TORONTO, November 6, 2008 - Now that the dust has settled with the American
Presidential election, all of the pundits can begin prognosticating on how
Obama will do once he's on the job.
For those in the midst of a job search, however, attention must return to
more mundane matters - like getting a job. Yet according to Randall Craig,
author of the best-selling career planning book "Personal Balance Sheet"
there any many important job search and career planning lessons that can be
learned from Obama's historic victory.
1) Anyone can grow up to be the President of the United States. And you can
do any job that you want as well. Set a goal, make sure you are qualified,
and "apply" for the position.
2) The road to success is long and hard. Obama didn't wake up one day and
decide to be President. First he got an education, then he worked in the
community, then he was elected to Senate, then he ran for the Democrat's
nomination, and then finally, for President. While no one may know
(including Obama himself) where a path might lead, working hard each day
pretty much guarantees progress.
3) The value of Networking. Obama certainly didn't do it by himself - by
some accounts, he had over one million others helping him reach his goal.
How are you using - and growing - your network?
4) The value of the Internet. Beyond the basics of a web site, he had Blogs,
Videos, Social Networking, discussion groups, ecommerce, and email. You name
it, Obama used it to amplify his message and reach out to his audience.
5) The power of a personal brand. More than anything else, his message was
singular and on-track: a message of change and hope. According to Randall
Craig, "While this might not be your Personal Brand, especially during a job
search, this focus defined him to others, and helped these others amplify
his message even further. Of course, it helped that his brand was completely
congruent: the way he looked, the way he acted, the way he sounded, his
message, his attitude - everything."
6) The importance of an interview. Each time he was in front of the camera,
he was poised, fluent, and answered in an authentic manner. Most people
don't enjoy interviews, so consider: Obama did 5-10+ interviews each day.
Practice makes perfect.
7) Support of family and friends. Often, a politician's family is wrongfully
seen as a prop, to appear when needed, and to be put away when completed. In
reality, though, a public figure is also a private figure: with
relationships, personal responsibilities, interests, and requirements. And
their families are often the keystone to this private life, providing the
support that allows them to work successfully in the public eye.
Randall Craig says, "Those of us who 'merely' work - or are looking for work
- sometimes forget that our family and friends are there to support us, and
that it is our responsibility to reach out and ask."
8) The importance of thank you. Obama's acceptance speech was both
inspiring, and humble.
He didn't shirk from acknowledging all of the people who helped along the
way. During the next month or two, this will continue with thousands (if not
millions) of emails, letters, and phone calls. It isn't hard to say thank
you, yet sometimes we easily forget.
9) The value of a rest before you start. Obama was elected on November 4th,
but won't actually be sworn in until January. No doubt he will use the time
to pull together his team, but he may also take a few days break and
recharge from his long campaign. If you are between jobs, take a few days -
or even a week - before you start. That short break will leave you
10) There really aren't any losers when you step up to the plate. While John
McCain and Sarah Palin lost the election, did they also not gain something
from it? John McCain earned 46% of the popular vote - not too shabby. He
built a team, and has become a greater influence within his party. Sarah
Palin has put her name on the map, gaining valuable experience on a national
stage. While neither won the prize they were seeking, they both are further
ahead than before, and this will help them as they consider their own next
steps. "When it comes to your own job search, even if you don't get the job
- or the promotion - the fact that you were considered for the role says
something about you.
And the interview experience, networking, and research have even greater
value," says Craig.
Ten Career Planning Tips that we can learn from Barack Obama (and John