Author: Rebecca Bosl
Ever thought about becoming a member of a board?
Experienced C-suite leaders will often seek out board positions to expand their horizons, tackle new challenges and increase their value. Serving on a board is often a prestigious position and provides evidence of thought leadership and industry knowledge. As a bonus, many board members get paid for serving.
Finding a board to serve on is a journey and doesn’t often happen quickly. While some opportunities are posted, many are discovered through a person’s personal or professional network. While conducting a search for a board position might seem daunting and unfamiliar, in reality, landing a board position utilizes similar steps to landing a job.
Reviewing The Job Description
Job descriptions for board of directors’ seats vary. They often include some combination of the following skills:
• Related industry experience
• Strategic planning and strategy development
• Financial expertise
• Ability to gain buy-in and consensus
• Mergers and acquisitions
• Business transformation
• Operations excellence
• Turnaround expertise
Obviously, one person is not going to have all these skills. But you will want to highlight the skills that you do have by listing them in your competencies section and briefly describing your experience in the overview or summary section.
Writing A Board Of Directors Resume
Writing a resume for a board of directors position is similar to writing a regular resume. A board resume is typically one page in length, but it can be longer if needed to convey the candidate’s value.
As a first step, consider your audience. Those reading the resume are typically the nominating/governance chair of a board, and a recruiter might have the first pass at your resume.
Next, you want to view the job description to identify what qualifications the board is looking for in this position. You want to highlight your education, experience and key qualifications that match the position.
Here are some best practices you can follow for writing your board of directors resume:
• Title: Include the title of the board position you’re seeking and not an objective or “seeking” statement.
• Branding statement: Add a one-line branding statement at the top that captures the main value you bring as a board candidate (one to two sentences should do the trick).
• Summary/overview section: Highlight the main skills you bring to the role and the types of board roles you can fulfill. Be sure to mention other leadership roles, international experience and skills that assist in overall organizational leadership.
• Education and credentials: Highlight degrees and certifications that are relevant to the position.
• Professional experience: Cover each job on one line, noting title, company, city and years. As an option, add in a brief description of each company, noting type (public, private, nonprofit), industry and revenue (if applicable and if not confidential).
• Key qualifications: Only include competencies that are related to the position.
• Contact information: Include name, city and state, phone, email and LinkedIn profile URL.
• Directorships: Note any other board leadership positions including committee roles and positions including director or chair.
• Other items: Include relevant memberships, affiliations and awards.
• Activities: Add community service or volunteer positions.
• Photos: Leave the photos for LinkedIn and your executive biography. Resumes and board resumes should not include a photo.
Uncovering Available Board Of Director Positions
Finding board positions is like finding job openings in a regular job search. You’ll want to use multiple approaches to finding your board seat, just as you would in a job search.
First, you can directly reach out to organizations as you would in a targeted company search when looking for a job. You will also want to engage your network—as with a normal job search, your network may be the very best source of open board positions. Get on the radar of executive recruiters; sometimes they hear of board seats and may also recruit for the company.
You can also raise your profile as a subject matter expert by being involved in industry associations, speaking at conferences and posting thought leadership articles.
Several niche websites (listed below) assist with providing education and by posting board positions:
National Association of Corporate Directors
• Mission: Empower directors and transform boards to be future-ready.
• Provides NACD Directorship Certification to ensure qualification to serve in a director role and demonstrate commitment to staying up to date on current topics in corporate governance.
• Includes prospective director registry. This allows a board position seeker to create a profile that can be viewed by boards seeking new directors.
Private Directors Association
• Dedicated to improving private companies’ growth and sustainability; teaches board formation and governance; enhances private company value.
• Advocate for the value of diverse and inclusive boards.
• Posting service to help private companies gain access to qualified candidates through PDA’s nationwide membership for their fiduciary or advisory board roles.
Take the next step in seeking your board of directors position. Start looking for positions and create a tailored board of directors resume to target these roles. While the concept of seeking board of directors roles might feel daunting, remember it is similar to looking for a regular job.
Boardsi charges a membership fee to users. It is a modern recruiting company providing executives with board of advisor/director positions and provides companies with top executive talent.
In summary, pursuing board of directors positions can be an exciting new avenue for executives wanting to leverage their experience in helping other organizations achieve their goals. Create a tailored board resume, reach out to your network, gain some credentials and check specialized job boards. You’ll be well on your way to an exciting new career adventure.