In the competitive world of employment and entrepreneurship, it is important to position yourself to facilitate personal development. The term branding has been relegated to companies and celebrities. However, everyone should work on developing a personal brand. Not many individuals focus on cultivating their personal trademarks as they grow in their careers. The brands are important; and they exist to ensure that the development process is smooth and leaves a footprint among colleagues, friends, workplaces, and bosses. A brand is anything that is uniquely associated with an individual. It may be a symbol, name, reputation, emotion, tone, employees, design or even the perceived attitudes that differs the one individual from another (Wilson & Blumenthal 2008). Some individuals have created trademarks associated with their names being worth billions of dollars. At a business level, branding is common. Its importance at personal ranges has not been emphasized until about a decade ago. Entrepreneurships have realized that as businesses require brands to survive in competitive markets. Therefore, individuals demand self-positioning since they make these firms work (Kramer 2011). The essay is my reflection on the career growth process, involving personal branding and self-positioning to grow as a unique person.

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As I make plans for career growth, I must focus on the way I appear to the world. Self-positioning and personal branding is the first step to ensure that my name and reputation is interesting and polished. Once people know who I am and begin to identify my specific area of understanding and expertise, I will be on the first step to becoming a required person in my industry or niche. The question is related to the most efficient strategies to ensure that the person becomes recognized by building authority and following. The experiences of every entrepreneur are a proof that hard work and persistence are required for an individual to be successful (Chritton, 2012). In addition to loving what one does, continually learning from others and building a great team around the one’s career development are some of the most important guidelines to creating reputation and a personal brand. When it comes to starting or running a business, the most valuable asset is a person. It is what gives the one a competitive advantage, helping in driving sales (Quilty, 2013). And while one might set out an excellent business plan, the strategic vision and nous, all the efforts are moot if the standing with potential investors, employees, and customers is not set out. Building the personal reputation does not happen overnight. It is created one block at a time, ensuring that all the requirements are met every step of the way (Bence 2014).

There are two desirable differentiating points that I have identified in self-position and constructing myself as a brand. The first one involves self-evaluation, discovering my strengths, skills, talents, and weaknesses. The second one involves developing a unique brand using original and potentially successful methods. The first step is self-discovery. The biggest mistake that one can make is starting the self-positioning process just for the sake of it. People fail to invest time in learning and discovering about what is in their best interests, what they would like to spend their lives on, and how well they are suited for the paths chosen. In my first desirable step towards personal branding, I have decided to take an individual journey towards discovering myself (Schawbel 2013). The key to success is not revolutionary. I have learnt that it is compensated based on one’s passion. In order to discover my passion, I need time to reflect my past, plan my future, and think of the strategies that would contribute to the success. In order to find the one’s desire, the person needs time to think. The one has to find time to carry out the research to find all the requirements of the career. It should be a step by step process. The individual should not rush towards a path to success.

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Self-evaluation is about figuring out what one plans to do for the rest of the one’s life. I have set the goals that I want to achieve in life, written down a personal brand statement, which involves what my career does include and the path I would like to take. I have also written down a vision and mission statements, as well as created a development plan. The self-evaluation process should also involve the input from experts. One should consult other people such as colleagues on the strengths and weaknesses, but does not have to take it as the specific advice. The description of the brand should also involve one’s personality as described by others. The person should evaluate whether the attributes given by others pertain to them. I have learnt that the brand development process should be planned such that self-impression should match how other people perceive you. Before I enter the second self-branding and positioning process, I plan on selecting a niche. It is to ensure that I master my domain. The domain means that I have to find an area that does not have many competitors (Grams 2011). I obtain the highest possible probability of success in the chosen domain.

