The following text is from Barack Obama’s LinkedIn profile. It’s hilarious in its understatement. Read on. There are some recommendations below.
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful networking tools on the planet. Barack Obama is the most powerful person on the planet (next to Lady Gaga, some might argue, but that’s another story for another time). Somehow, there is a spectacular incongruency between Mr. Obama’s qualifications, experience and – most importantly – his potential and the President’s LinkedIn profile, which is snapshotted in all its underwhelmingness above.
As a Career Manager at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, I work with graduate students to help them develop skills such as, but not limited to, the following: self-assessing, career exploring, relationship building, job finding, job getting, job keeping, and job-being-awesome-at. LinkedIn is a huge part of their professional toolkit. So, you can imagine just how upset I am at President Obama for setting a downright mediocre example of how to leverage social media to find, secure and expand amazing career opportunities and connections.
“But John, Barack Obama already has a really cool job,” you say. “Why should he care about LinkedIn?”
Because, Rhetorical Questioner, any good career adviser will tell you that you should begin looking for your next job while still in your current one. Developing a reputation, collecting cool career stories, building relationships, and, yes, promoting yourself is a big part of your ongoing, perpetual career development. Barack Obama is a smart man. He should know such things.
Consequently, here are three areas where Mr. Obama can improve his profile:
- Where’s the sell, man? “President of the United States” is cool and everything, but don’t you think you’re so much more than that? Oratory skills aside, the President’s community-building experience in Chicago and his “turnaround leadership” is nothing if not impressive. Barack Obama is authentic and a little self-marketing wouldn’t hurt his reputation at all.
- Get some recommendations! This feature is one of the best things about LinkedIn. You can collect testimonials from the people you have led, worked for and with whom you have built and sustained vibrant, successful community-based initiatives. Hillary Clinton is a no-brainer to recommend you, sir. I’m sure Stephen Harper would, too. Hu Jintao would be an impressive ‘get’ and, well, if Mr. Obama is really the bridge-builder that everyone hopes he can be then he will find some Republicans to say nice things about him. After all, you don’t have to like people who do good work that doesn’t jive with your interests, but you should respect them for it.
- Expand your “specialties” section. The number one fear in North American is not, in spite of what Arizona says, immigrants or terrorism; it’s public speaking. And you’re really, really, really good at it, Mr. Obama. Let’s face it, your post-Presidential career is going to involve a lot of presentations. My advice is to highlight your exceptional oratory skills and, if you haven’t already, emphasize your ability to use PowerPoint (or at least your ability to supply a really outstanding intern who can take slide-changing-cues from you during the presentation). Oh and, um, “charismatic figure who single-handedly revitalized American prestige in the global community” is, for the record, also a pretty cool specialty.
So there it is. Some simple ways that a gentleman who is doing a darn good job can better leverage one of the best professional networking tools on the interscape. Call it a hunch, but I think this Obama kid might go places. And, like all of us, today’s fast-paced, professional landscape calls for an online presence that lives up to his – and our – myriad potentials.