Even with our recent election here in Canada and the continuing barrage of media coverage for the Presidential race down in the US (still a year away!!) I still do not tire of reading about politics. It may be my British upbringing, but I have always been interested in the subject, at local, regional and national level as well as internationally.
My career personal branding coaching and former recruitment mind always makes me wonder why people choose to get in to politics. Whilst the pay and benefits in some cases are on the high end of earnings in many countries, I still find it hard to believe its for the money.
After all, Donald Trump for example, is not going to be earning millions if he becomes President; in fact he is spending it. Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has a million dollar trust fund and was earning speaking fees totalling up to $450,000 a year. Admittedly speaking fees can be a post-political benefit – both the Clintons have earned in excess of $100,000 per speech.
There was a CBC piece on Stephen Harper’s future - What’s Next After a High Profile Job and a Globe article Harpers life after politics? Bet on lucrative.
But when you take in to account the constant scrutiny for a senior politician, the questioning of their decisions, the direct and indirect abuse, security issues, long hours, having to be watching everything they say and do, it really does start to make the job description look less attractive by the minute.
The four core foundation aspects to your personal brand are Vision, Purpose, Values and Passions. When you look at the choice of a political career it could be fair to say that the choice may be governed by one or more of these four.
Vision - decide both what you would like to see for the world (your vision). This can be bigger than you and may not be achieved in your lifetime. Or it can be more local and deliverable.
Purpose – what is your personal role in that world (purpose - or mission). Where do you fit in to the bigger Vision and what do you bring to make that happen?
Values - are your guiding lights that ensure you keep on track for the long term but more importantly become the beacons that you will not compromise. These are you true underlying motivators that get you fired up when its all heading in the right direction and upset or angry when you have to compromise them or they are challenged. You can define and measure your values with this EvalYOUation exercise here.
Passions – no matter what you are doing if there is no connection to what you truly are passionate about it’s going to be a long uphill battle. Be sure that your passions are included in some way with your work, or that you work gives you the time and resources to enjoy your passions.
Now that the Canadian political system is settling down, with the new Government sworn in and dealing with the running of the country, I thought it would be interesting to see who may have updated their LinkedIn profiles.
Firstly, if you were wondering, there are two Stephen Harper profiles relating to a Prime Minister in Canada, but one has no contacts and one just one. He may not have been popular but I cannot believe that much! There was an amusing other Stephen Harper, a realtor who has his name as The Real Stephen Harper!
Former Ministers who lost their seats and are, I am assuming, job seeking:
Joe Oliver, the former Finance Minister, has not updated his very sparse profile yet - https://ca.linkedin.com/in/
Julian Fantino, the former Minister of Veteran Affairs and head of the Ontario Provincial Police has no profile.
Chris Alexander, former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, again has not updated a very sparse profile - https://ca.linkedin.com/in/
Bernard Valcourt, former Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, has an updated profile but to say it is minimal would be an understatement!https://ca.linkedin.com/in/
Paul Calandra, former Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, has a basic profile, not updated even with his last role and a link to a MP website that advises he is no longer there -https://ca.linkedin.com/in/
Leona Adlukkaq the first Inuk Minister has a one-person connection profile with no information - https://ca.linkedin.com/in/
Gail Shea, the former Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture also has no profile.
Perhaps they are all consulting with a personal brand expert first 😉
As for the more successful, perhaps they are too busy to update their profile but Justin Trudeau does seem to have done a fairly decent job with his, even though outdated, - https://ca.linkedin.com/in/
However, all of these politicians are making some of the classic mistakes when it comes to professional online profiles on networks like LinkedIn.
- They do not even have a profile. When Trudeau was asked why his cabinet was going to be gender balanced he said “It’s 2015”. The same applies when it comes to your professional presence, you need to have one and you need to be in charge of it.
- It is not up to date. Organizations want to work with people who have the latest experience, if you are not even communicating that you have it you will be ignored.
- It is not personal brand optimized. In fact only Trudeau has taken one of the recommended 5 actions that LinkedIn suggest to brand your profile and get more opportunities. There are over 20 main profile edits you can make, but you have to should start somewhere.
Do you think politicians need a professional profile on LinkedIn?
I have put these 5 recommended actions in to a free report, “5 Steps to Increasing Your Presence” that can be downloaded by clicking here.