WayUp: Bringing Employers and Early Career Professionals Together

Heather R. Huhman

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College: it’s a time of self-discovery, learning, growing, new friendships — and the sudden realization that the real world is about to hit.

For most, it’s a truly intimidating and confusing time. Even with the help of mentors, professors, and career counselors, the job search is challenging for young, inexperienced college students and recent grads.

“As someone who worked all throughout college, I knew the struggle of finding meaningful work and balancing it with school,” explained Nikki Schlecker, founding team member and current Head of People at WayUp, a platform where early-career professionals can job search and explore internship opportunities.   

It’s this common struggle that united co-founders Liz Wessel and JJ Fliegelman in September 2014.

“They are friends from college (the University of Pennsylvania), and came together to solve the problem of helping students and recent grads get jobs and helping employers find the right early career professionals to hire,” Schlecker said.  

WayUp believes every student and recent graduate has the right to find the perfect job and every employer should be empowered to find these fresh young professionals. Here’s how they’re making that happen:

The WayUp Way

Schlecker and the WayUp team aren’t only passionate about finding the right jobs for college students and recent grads. What truly sets the company apart is their understanding of recruitment challenges.

“After working at Red Bull full-time, a company that hires hundreds of college students, I knew what a headache it was to recruit them,” she said.

While 74 percent of employers plan on hiring recent college graduates, according to a March CareerBuilder survey of 2,380 hiring and human resource managers, the challenge of hiring them remains clear. Unfortunately, the same survey found 50 percent of employers feel new college grads lack people skills and 45 percent say they need to develop problem-solving skills.

Even though there’s a large pool of employers searching for them, college students and recent graduates continue struggling to find the right jobs due to the lack of skills employers are noticing. And it’s finding the solution to this issue that really gets WayUp’s team excited.

“I remember being in college and being so lost when it came to interview prep, resume writing, and the job search. I wished that I had a place that I could go to as the single source of truth that could help me learn what I needed to know in a digestible way,” Schlecker said.

Schlecker and the WayUp team are making that wish come true for current college students. Their website offers quality resources for job seekers on everything from career guides for various majors and industries to how to crush it at their job. To date, they’ve helped millions of people get hired and are excited to help millions more in the years to come.

A search for fresh talent

When you hear the words “investments” and “manager over $163 million in assets,” you immediately picture highly experienced men and women handling these technical and delicate situations.

However, Banyan Global Investment Advisors, LLC was looking to hire a trustworthy investment advisory intern to conduct analysis for bonds, stocks and options, and evaluate client accounts.

Within one day of posting their job on WayUp, BGI filled their quota of 25 applicants, which resulted in them hiring a highly qualified lead.

“Five out of the 25 candidates I considered included students from Columbia, Harvard, University of Chicago, Stanford, and UC Berkeley,” Daniel Reich, principal advisor at BGI Advisors told the WayUp team. “We accepted an Applied Math and Economics major at Harvard and had a great experience with her.”

BGI Advisors could’ve spent hours upon hours scouring for qualified college students to entrust with their information. But with WayUp, they were able to narrow down their search to a specific subset of users with a targeting system. This allowed them to limit the job search by location, major, graduating class, or post to the entire WayUp community to broaden their reach and accessibility.

WayUp understands how to communicate with their user base. In addition to sending job notifications via email, the platform also utilizes texts, and push notifications, as well as Facebook Live sessions, Snapchat takeovers, blog posts and more to connect with students and grads about new jobs and different companies on the platform.  

In order to make WayUp a truly successful recruiting platform, the team made sure it’s an easy and successful experience for students and recent grads, as well. Once students and graduates complete their free profiles, they have access to the jobs and internship platform, where they receive opportunities based on their profile details.

Then, they can apply to dozens of jobs within minutes using a one-click apply feature. Since employers share non-negotiable applicant qualifications, students and recent graduates don’t waste any time applying to jobs they aren’t qualified for.

This combined system of narrowing down and reaching out to students and college graduates helps companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies recruit talent for a starting price of just $75 a month.

Looking toward a bright future

From being part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2015 batch during the company’s first year of business to watching millions of college students placed with jobs, Schlecker is excited for what’s to come.

“Our vision at WayUp goes beyond finding just opportunities for students while they are in college — we are excited to continue to expand our platform to support recent graduates and early career professionals,” she said.  

And since millennials are no strangers to personalized technology, their ability to grow and help them explore their passions while navigating the professional world is absolutely possible.

“Over the next few years, WayUp is working to bring an entirely new level of personalization to our product, in a way no job search platform has ever done before,” said Schlecker.

Cool features:

  • Job advertising and amplification
  • Employer branding solutions
  • Sourcing tool
  • Analytics
  • Mobile 1-click apply
  • Public page for social sharing
  • Ability to add custom application questions
  • Integration with Greenhouse, Lever, and iCIMS ATS
  • Free for students and recent grads

Improvements we’d like to see:

  • Integration with broader range of ATS
  • Resume and cover letter templates for students
  • Ability to pair with a mentor

Heather R. Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.