The ultimate weapon to lending that dream job .
What is it ?
Is it a perfect GPA ?
Is it a college degree or is it a resume ?
Perhaps it is a personal brand ?
Although I can't guarantee you that a personal brand will solve all these problems .
I can have a promise that when done with intention and purpose , a personal brand will enable you to meet interesting people and unlock disruptive opportunities before I dig deeper into the what and have a personal brand .
I'd like to share with you the why and why personal branding matters so much to me to help illustrate this point .
I'd like to share with you a photo that's me in the center .
I was born in Vietnam where both my parents never attended high school .
They were both hard-working street vendors who were selling a popular street snack in Vietnam called the Hot Buns .
If I were to have stayed in Vietnam , I most likely will follow their footsteps in becoming a street vendor as well .
Fortunately , at the age of six , my parents decided to immigrate to the United States with nothing with them in hope of a better future for me .
And my brother , despite the early challenges such as being a second language learner or assimilating to the American culture , I ultimately through perseverance and determination , made it to college where I attended the number one public university in the world .
UC Berkeley go bears at UC Berkeley .
I quickly realized that hard work in staying up all night and a college degree were simply table six in today's competitive job market .
What I realized is less about what you know , but more about who you know .
And during that time , I was enamored by the tech boom within Silicon Valley .
I was interested in working for Facebook , Apple and the Google .
But I realized the question that I had to answer was that I had no connection to this world .
I didn't have a family friend , a cousin or an uncle or a sibling in this industry .
I knew nobody .
And that's when I turned to personal branding , I realized through personal branding , I was able to position myself as someone who was an enthusiastic , a young millennial marketer who was invested in his development and success .
And through that , I met many interesting mentors .
Some of these mentors are here today .
One of my mentor at Apple who gave me the opportunity to work for one of the world's most beloved brand .
I met my mentor at Forbes who who guided me through my marketing journey , ultimately leading me to becoming one of the youngest Forbes 30 30 at the age of 22 .
Finally , I met many interesting writers and editors at linkedin who believed in my story and share my narrative at scale to readership of over 100,000 people to millions as well .
Now that I've talked to you a little more about the why behind the personal brand .
Let's talk about what is a personal brand .
There's a lot of misconception when it comes to personal branding .
A lot of people find it very fake .
They don't believe that it's real , it's disingenuous , it's not authentic and many people are afraid that it would do more harm than good .
But what I tell you that a narrative or a personal brand that's not shaped by , you will be formed and told by others .
Do you want to take that risk ?
Ultimately , when done with intention and purpose , a personal brand can do more benefits than harm ?
That being said ?
I like to share with you a concept to help better define what is a personal brand , sharing you with the concept of voice and tone .
Many of us here have a very authentic and unique voice to us .
This voice is recognized by our peers , parents and managers .
However , we also have many tones in our life .
These tones are the way we interact with many people through different contexts and different purpose .
For example , when I speak to my parents , I'm trying to demonstrate respect while when I speak to my colleagues and manager , I'm trying to demonstrate leadership , your voice will always stay true to you , but your tone will change over time based on your audience and context and purpose .
That being said , what is a personal brand ?
A personal brand is the intersection of perception and reality , not just perception for as a personal brand that is constructed purely on perception will tumble on its own weight .
So what is a personal brand ?
Then if it's not just perception , it's you , you are at the heart and epicenter of your personal brand , your personal brand needs to be led by your voice and ultimately be supported by an interconnected web of personality , passion and interest here .
I'm humanizing this whole concept through emojis because I , I wanted to let you know that this part is very humanizing .
A personal brand doesn't have to be superficial , it doesn't have to be supported by a team of 10 people .
It can be supported by you .
One thing they can do at home tonight is think about the seven emoji that represent you as a professional but also a person as well .
So now that cover the why and the what of a personal brand .
So how can you incorporate personal branding to your life as well ?
We're all different .
