Session by Eric Sim, CFA – 2nd Financial Talent Summit, Delhi 2019

Building your Online Presence and Brand


Speaker : Eric Sim, CFA- Founder, Institute of Life

Moderator : Jitendra Chawla, CFA- Director, CFA Society India

Written By : Shivani Chopra,CFA

The 2nd Financial Talent Summit held in Delhi on 27th April, 2019 was a day full of learning and fun. CFA Society India in association with CFA Institute organised it to cover broad themes related to personal branding, building and shaping career in fast moving business environment in financial services industry . The first speaker of the day -Eric Sim, CFA – founder of Institute of Life conducted a session on “Building your online presence and Brand”. He presented ideas to use social media as a tool kit to quickly advance in career and standout among peers. Below are the key takeaways-

  • Eric began by sharing his life story- From a teenager who failed in subjects like maths and english to making it to the top management of an investment bank. He is currently teaching in many business schools and has set up his own company- Institute of Life.
  • Eric quickly got to the main theme of his presentation. He said, whether you are selling a company’s product /service or selling yourself as a brand to seek a job or business opportunity, there are “Seven Steps of Selling” that can be used -(1) Identify target (2) Build Rapport and Trust (3) Identify needs & Problems (4) Present Solutions (5)Overcome Objections (6)Execute (7)Follow-up. When we begin our job search, we should identify the target as the potential HR hiring manager. Step #2 is the most important-we should try to build rapport with team members of that HR Hiring manager or other employees working in the firm we wish to join
  • Benefits of a Personal Brand – (1) Attract talent (2) Attract clients (3) Attract employers (4) Charge a premium (5) Develop yourself. If you are not developing your personal brand, you may be attracting employers but may not be able to achieve Step #4 – charge premium and get an attractive pay package. After all, it’s Apple’s iconic brand strategy through which the company is able to price its products at a premium. Remember to introspect and see yourself clearly to develop an online personal professional brand.
  • 3 qualities of a personal brand- (1) Trustworthy (2) Competent (3) Interesting-It’s good to be both trustworthy & competent but being competent without being trustworthy is dangerous. Also, if you are not interesting, points 1 and 2- trust and competence do not matter.

Social Media Strategy to jumpstart professional transformation-

The talk delved deeper on how to exactly create a personal brand using social media especially LinkedIn (where Eric has 2.5 million followers!)

  1. Use of LinkedIn –If we google our name with the current designation, the first web link that appears will be our LinkedIn profile. Therefore, while we can make use of other social media tools such as Twitter, FB, etc., we must make LinkedIn as our primary platform. For every job, hundreds of applicants apply and hence it’s important that our LinkedIn profile is done up well. He also recommends keeping the same professional picture across the social media.
  2. Be a TV Show- In other words, ”Be conscious of what you post”. Here, Eric’s message was that one should produce a TV show rather than giving an appearance of oneself as a TV commercial. 9 out of 10 should be posts which can add value to the reader (TV Show) and 1 can be generic or promoting yourself (TV commercial). For eg,  if you want to post about your visit to Delhi, you may want to inform about the best places to take clients out in Delhi rather than just posting a random update or picture
  3. What to Post- Again, the focus should be to add value to readers. Tell stories in your posts as people are attracted to stories. Share inspiring stories which are worthy of reaching broader audience. If you want to post about the food you just ate, consider going behind the scenes-talking to the chef and taking pictures of the kitchen. To get a firm grip on your content strategy, try using LinkedIn 2019 Editorial calendar. It’s also okay to reveal failures.
  4. How to Post- In the post social media world, adults have an attention span of only 8 seconds. We must start the posts strongly. Capture readers’ attention with an interesting first sentence. That first sentence will get the reader to read the second sentence and so on. The below example was shared-

“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born” – Richard Dawkins

  1. How to take photos- The human brain is attracted to visuals more than text, so post interesting and thoughtful photos. Eric is very creative and impressed the audience with his photography skills. Try shooting from a low or a high angle to give your connections a different perspective.
  2. Infographics- Infographics also add a lot of visual appeal. UBS has fantastic infographic features.
  3. Expand your network- Networking is the key- Go offline to connect online. The speaker gave an idea of printing “LinkedIn QR code” on business cards. This way people will scan the code and connect with you in a jiffy
  4. Be Authentic – Eric not only has a solid follower base, they are extremely loyal as well. Being original and authentic goes a long way. Accumulate good karma by helping people first before you expect anything in return. Refrain from using misleading titles such as market leader, etc.
  5. Extreme Time Management-Being highly organised is an important habit of highly successful people. Develop discipline in day to day activities. Writing down everything is a rewarding routine to follow.

The presentation was followed by a few questions from the attendees. On being asked about how his humble background affected him in his professional arena, Eric’s response was that initially he was not very open about his background and failures but with time he realized that people relate with you better if you share your story with them. He rose from being a failure to being rich and successful and people see him as a role model.

By the end, everyone had got the plan to implement the social media strategy and Eric left them with a call to action – “THINK BIG, START SMALL AND ACT NOW”.


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