easy. It's simple. It's self paced. I do it from home. I don't have to go on campus or anything else.

Annie Yang: Yeah, that's the way this world is moving. People are taking these like micro courses and certificates. Sure.

ing a full four year degree, [:

You can get some massive education from some pretty high end schools for nothing. Some of them, you can get them for free. You can just complete the course or you pay a small amount of money and get that certificate that says, Hey, I went through this. And it's a great resume item to dump onto your LinkedIn.

Annie Yang: That's right.

Jeff Kikel: Yeah, you got to get off your lazy butt and apply to some stuff. You've got to chart your career path. You've got to not worry about the education. What else is another thing that we would want to know?

Annie Yang: The other thing is I mentioned a bit about it before, but it's the AI headshots

not to push the affiliate income that I earned from it, but no, it is what makes a difference

because the headshot is actually what makes the first impression.

n to people who are the most [:

but the thing is we're also human, and we have biases, like, we have bias we judge people before they open their mouths.

And the instant we see somebody, we place that judgment on whether we want to get to know them more. And so it's important to work on your appearance. And the thing is, with the internet age, your appearance is your headshot. It is the one photo, the thumbnail that people see of you. So I tell people, you got to get this professionally done.

It's you get it done in person with a real photographer. It's $500, but there are AI options out there these days where you can pay between 30 and 100. And you can have a very nice looking headshot based on iPhone selfies.

Jeff Kikel: Nice.

Once again, AI is changing the world. I just am finishing a book and all the illustrations in the book were created with AI and it's easy.

You just go in, sometimes [:

let's have, let's put something on there that relates to you a little bit.

So we'll make sure we put your link to that. What's, what is the headshot software that you use or the

Annie Yang: one I recommend it's called Dreamwave AI. That's the number one. And the number two that I recommend is called try it on AI. So dream, dreamwave AI is best overall around simply because the outfits that they give you

and then the backgrounds look very professional for LinkedIn, try it on AI

their software is such that you would actually fall for it and it would look.

Very realistic and like you, but the problem is it looks like it's more suited for a fashion magazine. Oh, so the context is not the same, so it's more realistic, but not as professional.

and it could be depending on [:

what the job is you're trying to get, that may be that may be the route you want to go.

So that's the path that you've been going. What what type of programs are you offering? It sounds like you do some personal coaching as well as as some of these, eventual programs.

Annie Yang: Yeah I've been coaching people one on one. I was doing it for free because I wanted to get some experience.

I really wanted to figure out what, what's so difficult. Why are people struggling so much now that like, I see like people have the same problem over and over again. I'm just like, now I can make that. Of course, so we're going to do a five day job search makeover bootcamp or something like that. Okay.

Yeah. We're in the process of making that. Yeah.

Jeff Kikel: I love that. Well, and with all the tools that you're assembling, I think it's going to help a lot of people. So I wish you well on that. Well, let's transition now to the fast five questions. You ready? Right. So you wake up in the morning, question one.


Annie Yang: I think the first thing I do is I get on Squarespace and I pay 16 to get a website up and running. You can use a template. You'll have a website up and running by the end of the day.

That's basically just to put my contact information up and what I'm capable of doing. And then at that point, it's time to start. Calling people up, really, that's, that's the same thing as applying to 50 jobs a day

but for a business, instead it would just be calling up small businesses locally and asking them, do they want bookkeeping services done?

Okay, so that, that's really, I would spend the 16 and then the rest of that, I would just keep in my savings account. What do you mean?

You wouldn't. Spend like 3, 000, 4, 000 on a web page and

is but she didn't even have [:

She took a pack of 100 envelopes that you could buy from the dollar store. And when I was a kid, she would make me handwrite her contact information, her name and her phone number. That was it. On the envelope and when she was selling her product, she would stick the product in the envelope door to door

and she'd be like, do you want to buy this product for 5 and then they would buy it and she's like, Oh, by the way, you want to reorder?

That's my full number right there.

Jeff Kikel: That is brilliant. There you go. Yeah. 1 for the pack of them turned it into potentially 50 or more. Second question. What's your biggest business mistake you've ever made?

Annie Yang: The biggest mistake is I never got people on my newsletter. So even with the following I have on YouTube and all the templates and the resources.

d an email wall. I never did [:

and people getting platform from social media I realized, wait.

This isn't mine. YouTube is not mine. TikTok is not mine. It's not mine unless they are in my email list and in my phone book as well.

Jeff Kikel: That's exactly right. Well, that or behind in your own community or something like that, which, I've seen a rise in

some of these community softwares that are out there where you can build your own community.

And that's really what I've been doing with this show and with other ones I do, it's like, I'm going to be

I'm going to pay somebody that's going to say, Hey, I'm going to maintain your community for you because you're absolutely right. Facebook looks at that person as their client, not yours.

YouTube, same thing, all the social media, those are their clients, not yours, even though you're the one that grew that audience.

that you'd recommend for our [:

Annie Yang: I would recommend the book, Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart. So a lot of other books in the business category, they're like really inspirational, motivational

and they're not filled with practical, tactical advice that you can actually follow today.

Sure. But Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart is a book that I read where you could actually

walk away with things you could use for PR for your own company.

That's awesome. That's awesome. It's the first time I've heard that one. So that's fantastic. We'll have that in the show notes page. Question number four, what is a tool that you use in your business that you might recommend?

Well, that's so hard to answer. Oh my gosh,

Jeff Kikel: I guess I have

. So, yeah, you got to start [:

Jeff Kikel: Well, but once again, it's amazing how in 12 years we've gone from basically a phone that you could just type of text.

If you were lucky to something that, I can run my whole business from my iPhone. Simply, yeah, it's, I definitely could do it if I needed to. Last question. What is your definition of freedom?

Annie Yang: It is the ability to think and believe in what you want. So nobody can impose that on you.

Like, even if they forced you to physically do things in a totalitarian or authoritarian state

like, for example the last freedom that nobody can ever take away from you is your ability to think for yourself. Love it. You might not speak it, but you can believe it in your heart.

Jeff Kikel: And that's true freedom.

somebody wants to follow you [:

Annie Yang: The best place to go is by going to That's A N I E Y A N G And you can check out the five day job search audio book. I know you're for business owners here, but everything I talked about today is actually in the book and the audio book is free. So head over to and at the top, click on audio book to download the book.

Jeff Kikel: Brilliant. I love it.

Annie, thank you so much for being on today. I really appreciate it. I love your strategies and I think you're going to help a lot of people with it. So thanks a lot for being on and we'll we'll folks we do these interviews for you. We're glad to to share them with you. Make sure that you subscribe to the channel, make sure that you give us a little upvote.

annels. So thanks a lot. And [:

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