Looking to add board experience to your resume?
Serving on a board as a non-executive director is a great way to add to your career, and build valuable experience. But how can you best position yourself to land a competitive board position?
If you’re new to serving on a board or haven’t had a directorship position before, a good starting place is a not-for-profit board or a board for a smaller company. This will help you to build a strong foundation for a board career and give you great insight into what it’s really like to assume a directorship.
A great first step is to make sure that you have a strong online profile. Platforms like LinkedIn are an important part of business networking. When you meet someone in a professional setting, they are likely to look you up on LinkedIn. So, when they do, they should see a polished presence, with a work history and personal bio that includes the fact that you are seeking a board opportunity.
Boards will generally look to bring together a mix of people so that they have a good combination of skills. Make sure that skills outside of your immediate role are also listed on LinkedIn, and don’t be shy about mentioning anything that you think could be relevant during the application process.
When you’re applying to a board position, it’s important to cover all of the following:
- Industry knowledge: Demonstrate your knowledge of the area the board operates in. It’s essential to convey that you understand the specific challenges faced by the sector. If you’re applying to a not-for-profit, make sure you understand how they are funded.
- Technical knowledge: Show the special skill that you would bring to the role. This might include areas like technology, risk management, reporting and compliance, marketing or health and safety.
- Governance: Demonstrate your understanding of the organisation. Dig into a few annual reports, and apply your own strategic thinking.
- Diversity: Illustrate what special elements and experience you’ll bring to the board. Different perspectives will be welcomed on a strong board.
And finally, have some references that can attest to your strong interpersonal skills. A good director will be able to partake in healthy debate and build great relationships with key stakeholders, CEO and Board Chair.