Blog | Kadima Careers

How the Job Acquisition Coaching Program Earned Maya $71,000 More

Since I started Kadima, I’ve been running an exclusive, invitation-only, 1:1 career coaching program to accelerate people’s careers. It’s called the Job Acquisition Coaching Program, or kJAC for short.

And I’m honored to share the success story of Maya Hicks, who accepted a job offer with a new company that doubled her compensation after completing kJAC.

While I welcome those of all backgrounds, I don’t accept everyone. The program is demanding, and only a rather driven person succeeds. One person who absolutely fits that description is Maya Hicks. If you’re interested in learning more about kJAC, details are here.

Key takeaways

  • Like many, Maya’s biggest setback in getting a job was having a structure for searches.
  • She also wasn’t taking advantage of job search sites, like LinkedIn, to connect with others.
  • Through Kadima, she learned how to make more money by optimizing her job search practices and targeting high-paying companies.

Background: Maya’s Job Search Problem

Maya was itching for career advancement, but she felt stuck. She was a Global Programs and Marketing Coordinator who wanted to take those technical skills to a bigger stage. 

Maya said, “I desperately wanted a new challenge in my career. I wanted a higher role, and I wanted an increase in compensation. I went through six months of rigorous interviews with no plan and received zero offers.”

Maya’s situation was one that many of my coaching clients have in common. She was bright, skilled, and fully capable of getting more out of her career, but as she put it, she “had no structure.” To accelerate her career path, she needed a true plan and systematic approach.

After a mutual contact introduced us in 2021, Maya became curious about giving coaching a try. Here’s what Maya stated when I asked her to look back on the state of her job search before coaching:

“I wanted to change the way I was going about interviewing. My interviewing skills were TERRIBLE. I wanted someone to give me guidance on the best way to interview, prep for these conversations, and revamp my resume. I just needed the tools and a real person and someone who’d advocate for me with my background and my culture because there are not many people who advocate for us. I know Alan does. He pushes for us so hard.”

It made sense that Maya wanted help with interviewing since this was the persistent stumbling block in her job search up to that point. We kept in touch, to possibly work together on accelerating her career.

Why Kadima Was a Great Career Counseling Option

Then, early in 2022, Kadima partnered with Blacks In Technology, a global platform for Black women and men in tech. Maya attended a joint session that I hosted with BIT and successfully applied for one of three scholarships they awarded for folks to get 1:1 coaching with me.

She officially began as a Kadima coaching client in April, and we hit the ground running.

“Being able to speak to a real person was huge,” Maya told us. “Alan had so much success in his own long career. He’s done the hiring, the firing. I knew he had the knowledge to guide me through the interview process.”

How Our Mentoring Influenced Maya’s Career

Until then, Maya “had never really networked with anyone.” She admitted that she was not using LinkedIn to its full advantage. She wasn’t reaching out to people. She was just scrolling through the timeline every day.

When she joined kCAP, one of the first things I held her accountable for was connecting with at least 30 people every single week in her field. 

“I started connecting and setting up meetings. I didn’t know that was a thing! That you could set up meetings with people just to talk and learn and build a brand new relationship”, Maya shared.

Maya Hicks

Check out Maya's testimonial in this video

It was a little uncomfortable at first (since she was new to this networking style), but week after week, Maya started to really see the lay of the land in her field. 

Her desire for a new challenge crystallized with each conversation into a sharp and clear target.

“I started asking people how they got into their role at their company, what they liked, what they didn’t like, what advice they had. I wasn’t asking anyone for a job at this point. I truly just wanted to learn about them and their role and the day-to-day so I could understand if this was something I even wanted to do.”

Networking & Goal Setting Led to a Better Position at a Desirable Company

In parallel with these networking efforts, Maya and I worked closely to identify target roles and companies that she wanted to work at.

  • She wanted a Program Manager role.
  • She would be doing some of the same things she did in her prior role, so she knew she could succeed there.
  • She would also be taking on some new responsibilities and truly growing in her chosen field (not just doing the same old stuff week after week.)
  • “The interview process was amazing” –– 1 week, 1 recruiter interview, 1 hiring manager interview, 1 interview with a senior team member, and an offer the next day.
  • Forcepoint, while not a well-known company, was still in tech (cybersecurity), which was important to Maya.
  • “They were able to negotiate with me. At my last company, they did not negotiate (no counters, just shut me down). At Forcepoint, I accepted, negotiated, and they increased the compensation by $5K more from their initial offer, which already blew my previous compensation away.”
  • Great benefits including unlimited PTO (“I knew my work-life balance would be top of mind and taken care of, so I can focus on my family.”) 
  • “Great communication between the hiring manager and the senior team member I interviewed with. I felt like I could really be a part of this team and like they saw the potential in me.”
  • The hiring manager (who would be Maya’s boss) told her that his leadership style was “hands off, laid back, just get your work done,” which was exactly what she was looking for.

“There were so many green flags from this company,” Maya exclaimed.

From Job Searches to Job Opportunities

Eventually, Maya’s networking and learning led to an interview with a cybersecurity company called Forcepoint that needed a Program Manager. After a crisp and no-nonsense interview process, she accepted a role there for $71,000 more (double, in fact) than she was making before.

Like all of my clients, this success was Maya’s. She set the goals, did the work, and reaped the rewards.

What kCAP provided was the structure, support, and accountability to focus her efforts on the moves that mattered for her job search. 

As Maya put it, “I didn’t know there were people that actually DO this –– who guide you through your career, who give advice and structure like Alan does. Coaching with him was unbelievable!”

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