Ageism and other -isms are certainly not right.
Yet they happen.
We can’t control how hiring managers, or anyone else for that matter, think.
However, we do have a choice.
We can choose to be a victim or a victor in these situations.
Let me give you an example:
When I started recruiting in the late 90’s, I worked on Wall Street at a financial recruiting firm that oozed massive amounts of testosterone. Some of my male colleagues were uncomfortable being beat by women.
How do I know?
I was accused of cheating when I beat them in production or acquired a specific new client first… because it seemed incredulous to them that I could beat them fair and square, so I must have cheated (insert eye role emoji here). I didn’t cheat.
A few of my female colleagues and I had to wake the company up to maternity leave programs. (And the company expeditiously did put the policies in place.)
After being at the company for a few years, I was a ‘senior’ player at 31 years old.
Few people were married in our firm and many were single. Going out after work and on the weekends was big… you were in the minority if you were married and didn’t go out.
It was a great place to work, but lordy, unconscious biases existed at every angle.
Should I have complained?
I don’t know. No one really was mean spirited, except a couple of those dudes who didn’t like being beaten by a chick. But I beat them, so I didn’t care that they were upset. LOL.
Maybe I was too naive to think I could have complained.
In hindsight, for that time period, looking back, I still wouldn’t have complained.
Why? I believe it made me better.
I know it’s not fair that women and every other protected class have to typically do more than the norm to get ahead.
And I am glad today things are changing and there are formal avenues to make complaints and have the complaints taken seriously.
But if I look back on it, the biases others held made me better.
How? I simply made sure I didn’t act like any of their assumptions. I blew all of the assumptions out of the water.
And I kicked ass.
They couldn’t apply any of those biases to me. Well, they tried. But they didn’t stick.
I don’t think what I did is a guaranteed plan to avoid bias of any kind. I am not one of these people who arrogantly think -isms don’t exist because I overcame it or I didn’t experience it first hand.
I know it exists. But I never embraced it as an excuse. I wasn’t letting it get in my way. My mindset was one of a victor.
Again, I understand this mindset isn’t a guarantee that it would never happen to me. I get that. I don’t think I am special. I know many people in protected classes who genuinely worked just as hard and had those biases stick unfortunately. Victor mentalities are not a guarantee it won’t happen.
But victim mentalities almost guarantee you see it as a reason when it’s not the reason for holding you back. When you look for -isms, sometimes that’s all you see.
I see people who wear their -ism like a cloak and it’s the reason for anything bad happening to them. They never look at any other possibilities that they can control as to why they aren’t getting interview calls.
Not getting job interview calls?
The victim assumes it must because they are 54 years old. And they never look at the fact that they start their resume with tasks without achievements (and also highlight the fact they are a seasoned 20+ year experienced executive and wonder why no one calls).
The victim assumes it must be because they were home with their kids as a stay-at-home parent for 6 years, and employers must be biased against parents. When in actuality, they haven’t been clear on what they want next and employers want people who want their job and not just a job.
The victim assumes it must be because their name sounds like they may not be from the US. When in actuality, when we comb through the job description, their resume doesn’t speak to one thing the prospective employer needs. Just because the candidate thinks he can do the job, doesn’t mean he is qualified for the job—no matter what his name is.
Legislation can rule it away (although current political conditions are moving away from those protections), but ruling it away still won’t eliminate it entirely… ever.
The only thing you can do is be your best self day to day at work and on paper.
And bring attention to your achievements.
Achievements are -ism-less.
Achievements are the ultimate equalizer.
Achievements smash stereotypes.
So have an achievement-based resume ready to go when needed (which having a resume ready to go goes positively counters some biases, too!)
I have created three interview-generating. templates here ($47) and you get all three in this bundle:
Included with these templates are instructions on how to write achievement-based bullets to outshine all your competitors.
One of the best things you can do to fight -isms are to continue to be the best version of yourself and then promote it!
Get your templates here:
Lisa Rangel – Executive Resume Writing Services
Lisa Rangel and the Chameleon Resumes team have helped over 6,000 executives and senior professionals land the 6-figure positions they deserve.
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