Landing your first role in tech is a huge milestone, and it usually takes longer than people expect. Whether you’re a new grad or a career changer, the process of getting an interview alone can be daunting.
Jimmy Girot knows this experience firsthand. He’s the founder of Waymarker, a community-based media company that helps emerging talent and early-career professionals start their dream career in tech.
“I tried to break into tech for years after having early success in a different industry,” Jimmy says. “The rejection was hard, and I made every mistake in the book. But once I landed (in tech), my vision started to unfold. It’s been inspiring, and I’m still learning everyday.”
Within three years of changing careers, Jimmy was building and leading teams for a software company. In January 2021, he was reflecting on his experience — the ups and downs — and decided to help other people in similar positions.
Waymarker started as a private Facebook group for people to seek career guidance and connect with like-minded professionals. Shortly after the group was formed, the Waymarker podcast was started to interview professionals with interesting career journeys.
“Instead of being a career advisor, I wanted to create a connected model where the value was continuous,” Jimmy says. “I wanted to be a guide and give people directions to their dreams.”
As the community and podcast grew, Waymarker then added a hiring marketplace through a startup called Pallet. Waymarker’s hiring marketplace, where organizations can post open jobs and community members can apply, is focused on early-career opportunities in tech sales and support.
Since launching its Pallet in the spring, Waymarker has had thousands of impressions, placed community members in their first tech jobs, and helped companies like On Deck with their recruitment marketing efforts.
“It’s certainly not the only way, but I prefer sales or support if you’re trying to break into tech without technical skills,” Jimmy says. “I started in customer advocacy and worked there for two months before getting picked up by the marketing team.”
One community member is especially thankful for Waymarker. Adam R. spent nearly a decade in the communications industry, from local radio stations to national news stations. He was ready for a change and wanted to join the tech movement in Indianapolis. Through Waymarker, Adam recently landed a sales development job at a rapid-growth startup in Indianapolis.
“I didn’t realize the power of community in business until Waymarker,” Adam says. “Within 72 hours of reaching out to Jimmy and applying for the role, I had an offer letter.”
Jimmy is quick to point out that Adam’s experience is not the norm, but it’s a perfect illustration of why Waymarker was started. That is, to give high-potential talent the shot they deserve.
Around the Bend
As 2022 begins, Waymarker is focused on providing more value to its members and listeners.
“We grew quickly in the early days because I was so focused on building the audience. Now, I’m more interested in improving the quality of our content and connecting members to opportunities. It is a business, and we provide a ton of value to organizations too. But I think the long game for Waymarker is member-centric. Anyone can start a recruitment marketing agency. Content and communities are difficult things to build and scale. Difficult things last.”
Since Waymarker’s launch, Jimmy has also been intentional about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and specifically how tech opportunities have traditionally been less accessible for far too many. The podcast has featured several DEI strategists and leaders in an effort to expand the community’s thinking around this important topic, and that’s a continued focus in 2022.
“I have the attention of people who are going to lead organizations of the future. It is absolutely my responsibility to continue learning myself, help my audience learn, and take meaningful action towards lasting change. I’m excited for our 2022 plans around this. It’s the main focus.”
Waymarker’s members, listeners, and clients are primarily located in the Midwest. In fact, our very own Hannah Slover appeared on an episode of the Waymarker podcast to talk about Purpose Jobs!
Learn more at waymarker.co.