Self-evaluation encompasses defining who I am, how I am perceived by others as well as what I want to achieve. In determining who I am, I have analysed my skills. They include abilities, education, and professional experiences. Specialization should also be involved. The key to success is determining what one is good at and capitalizing on improving it. It includes the personality and passion in the career chosen, which is important in guaranteeing that one perfects the career. In determining how I am perceived, I have evaluated my personal relationships. It is done by inquiring what my friends, colleagues, educators, and mentors think about me. This issue is important in evaluating whether whatever they think about me is similar to how I would like to be perceived. In the digital generation, the person’s online reputation is also important in personal branding. It involves what the online search results in search engines and social media reveal about the individual. After hearing one’s name, the most common thing that happens is searching the names in online platforms to see the history. The digital footprint that one leaves behind is important in self-positioning. It is also essential to evaluate professional relations. It occurs through the inquiry of people that the person meets professional qualities, whose perceptions may not be biased as compared to those of friends and relatives. On what I want to achieve, I have written down all my goals, strategies towards achieving them, and the target audience while developing my personal brand (Banet-Weiser 2012).

The second desirable point in my self-positioning process is the actual design and creation of the brand. An individual trademark does not start when the career is begun or graduate from college. It is the process that is cultivated for a long period of time leading to a close association in a long run. After getting to know what I have, having claimed my niche and set my mind towards the target brand, I plan on getting online. I have come up with my personal branding toolkit, which is the sum of all the material required in designing, creating, and marketing my trademark. It comes from the first process, which is self-evaluation. My toolkit is unique such that it has characteristics differentiating me from other individuals not only at school but also as I grow in my career. The first component is my business card. According to the research I have carried out, it does not matter the level I am at, but I should have my own unique business card. It is a very important tool for creating official contacts especially during meetings, forums, interviews, and other social functions. The business card contains my picture, contact information, my personal brand statement as well as the contact logo and data. I maintain both the personal and digital business cards, making possible to share them with people as well as through social networks. The distribution of it is an important step towards my self-positioning process. It will ensure that as many people as possible are aware of my skills (van Dijck 2013).

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My resume is also a part of the personal branding toolkit. I have designed a CV with the cover letter and references. These ones are the typical requirements for job applications and interviews. Every individual requiring a consideration for a job opportunity should have the resume depicting their academic and professional history as well as the personal statements. I will prioritize each document with the custom information depending on the target audience. I also plan on posting my CV in online professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, in order to ensure that it makes it the ultimate social media resume. It will promote my personal brand across the globe as well as making it shareable to billions of people. My personal portfolio creation is as well essential in the self-position process. I plan on creating a web, print and digital portfolio to showcase all the works I have done in the past. It is aimed at convincing people of my skills to accomplish similar results in the future. As I grow in my career, I will update my portfolio every time I succeed in the tasks related to my professional development. The use of social networks such as carbonmade.com will ensure that I can showcase my creative and innovative skills across the world especially when I make great strides in my career.

Doing the portfolio will also be my motivation tool (Marwick & Boyd 2011). It is related to the fact that I have to work harder each day to ensure that I have something new to add to it and make it unique as compared to my colleagues. The portfolio as well includes taking special consideration in my popular social networks to guarantee that the friends I maintain are important in the career growth. It will show that my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other popular social media accounts are active and contain status updates attracting the professional audience. This process ensures that the classes of persons around me are crucial in my development process. I will contribute to discussions related to my area of expertise to guarantee that I am well known in it.

The most unique aspect of my personal branding process will be building relationships. As most people undertake the networking process as involving selling, I will ensure the following fact. My process will be about talking to people and healthy interaction. I have sharpened my networking skills to be about listening rather than trying to sell my brand. The best networkers are those ones being able to build relationships and invest their time in learning about others as well as identifying with them. I will ensure that I connect with people, since it is the best way to build my personal brand and getting my name and reputation out there. As more persons know me and what I can offer, they will be more likely to do business with me or give their recommendations to others. I have learnt that self-promotion is important in brand development (Omojola, 2008). After creating my trademark, I will ensure that I maintain a good and strong reputation. It is best achieved by having the necessary confidence required in sharing my vision and brand with my audience without sounding as if I am selling myself. I will create a plan on how I am going to market my brand to the relevant audience. This process ensures that I pitch my professional knowledge and contacts around other professionals.

