5 Steps to Landing Your Tech Dream Job as a Woman
Because why stop at just using your initials?
Investor and entrepreneur John Greathouse recently advised that women should use their initials to create a “a gender-neutral [online] persona” so they can “access opportunities that might otherwise be closed.”
While this advice has been received very positively in the tech community, it feels incomplete. After all, there’s so much more to getting a job than just your online persona — from phone screening and on-site interviews, to salary negotiation and your first day on the job, the tech hiring process can be long and arduous.
With that in mind, here are five more important steps for women engineers seeking the job of their dreams.
1 — The Job Hunt
Establish a male alter ego: Greathouse’s advice is decent, but why use your initials when you can go for a full-on pseudonym? A simple, approachable first name with a powerful and commanding last name is a perfect approach. Sort of like “John Greathouse”, actually.
Create social media accounts: Once you’ve got your pseudonym, it’s time to create a new social media presence. At a bare minimum, you should have a Facebook and LinkedIn, but it’s the most convincing if you add a Twitter and an Instagram. Be sure to add a professional headshot to all of these — stock photos are your friend here. Your alter ego’s pose should be thoughtful and intelligent: winning smile, arms crossed, chin tilted, eyebrow arched, and super confident. This is the new you.
Make it convincing: Flesh out your LinkedIn with all of your resume experience — remember to use lots of powerful action verbs. If you’re on other social media, remember to share convincingly masculine content. For Twitter, retweet Pax Dickinson and use the #notallmen hashtag. On Instagram, an overprocessed picture of a beautiful woman leading you across a pristine beach is perfect.
2 — The Phone Interview
Change your voice: To maintain the appearance that you’re actually a man, you have to sound like one. MorphVox Pro is one of many voice changing apps that convincingly alter your voice over VoIP calling apps like Skype. The caller on the other end of the line will immediately treat you with greater respect and believe you’re more qualified than a woman with completely equivalent skills. As an added bonus, you won’t face any questions about your family or children!
Drop some manly jokes: Potentially about growing balls and nude calendars (keep it classy by repeatedly apologizing for being sexist.)
Mention your favorite projects: Preferably you’ve taken part in some highly disruptive, dude-tastic projects, but if not — just take tangential credit for them by associating yourself with their creators in some way. You can also tout some of your VIP contacts to show how important and well-connected you are.
3 — The On-Site
Send a proxy: You’ve concealed your true identity thus far, but now you need to up the ante. Now it’s time to send in your fraternal male twin or hire an actor. Important: your proxy should keep it casual with a popped collar. Also, office nerf-gun battle skills are especially critical at this stage.
A few tools of the spy trade will ensure your success here: for whiteboard programming problems, you’ll need your proxy to wear glasses that transmit a video feed. He’ll also need a microscopic audio earpiece that lets you talk to him. He’s now your perfect human interview puppet. The up-front investment may seem steep, but considering how much higher your job offer will be, it’s actually worth it.
4 — The Offer
Negotiate aggressively: With an offer in hand, it’s time to play hardball. After all, women don’t generally negotiate (or get the same negotiation outcomes). But this company thinks you’re a man, so now is the perfect opportunity to work this for all it’s worth. More money — at zero risk to you. It’s a win-win!
5 — The Job
Accept the offer: You’ve made it through the entire interview loop, negotiated your offer, and, thanks to your new persona, it’s the highest base salary you’ve ever received. Time to accept the job, obvi. Dream come true!
Consider next steps: The offer is signed and sealed, but you can’t maintain this ruse forever. Time to think about your options.
- Go for the big reveal? You could deal with a hostile environment full of constant micro-aggressions, exclusionary treatment, unconscious bias, sexual harassment, vague and conflicting performance feedback; isolation, hostility, poor advancement opportunities; poorly-trained managers, false meritocracies, and unequal raises and promotions…
- …Or you could automate your job by creating a lifelike mandroid with an advanced, human-equivalent AI. Passing the Turing test and bringing Ex Machina to life will be a cakewalk compared to the obstacles and discrimination you’ll face in the tech industry. It’s pretty much a no-brainer that this is the better option.
Congratulate yourself on a job well done: Sit back and relax on a tropical beach while the dollars roll in and your Man-Bot automates your job in perpetuity. You didn’t fix diversity, but at least you beat the system that tried to beat you.
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Kimberly Koenig is a writer and photographer. When she isn’t satirizing tech culture, you’ll probably find her traveling or eating.
The Noun Project credit: Technologist by Thinkful, Fake Mustache by Claire Jones, data transfer by Luis Prado, island by Ángel Santos Freyta
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