Career, Community, Job Search, Personal Branding, Relationships

YearUp Job Search Bootcamp

I’m so inspired! Today, I had the privilege of meeting a dozen young adults who are on track to boost their careers, with the support of an incredible organization, YearUp. I came across YearUp over the past year, and have had the opportunity to mentor one of their students, who just accepted a full-time job opportunity, starting on the heels of her YearUp graduation! YearUp serves as an amazing support system for young professionals ages 18-24 who have faced social and economic disadvantage, and it aims to bridge The Opportunity Divide, by providing soft and hard skills training, as well as matches with companies for experience-gaining internships, and support along the way. And, the results are amazing – 90% of graduates are employed or enrolled in post-secondary education within four months of program completion.

While mentoring one student has been an incredible learning experience by providing insight into her learning path and how she’s overcome challenges with a positive outlook and juggling multiple jobs and the program, I was looking for ways to contribute to the program even more.

When I discovered a week-long Job Search Bootcamp was taking place during program graduation week, I volunteered to share personal branding, relationship building, career development, and job search tips. Check out these talented students from the workshop:


This was a big day for me, as it was also the first time I shared my 8-step methodology for building mutually-beneficial relationships along your career.

8 Pillars for Building Giving Relationships in Your Network

What are the 8 pillars? You can request a quick-reference card here or even request one for a friend or colleague! The size of a business card, it will fit in your wallet for reference on your way to a networking meeting or job interview.

Personal Branding

Here’s my take on defining a Personal Brand. It starts with you at the core, surrounded by layers of personal interests, demographics, and who you are, then further encompassed by what you do. 


We covered an exercise to refine your personal brand for job interviews. It goes like this:

Answer these questions: (Example included)

  1. —What activities/skills do you enjoy most?  Solving problems, helping people, fixing things when it comes to technology – for example, I help my family and friends with computer problems all the time. My current internship also involves resolving cases and finding solutions to tech issues.
  2. What skills/tools are you trained in? Communications, tech support systems, case management. Here is what I learned at YearUp and learning on my own by watching online tutorials and trial-error with my own devices.
  3. What are you looking for in a job? A supportive team, clear growth path, positive company culture, healthcare and valuable benefits like training opportunities, location – Chicago downtown. Explain why.
  4. What are you NOT looking for in a job? Chicago suburbs location, team of 1, no structured or recurring performance reviews. When I work in a team, we come to better resolution. I also found group work to be supportive and to provide valuable feedback during my time at YearUp.
  5. What do you want to do? Support a company’s technology needs and build my skillset in technical support.
  6. What are your strengths? Assets to a company or role? Determination to make a difference for the team, helping others, creative problem solving.
  7. —Create your theme-summarize: What – How – Why? Example:

—I help others save time and frustration by solving technology problems so they can focus on their jobs and improve the company’s productivity and tech support costs.

Are you ready to give it a go? Try tackling these questions, then coming up with a tagline that boils down to your interests, goals, and how you’ll stand out among the crowd. Then position it in networking conversations, your resume, job interviews, or even in social situations to have a creative answer to “So,what do you do?”

As always, share your feedback or success stories using these tools in the comments below! Interested in bringing the 8 Pillars for Building Giving Relationships in Your Network to a group or class? Let’s chat!


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