Brand Confusion as a Job Seeker

photo by David Barrie

When I was interviewed by Ken Bishop, the Way-Cup Show personality from 89Q, it was very first time for an interview as Julie, the career marketing communications professional and Design Resumes.

In the past, I did multiple interviews for print, radio, and television but in my prior role with Wausau Whitewater.

Ironically, I was also taught how to write effective press releases by a journalist because of Wausau Whitewater. In fact, my work with Wausau Whitewater brought me considerable notice.

Design Resumes held the contract with Wausau Whitewater. Not Julie Walraven, which makes it even funnier that during that whole time, my now 25 year old business never had a single mention in local press. The dual e-mail signatures with both Wausau Whitewater and Design Resumes didn’t make me a resource. My focus was on helping the non-profit grow and draw media attention.

Self-imposed brand confusion.

I thought that media would see me as a resource without me having to do much. But I thought wrong. I really did need to develop my own brand outside of Wausau Whitewater. I needed to network, as Julie, career marketing professional.

Lost my identity.

Oh, my Design Resumes clients provided a strong referral base and the business grew. Success story calls come frequently like the one from a client who said he was hired on the spot for a position matching his talents and heart’s desire. But as a career marketing professional, I failed to market me, creating brand confusion.

What Job seekers do wrong

  • Job seekers often think that all they need is to answer an ad or post their resume on an online application and they will get the job.
  • Or they blame the employer when they don’t get the job.
  • Marketing a job seeker is not much different than marketing a business or product. You have to have a recognizable brand or product. And then you have to drive up demand.

I was good at finding creative ways to get people to come to Wausau to paddle on the whitewater course. I went where they were. On the boater boards, on Facebook, on e-mail lists targeted to paddlers in multiple large metropolitan areas, I used print strategies, newsletters, and direct marketing. In other words, I networked and marketed. I could have used those same strategies for me and my business.

Brand Development for Job Seekers

  • Job seekers often don’t understand how important brand development (who are you?) is to their job search strategy.
  • They throw out resumes to every ad they see instead of focusing on the jobs that really match their talents.
  • Sometimes they don’t even stop to figure out what that talent is.

If you live this way for your whole life, tossing your job application in to everything, you will most likely be one of those unhappy employees who is stuck in a job they hate. Instead, if you think about what jobs you would really enjoy, focus on marketing yourself from that vantage point, you will end up in a career you love that you can have for as long as you want. Market pressures may intervene and you may have to change companies but if you are really doing what you love, you will be marketable.

Joy sells! Misery doesn’t! And brand confusion of not showing who you are and what you offer makes it difficult for anyone to “want” you.


  1. Andrew on January 17, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    During my off-time in this economic slow-down, I will be trying to market my images much more than I have in the past. I am willing to even try Getty Images as I have seen their inventory especially in sports. As big as they are, they do not have paddle sports or much in bicycling either. Barb McCrary sent me a number of URLs for Christian organizations that might be looking at images for Power Points,etc.

    I wished I could catch more of Kristen McClarty’s interest in my work since she is said to be in art sales. Any avenue to use my talents in this economy can be good.

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Julie Walraven

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