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Practical Advice for Becoming a Board Member

The executive career goal of becoming a board director is one that is both highly coveted and highly challenging to actualize. Board member positions offer directors the opportunity to use their wealth of experience to tackle intellectual business challenges and influence the success of a chosen company. Despite there being many routes into the boardroom, below are our universal top tips for better positioning yourself for new board opportunities:board member

Create a Board-Optimized Resume

Before beginning your search for board positions, it is important to prepare yourself in advance by creating a board-optimized resume. Your board resume is your most vital tool I will differ from your regular resume, highlighting different skill sets and those skills, experiences and accomplishments more relevant to board work. Prior board experience should be highlighted throughout and the language of the resume should be altered to include board specific keywords.

 

Identify Your Unique Selling Point (USP)

Setting yourself apart from other candidates with similar experience and background is integral to securing your next board member seat. By understanding your USP and what differentiates you from your peers you will be able to further strengthen your application by making it easier for the board to identify the value that you would bring to the role.

 

Promote Your Expertise and Personal Brand

In order to increase your visibility and identify yourself as a thought leading within your chosen field, it is recommended to create a personal branding strategy which would incorporate ways to promote your expertise, such as public speaking, live panel discussions, writing blog posts and sharing insights on social media platforms. Once you have become identifiable as a thought leader and expert in your area, you will increase your value and worthiness to a board. Like with most applications today, the first thing a hiring organization, search consultant or nominating committee will do is search your name on Google or another search engine before progressing with your application.
 

Create a Board-Focused Networking Strategy

One of the most important critical success factors for securing a board seat is the ability to network effectively. Attend local and regional industry events, make connections and remember to follow up. Make sure that your networking attempts are targeted and that you are able to subtly make those you converse with aware of your board aspirations. Networking and maintaining new connections is a two-way street, so be sure to use your resources to help those who could be in a position to help you in achieving your goal in return. You can also use online resources to expand your network, joining LinkedIn groups and other social groups that could help advance your cause.
 

Be Patient

The board process is a lengthy one. For successful candidates becoming a board member for the first time, the average search time was over the two years. If the search time of unsuccessful candidates was factored into this equation to demonstrate the average board position search by all candidates the figure would be much higher. Finding a board seat takes time and requires careful strategic planning, due diligence and networking. Seeking advice where necessary from those who have already landed a board seat or Board-specialist career advisors can help reduce this time and focus your efforts to improve this trajectory. If you would like to speak to a BlueSteps Career Advisor about the Complete Board Package offered by BlueSteps or other board-related services, please contact Kathy Simmons at ksimmons@ecareerservices.com.
 

If you would like to receive further advice on how to land your board member seat, direct from those who conduct board searches, join BlueSteps this July for the upcoming webinar 7 Steps to Securing Your Board Seat. Register for this complimentary webinar here>> 

Complimentary Webinar Recording: Expert Tips for Finding Your Next Board Seat

This webinar covered:
- How to develop a strategy to get a board seat
- How the board recruitment process actually works
- What are the current challenges and concerns for boards
- What qualities are sought after in a board candidate
- How diversity issues are affecting the board room
- And more...

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About the author

This article was written by Lisa Marsh, Marketing Manager at the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC).
 

About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants

Since 1959, the AESC has set the standard for quality and ethics in executive search and leadership consulting worldwide. Because AESC members must commit and adhere to the AESC's industry and government recognized Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, clients can be assured that AESC members are able to serve as trusted advisors for their most important engagements. As the voice for executive search and leadership consulting worldwide, today the AESC is comprised of more than 350 member firms, representing 8,000 executive search professionals in 75 countries. To learn more about the AESC and its membership, visit www.aesc.org.

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