Why You Haven’t Heard Back on a Job You’re Perfect For

By Joyce Bethoney on May 04, 2017

“Genius does what it must, talent does what it can.” Edward Bulwer-Lytton

One of the most frustrating realities of looking for a new job is applying for a role you think you are perfect for, and then never hearing back. 

While every situation is different, here are three of the most common reasons why your phone might not be ringing…

Right experience, wrong industry. I hear from many a jobseeker, “I have all of the qualifications included in the job description! Why am I not hearing back on this?” Here is one possible scenario. If you are a senior-level social media manager at a nonprofit and apply for a Director of Social Media role at a large financial institution, odds are slim that you’ll get a call back. From my experience, hiring managers want people with experience in the same, or at least a similar, industry. Does this mean you can never change industries? Absolutely not. But be prepared for your search to take longer, a lateral rather than an upward move and more scrutiny around why you are right for a role in an industry that is not represented on your resume.

The “I’m sorry…and you are?” resume/LinkedIn profile. Be concise and specific about what you do in your resume, LinkedIn profile, and any other online/offline representation of your background. If you are too vague about your experience and skillset, hiring managers and recruiters will likely skip over you. Employers seeking great talent want specificity. They want to quickly understand what you do and if you match their criteria. This isn’t to say that you should “niche” yourself right out of a host of viable roles, but if you’re not clear on the sweet spot of your capabilities and skillset, you’ll likely get lost in the shuffle of worthy candidates.  

Too much fluff. Keep it short. Keep it sweet. Keep it simple. Don’t overinflate your roles and responsibilities. Your resume should be a snapshot of your experience and critical day-to-day functions. Everyone considers themselves hardworking, efficient and, in my area of recruiting, creative. Assume those are givens. Focus on the tangible attributes and accomplishments that make you stand out.

The time it takes to look for a new job is precious. Be honest with yourself and your future employer(s) about the roles you are appropriate for, and put forth the effort it takes to develop a resume, LinkedIn profile and portfolio that clearly showcase what you can do.


Joyce Bethoney is Director of Recruiting at Communications Collaborative, a Boston-based creative and marketing staffing firm.

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