So I will be lying up on the stage if I tell you that I have the perfect guide to building a personal brand .
And I take that back , not even building building assumes that personal branding can be done with step one , step two , step three .
But as a matter of fact , personal branding can be done through a designing approach .
And today I want to share with you some of those building blocks to help you better design your personal brand .
Embraced , embrace your identity , embrace your adversity , embrace your diversity , embrace your whole self .
Then when then can people know who you are ?
Vulnerability is an opportunity .
For example , as an immigrant and second language learner , I've always been shameful and fearful that my employers would only hire me if I was a native speaker .
When I share this information with my manager , with my peers , with my colleagues , they found that I was going to bring a different perspective to the workplace .
And so that liability turned into an opportunity .
Ultimately , by sharing your backstory this brief life to your personal brand , the motivation , the passion behind the your career interests , create , create value for your audience , create value for your network in other word , consume and curate , curate good content , relevant content .
Have a reason to speak .
In early 2015 , I decided to take on linkedin to write one post a a month as a new year resolution .
And by the end of the year , I posted over 30 times .
And throughout that time , I was able to interact with many interesting people throughout the world .
Some students reach out to me from Denmark saying that my writing has helped inspire them to be a marketer .
Whereas some writing has helped create conversation and at a national level over a course of a year , I realized that I have touched over a million people through my writing and so write with the intention to impact write , with the intention to create value for only when you create value for other will other people see the value in you and being able to create values to position yourself as the top of mind .
Think about publishing long form thought leadership pieces on linkedin or medium or your personal blog , have a reason to drive dialogue , position yourself as top of mind in your industry .
Don't just form relationship , grow them .
Many people see personal branding as a number game .
They think that the more people you know , the better it will be .
I believe that it's more about death rather than with it .
It's not about how many people , you know , it's more about how many people you know , and how well you know them as well .
Don't be transactional when it comes to outreach .
Think about reaching out for people for advice and not for favors .
Personal branding is ultimately at its core about building your network and your relationship online , engage each with your mentors , engage with the people that follow you .
Think about ways you can add value to them , bringing back to the second principle .
Think about where you can check in with your mentors via email , sharing , great quality content , a blog posts that you read and ultimately offline attend conferences , dinners or better yet host them .
Uh I personally host many dinners myself , thinking about the way I can connect with people inside and outside my industry .
So don't just think about growing your relationship with people within your industry .
Think about ways you can engage with people outside your industry .
I think about relationship building is through a 50 30 20 approach , 50% of your time should be spent with people who you aspire to be leaders in your industry .
30% should be spent with time with people who are in your proximity , peers , people that are your colleagues , your peers , they're going through their career with you and 20% of the time should be spent paying it forward to people that look up to you .
They're your mentees and throughout your career as I hope you mature your career that this concept can flip over where 50% of your time can be spent paying it forward .
So to recap , there are no such thing as a manual to building a personal guide .
A personal branding is mainly the idea of the representation of the best of you , your flaws , your triumph , your challenges , but also your successes as well .
I've today , I've shared with you the why the what and the how to personal branding .
I took on the stage of Ted X to embrace my identity .
A part of me that I've rarely shared with many people .
Ultimately , I was able to share my value through my personal branding experience , my background with you .
And I hope that's added value to your life as well .
And beyond this talk , I'm looking forward to growing and cultivating our relationship in person and online as well through the various social media channels , linkedin Twitter or Facebook and follow me on Twitter as well .
And that's my personal branding .
I'm just kidding .
And so at the end of the day , I wanna show , I wanna share with you some of these principles so you can do this and it doesn't have to take 10 people to manage your personal brand , you can do it yourself as well .
So to conclude , this is a transformation of the son of two hot B street vendors from Vietnam , from an immigrant , from a disadvantaged background to a storyteller and entrepreneur in Silicon Valley today .
And this is what I call the designing of a purposeful personal ring from zero to infinity .