By KIM O’GRADY
This is how I discovered gender discrimination.
It was the late ’90s and I was at an interesting phase of my career. For the first time in my life I possessed relevant qualifications, experience and could also show a successful track record in my chosen career path.
I had the job seeker’s trifecta. It was also summer and my current employer was pissing me off with their penny-pinching ways, so after three years of ball busting effort I decided a break and a job change was in order. Displaying characteristic overconfidence in myself I quit my job (without burning any bridges) and set about applying for others.
I was experienced in managing technical & trade supply businesses. I also had engineering experience and sales experience and had demonstrably excelled at every sales and profit target I had ever been given. I started applying for roles that would stretch me and lift my career up a notch.
There were plenty of opportunities around and I usually had a few applications on the go at any one time. I was an experienced guy in an experienced guy’s world, this wouldn’t be hard.
Then the rejection letters trickled in. I could take rejection, it goes hand in hand with business, but after the first few months I was frankly confused. I hadn’t had a single interview.
Instead of aiming high I lowered my sights and started applying for jobs where there was no career advancement. Now I had everything these employers could possibly want, it would be a shoe in. But still not one interview came my way, not even a phone inquiry.
Somewhere after the four month mark my confidence was starting to take a hit. The people rejecting me were business people too, how could my reasoning that I was perfect for these jobs be so different to theirs? Putting on my most serious business head I went back and scoured my CV. It was the only contact any of my potential employers or their recruitment companies had had with me. My CV was THE common denominator and if something was wrong it MUST be there.
I had fortunately seen a number of CVs in my time. I was happy with the choice of style and layout, and the balance of detail versus brevity.
I was particularly pleased with the decision I made to brand it with my name with just enough bold positioning to make it instantly recognisable, and as I sat scouring every detail of that CV a horrible truth slowly dawned on me.
My first name is Kim.