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Ageism

I got laid off at the end of September as a VP of Marketing and started looking for a job right away. I had interviews right away (on Zoom) but never made it past the HR screen. I thought it was quite strange as I had the right skills for the job. I've been working in high-tech marketing for 30 years, and I'm starting to feel like I should start looking at transitioning my career to something else where age does not matter. I have run my own marketing firm for two decades and have launched a lot of startups. When I was an outside consultant, I did not feel the ageism that I'm feeling now. In the meantime, I'm going back to offering my Fractional CMO services. Any advice from others who have gone through this? I know this is pretty common in the tech industry. Sigh!

I'm so sorry you are experiencing ageism, @kimberlyrose. I'm a career coach. Probably 40% of my clients have faced ageism in their job searches. It's in every industry and incredibly hard to prove. But there's hope! Networking is always the best way to find a job, and it's even more so when facing ageism. The more you can make personal contacts at places you want to work (rather than just sending in applications), the better chance you'll have at making it through those gatekeepers. Also, make sure you don't have graduation dates on your resume. That's not to mislead, but to keep the focus on skills not age. And try to include only the last fifteen years of professional experience. There are a ton of myths out there about older workers (we actually stay longer at jobs when we are over 50, for example). Ageism is the last acceptable "ism", and to make change it's going to take all of us talking about it, pushing back against it, and shining a light on the gatekeepers who perpetuate it. Please DM me if I can help in any other way. There are a lot of other people writing/talking about this who have much more knowledge than I do, and I'd be happy to share those references with you. Thinking of you!
Your professional and personal network is your best chance. Don't let that network get stale.
For someone with the amount of skills and years of experience as you have, networking is the way to go. Applying for jobs is the least fruitful. I have 17 years experience and I also had issues when I was just applying for jobs. I recently became a part of a career support group that is helping me with much better strategies to land a job. It is completely free to join and they have great free workshops on how to stand out and how to network. Not only that but Roadmap.net is a community and we all support each other in the search, because it can get lonely without a support group.
Thank you! I will check the group out.
I am too familiar with what you described. Although I was not a direct victim of ageism, I took a break from my high-tech career and when I tried to go back to work, I heard all kinds of comments including "you have lost your edge" and "you will not be able to cope with stress since you have gotten softer now" -- ouch! Anyway, I did land a job offer but it came with so many nonstandard terms and conditions that I declined it because I felt like it was a deliberate set up to make me fail or turn it down. I started my own consulting business. It was my first time doing so, and after 7 years, I am earning more than what a salaried position would have gotten me, I have been able to go back to school to get advanced certifications and besides, I get to decide what projects I want to work on -- to a large extent. My biggest regret now is that I did not do this when I was 33 (that is when I became eligible to own a business, being a first gen immigrant in the USA)! Had I started then, by now I would have ruled the world. :-)Since you have founded companies and are not new to entrepreneurship, I would strongly encourage you to do the same.However -- the fact that you are weighing options tells me that your heart is in the corporate career. If so, then others are giving you excellent advice on that matter. However, if you are looking for someone to cheer you on this path of entrepreneurship, then count me in. You go girl!!P.S. I forgot to mention. By the time I took this step, I had the financial cushion after having worked in Silicon Valley Tech for years. I also knew frugality too well -- having come to the USA with ~$50.00 in my pockets and having had no friends and family to bank on here when I arrived. I consider myself fortunate for that, and I understand that not everyone can count on it. Hopefully your financial situation can support the initial ramp up time any business can take. Wish you all the best!
Congrats to you! I have actually been a consultant for most of my career. I started my own marketing firm when I was 30. I started doing Fractional CMO work when my business partner retired, but there was too much up and down in the industry, so I decided to go in-house. I would like to go back out on my own and start to transition to another career. I've been thinking about getting out of high-tech altogether.
I think that might be an excellent move.My core area of work is not strictly Marketing. (I am a Data/Systems consultant, started out implementing CRM platforms and now focus on Analytics, ML and related areas, where I do come across Marketing systems and data). I've done fair amount of work with Marketing teams (actually have served as a board member responsible for all Marketing effort for a nonprofit).My take on present-day Marketing Ops is that there is a huge component of Technology in Marketing, and without a sound understanding of Tech one could not become an effective marketer!So this might be your edge, since you came from Tech. Many Marketing consultants I come across focus on the messaging and only a little on segmentation, but effectively using systems like Marketo or other leading platforms, Social channels and using them all coherently as a part of one whole strategy, plus using automation, is the new-age marketing. Of course a layout and the message verbiage are important, but using the platforms and automation you can make your reach very effective and resource-efficient. As I said, I am cheering you on, and in fact, would highly recommend more women to become business owners. My choice does not give me a fancy title or a corner window suite etc. But it gives me a balance to live a fuller life, where I feel like I have to autonomy to take my work (I am purposely not calling it a "career") where I want.Wish you all the best!! Happy to chat privately, if you wish to!!
@kimberlyrose Thank you for sharing I was beginning to think it was just me, in my head. I too was laid off ,in Aug, and really feeling as if there is some ageism at work here. With expertise in the beauty, retail, brand, luxury industry I've never had to work this hard to find a role. As a matter of fact, I'm used to it coming to me. With this, I'm taking some time to decompress so I can clearly start to consider whats my next move: pivot, different industry, consult? I'm staying connect to my mentors, reaching out to make new connections also.
I had experienced the same thing about 7 years ago in the tech field, so I started my own company doing custom software development. My company is doing well and am happy with my decision.