There are also the points of parity that I will need in order to negate possible weaknesses. One of the main issues is reputation management. According to the advice that I have received from experts, I have learnt the following fact. It may take more than twenty years to build the good reputation, but only five minutes to ruin it. Being guided by that, I will ensure that every step I take is careful and well-calculated. When building a personal brand, it is important to manage the reputation along the whole way. It is not that everyone is going to agree with what I have to say or do online, being in interviews or blogs. It is important to be ready to address the concerns and critics in a professional way to guarantee that I do not ruin my reputation. There is also a need to be mindful to track my social media activity, since it is one of the ways through which millions of people can access my information. To avoid any loopholes in my reputation, it is important to treat social networking sites as the reflection of who I am and what I stand for. It involves treating my updates with care to ensure that a productive activity does not turn into destructive works. The access of social networking sites by other persons has also ruined others’ self-positioning processes (Milo 2013). I will ensure that I secure all my accounts to manage them effectively and appropriately.

The second point of parity required to overcome weaknesses in self-positioning is consistency. It is very important that I should always remain motivated despite the challenges I meet on the way. While building the one’s reputation, there are individuals that make their main agenda as breaking a chain of success. There are also some risks associated with career growth such as a failure, rejection by colleagues and other professionals, as well as lapses in innovation and creativity. The input to build the one’s brand is only half the battle in self-positioning. To ensure that the person remains on the upward trend, it is essential to continually monitor what others say and think about you. It is also advisable to continue looking for some ways to grow in the career such as enhancing education, attending professional forums and carrying out the research in new areas and ideas (Banet-Weiser 2012). The one’s reputation is everything to the trademark and positioning. In order to hit my target and annual benchmarks, I will ensure that I follow the way how my target audience perceives me. I will also avoid the influence from negative personalities and individuals while sharing my vision, being motivated to achieve my goals and creating my personal profile.

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There are some things that I will need to do in the future that I am not doing now in order to achieve the desired positioning level. One of them is thinking beyond individual positioning. I have based my plans, goals, objectives, and strategies towards designing, creating, and developing my personal brand. However, there are different situations that affect an individual especially when one becomes a leader with a strong and good reputation. The challenges that the person faces require taking strong stands and difficult decisions in various situations. The cases may affect the lives of others, thus requiring thinking beyond the individual self-positioning process. There are also other situations affecting employees and customers especially when one grows to become an entrepreneur. The old ways where decisions required going by the rule book are soon changing (Bence 2014). As I grow in my career, I will need to take strong initiatives that may differ from the common ways. It should be done in order to achieve the desired results not only for my personal brand but also for the benefits of those around me. The tendency to play it safe and just think of my individual position will soon change as I get into the career world. At that time, I will need to change my way of thinking and positioning strategies to accommodate the welfare of others depending on the matter.

In the future, I also plan on starting to think of myself as a brand. I am currently in the initial stages of self-positioning and personal branding. It occurs due to the fact that I am at school and have not yet ventured in the career world. As I graduate from it to join the professional environment, I will change my perceptions to act and behave according to the qualities and reputation associated with my brand. I have not yet reached the level that my trademark is well known or positioned whereby people watch my reputation closely (Marwick & Boyd 2011). However, after creating my brand, I will understand how it is perceived. It will affect my strategic behaviour. It does not mean that I have to abandon my human nature and start marketing myself as a commodity. It means that I have to choose the specific point of authenticity and stick to it. A strong brand can yield maximum benefits, whether one works in an organization or is leading it. I will have to build up an authentic self in developing my trademark and reputation. I will also have to be more careful in how I carry myself around people and in social networking sites to maintain authenticity and at the same time promote growth.

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