Barack Obama Got His Dream Job, Can I? How Social Media Won

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

In many ways, Barack Obama broke the rules of how things in politics are done. But today, I rather not talk about politics, and rather examine what Barack Obama did to land the job he wanted. At the end of the day, being a President of the United States, though highly coveted, is just a job, and a job that Obama fought for. The question is what we can learn from him about how to get the job we desire. Edelman released a study “The Social Pulpit, Barack Obama’s Social Media Toolkit,” that talks about the use of social media in the presidential run.

Let’s draw some parallels:

    • Obama has 13 million followers who are advocates of his brand. The duty of any job applicant is to network so much that people who they’ve never even met want to help them. Merely connecting with people you know through Facebook or other social networks is not enough, you have to give people valuable information and constantly remind them that you exist and evolve.

    • Are you social enough? Obama’s use of social media is exemplary; the question is if we are learning from it? Many people say that they do not have to be on Twitter, that they do not need a blog, and that creating videos is overrated. The question than is, how do you differentiate yourself and reach out to people who do not know you. To give people a number of options to evaluate you, have a presence on multiple media channels to tell your story.

    • Treat your job search as a campaign for an office. Establish a campaign hub to reach people through various channels. 90% of Employers Google job applicants. It is your job to make employer’s search easy. If they can’t find enough useful information on a first page, they will be disappointed, and are likely to move on to the next candidate.

    • Harness data and build on what works and what doesn’t work.  Analyze your online positioning, then see if you can change it. You have to track everything people say about you, and try to control the message that is being spread. The last thing you want is somebody bad mouthing you without you even knowing about it.

    • Start early and build to scale – when you are looking for a job, you have to be prepared for a long-term endeavor, where your investment will not pay-off instantaneously. Edelman article showcases how your campaign has to transition from crawling to walking to running to flying. You can’t master social media in one day; it takes time and patience, just like the job search itself.

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Last Updated: May 25, 2009

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