Re: "Age-old" question

Subject: Re: "Age-old" question
From: Jody Zolli <jody -dot- zolli -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2016 14:43:05 -0400

I found myself in need of a job earlier this year. The search wasn't
pretty. I'm a technical writer with 30 years of experience. In addition I
also have experience in user-centered design and usability testing. And I'm
a woman over 50, which kind of seems to be the kiss of death.

I did try to tune my resume' based on the position I was applying for - I
often deleted decades of experience in hopes it would make me more
appealing. I wasn't interested in removing positions from LinkedIn though -
there were lots of people from previous companies I'd appreciate the
opportunity to work with again, so I guess if the companies I wanted to
work for took the time to look there they'd have found out the truth.

During the economic downturn, I spent 18 months working at a wonderful
company who was trying to stretch their round of investment money as far as
it would go, resulting in my bringing all of my years of experience to work
with me, but only being paid for 60% of them. Being the breadwinner (and
health insurance provider) for my family, I couldn't afford to do that
again. This time I sent out 58 resumes. The two that got me interviews were
both delivered as referrals by someone I knew at those companies. In both
cases I got through the first interview but was then eliminated with the
reason that "another applicant was a stronger candidate". Does stronger =
younger?

The opportunity that finally came through for me was through a headhunter
who was likely unaware I was even looking. He found me on linkedin. And one
of the main reasons I was hired was because I had coincidentally worked
with one of the other employees at a previous company, so they could vouch
for me. I wonder if I had been a younger person if I'd have gotten more
interviews without someone vouching for me.

I agree it's hard for more experienced writers to find jobs and I don't
think it's just because companies are primarily looking for writers with
"3-5 years experience" or "5-7 years experience". (And based on the job
descriptions I saw it's unlikely that someone with so little experience
would be able to handle all of the responsibilities listed for the job
anyway, but that's neither here nor there.)

I've seen lots of articles recently about how hard it is for older people
to get jobs in high tech, especially older women, and they seem to ring
true for me.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/04/opinion/sunday/youre-
how-old-well-be-in-touch.html?_r=1

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/03/05/tech-job-
market-hot-but-older-workers-struggle/775HPU2OYc5i0Jhr3THTqM/story.html

https://hbr.org/2016/03/older-women-are-being-forced-out-of-the-workforce

https://www.boston.com/jobs/jobs-news/2016/01/05/older-women-hit-hardest-when-looking-for-work

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/work/never-mind-the-menopause-why-women-in-the-workplace-are-finished/

-Jody
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