See it in Action
Kayla, an entry level software developer from the West Coast, had been searching for a while. Stuck in contract work and wanting more, she was understandably very frustrated.
Kayla Says: "I had been looking for a job on and off in multiple industries for EIGHT YEARS before I found Cairo through the Tech Ladies Facebook group."
I could tell immediately that Kayla was really smart and wanted to examine her obstacles. As a former technical recruiter, I knew far too well how hard it was for entry level developers to get jobs. After a quick--and admittedly emotional--free consultation, I knew I wanted to help.
Cairo Says: A solid personal brand is a powerful tool, but it's especially necessary when there's not a strong relevant work history/portfolio to refer to.
Kayla admitted that nerves got the best of her during interviews, and spoke openly about living with mental illness and how that affected her search.
Kayla says: "I also have severe depression and anxiety which had made job searching pretty much impossible."
I designed a program around personal branding strategy, job search strategy and interview skills. Kayla was given worksheets, homework and deliverables. We met weekly with unlimited communication in between, to discuss Kayla's steps, progress, collateral and personal pitch.
Cairo Says: "I connected with Kayla's struggle on a personal level, since I live with Bipolar Disorder. I'm in no way a therapist nor did I try to be, instead, my top priorities became motivating Kayla and making sure she understood how well she was doing at each step. I also encouraged Kayla to see a therapist if she could and offered to work with them as well."
*A key to personal branding is finding an offer unique and authentic to you. Kayla's was obvious and things became easier strategy wise from then on.
Kayla had a unique background in customer support, giving her a distinct offer for tech companies; not Every developer has front facing/people skills.
Over the course of 9 months, Kayla redesigned her website ( a NECESSARY tool for a developer), updated her pitch, personal brand attributes and online profiles. She worked hard to crush her self-doubt and really represent the vibrant woman I spoke with weekly.
Kayla Says: "Cairo helped me re-do my resume and write a cover letter that I just had to change 2 sentences in depending on the job description. That was a huge help because it would take me days to write cover letters."
Kayla had trouble keeping the deadlines at times because of all the outside forces and the daily weight of having to work while dealing with emotional stress. I checked in often, without being overbearing, determined to make sure Kayla stuck to our plan and hit her benchmarks, while being sensitive to the real-life issues she faced.
Cairo says: "She was EXTREMELY COMMITTED to changing her situation which is exactly why she was able to win."
With her new resume and cover letter, Kayla got interviews at over 50% of the places she applied, one of which she landed an offer and accepted. She's now a Technical Support Engineer at a SaaS startup.
Kayla's Closing Thoughts: I've been at that job for a little over a month and I love it so far. The knowledge about tech industry hiring [that] Cairo offered was extremely helpful, but the way she helped me the most was by being supportive, encouraging, and understanding about how hard it is to be searching for a job as long as I had been and the additional challenges presented by my mental illness.
Cairo's closing thoughts: Kayla hit my suggested target salary as well and found a company culture that fits her remote needs, understands and respects mental health and will offer growth and professional development. I was very proud of the work Kayla did and pleased with the results. While I hope she doesn't have to look for a position for a SUPER LONG TIME, I think she'll have a much easier go at it the next time around! As a send off, our last meeting centered around onboarding and growth in her brand new role.