Now that you have the experience and broadened skill set of an executive MBA graduate, some of you are considering looking for a seat on the Board. Whether it’s the next career challenge, the leadership opportunity, or the financial rewards, there’s a great deal to recommend reaching for that next step.
Preparing for the vetting and interview process for a seat on the Board of Directors is very different from your other job searches. Instead of emphasizing your personal STAR stories and your individual achievements, hiring influencers are looking for leadership, team performance, and your effectiveness at working closely in a group are the main focus.
- Update your resume and cover letter. I strongly recommend you choose to hire a Professional Resume Writer who is familiar with Board Resume requirements and who can help you frame your career to ensure hiring influencers are eager to speak to you about a Board position.
- Use the resume homework to reframe your personal branding. Since you’re reframing your career on your resume, the homework you do for that project segues easily into changing your personal branding away from me-statements to the group work and leadership statements that re-brand you as great Board material.
- Network. It cannot be emphasized enough. Board seats aren’t advertised on Monster or your average Executive Recruiter, but are filled quietly, behind the scenes, so as not to upset the shareholders. You aren’t likely to know of an open seat, but if you’re prepared, you may be tapped to fill one.
- Target your strategies. If you know which companies interest you the most, you can research what they look for in Board members and target your branding, resume, and networking. Often seeking a Board seat feels more like a siege than a search. You’re trying to remain top-of-mind for a job that may be months or years away from opening up. The average Board seat search takes over two years. On the bright side? That’s plenty of time to polish your personal branding and your interview approach!
- Keep it real. Your best bet for a first-time Board seat may be a non-profit. Most executives on an upward trajectory keep their day jobs and work on charity Boards in their spare time. This allows them to gain valuable Board experience before taking that experience corporate.