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.

Make a Comeback in Your Job Search

By Joyce Bethoney on February 14, 2017


With the amazing Super Bowl win by my beloved New England Patriots, I couldn’t help but think about big comebacks—and how the Pats’ history-making comeback could inspire even the football uninitiated.

I’ve been hearing from a lot of folks lately who are deeply discouraged by their job search. I see the frustration at all levels—senior, mid and junior. And this is where the Patriots come in. Their confidence, resiliency and ability to rally—all in the face of insurmountable odds—translated into jaw-dropping success. Their example of mental toughness yielding great results is a lesson easily applied to a job search.

Having confidence when things are going your way is easy. Having confidence when you’re down is not. Here are some things to remember to help you retain confidence (and momentum) during your search:

It’s temporary. Whether you’ve lost a job or are leaving of your own accord, a search is not forever. Give yourself moments to acknowledge the vulnerability and sadness you may feel, but then, let them GO.

Focus on the positive. When interviewing folks who are a bit down, I point out their positive skills and guide them toward their strengths. By focusing on positives and identifying fixes for weaknesses, you have a much better chance of staying upbeat and enthusiastic—two keys to finding a great job.

Have a plan. Develop a reasonable timeline/plan and execute it. You can’t look for a job ten hours a day.  Block two hours in the a.m. and two hours in the p.m. Set up time for interviews and network in your industry. Be proactive—get in front of everyone you know and ask for referrals.

Exercise. If you ever needed a release of dopamine, it’s now. And whether you’re still in a job or out of work, you need to get out and move.

Do something for someone else. While you may be dealing with your own struggle, take some time every week to do something kind for others. Volunteer at a dog shelter, visit an elderly person, shovel a neighbor’s driveway. By doing something, anything, for someone else, you’ll take the focus off yourself for a minute and reap the mental benefits that come with volunteerism and being a little selfless.

Keep the faith. Staying positive during a job search isn’t always easy. It can be incredibly hard work. TRUST that you will survive it. Believe that you have the mental toughness and fortitude to get through it. And if you’re down right now, it’s time to mount your comeback.  


The New Normal of Job Search and How You Can Compete

By Joyce Bethoney on October 04, 2016

“There is nothing so stable as change.” --Bob Dylan

During my time working in staffing over the last 13 years, I have seen many ups and downs in our business. Largely driven by the economy. The economy is strong with the Dow over 18000.00, an unemployment rate at 5.5% and mortgage rates at 3.39%. It is undeniably a good economy. 

It’s also a candidate’s market. However, this doesn’t mean that jobseekers waltz in and secure any job their hearts desire. Landing a job has become exponentially more sophisticated than it was ten years ago. And even though there are more jobs and opportunities at the moment, the process is complex, competitive and doesn’t result in everyone getting a job just because they meet most of the requirements.

Here are a few things to do to increase your opportunities and offers in a market like this.


7 Portfolio Tips for Designers and Copywriters

By Joyce Bethoney on March 08, 2016

As a creative recruiter, I’ve seen hundreds of portfolios—ones that work, ones that don’t, and ones that could work with just a few tweaks. Here’s what you need to know:

1) If you’re a designer or copywriter, you need a portfolio. I repeat. You need a portfolio. If this seems obvious to you, terrific, please move to #2. If this is news to you, it’s time to build one. I see far too many good people miss out on great opportunities because they don’t have a portfolio.

2) Build your portfolio as you go. Gather your best work during contract engagements and long-term roles. If your client work is proprietary, pick up a few jobs on the side to show what you can do.

3) Make it clear which verticals you’ve worked in—Retail, Financial, Pharmaceutical, etc.—in order to paint a picture of your experience. Include a variety of samples, while still highlighting your niche.

4) Keep in mind that paid work always trumps the work you did pro bono or in school.

5) Lead with big brand and agency work.

6) Take the time to invest in your website. I’ve seen great designers and copywriters passed over because their websites were lackluster, unprofessional or out-of-date. Consider how someone would navigate your site. Enlist the help of a professional if need be.

7) Your portfolio is not your Facebook page. Over-sharing personal information looks green and unprofessional. Sharing one or two personal tidbits is ok, but your portfolio should represent your professional brand, not your personal life.

Your portfolio isn’t the only factor in your job search—interviewing, first impressions, relevant experience and more—all come into play. But your portfolio IS a factor. Don’t miss out on great opportunities because your portfolio doesn’t make the grade or doesn’t exist at all.

Backdoor References

By Joyce Bethoney on April 15, 2015

It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it. 

-Benjamin Franklin 

In the business of hiring, there is an increasingly common practice called “backdoor references.” A backdoor reference is when a hiring manager or team member knows someone at a company that a candidate has worked for previously, and puts in a call to gain information. Unbeknownst to the candidate. It happens all the time. 

There is a right way and a wrong way to conduct, and apply information from, a backdoor reference. Here are a few things to keep in mind.


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