Executive MBA earned, are you ready for the next step? Considering a seat on the Board? Preparing for and managing a Board Seat job search is much like a political campaign. You’ll need to brand yourself for your target “voter” or hiring influencer, prepare extensively, start with a small office, and network on a grand scale!
Personal branding. From your social media to your resume, you need to carefully present a strong message that you are ready for a seat on the Board. It’s important to know that your previous resume isn’t going to win you the race for a Board seat. Filled with STAR stories of individual accomplishment, this is the type of resume that shines in an Executive job search, but Board Seat hiring influencers are looking for leadership, governance, team-building, and macro-management experience. A Board Resume is needed, and you should find a professional to help you craft one.
Preparation. Learn all you can about the organizations you’d like to lead. Become an expert on their successes and failures, their missions and values, and create an elevator pitch and behavioural interview answers that speak to an organization’s leadership needs. Watch carefully for any red flags, as you don’t want to start your Board career with a company that is about to hit the news (or the courts) in a negative way. Plan your campaign.
Start small. Be realistic, most Board candidates start with non-profits, start-ups, or small-cap companies. These are the perfect Board Seats for a beginner, and no less important to their organizations as the Board members of Imperial Oil are to their company. Charities and small companies are the training ground for those who are aiming for Board seats in organizations which are internationally known.
Network! Board seats aren’t often advertised, so you’ll need to cultivate network contacts among the hiring influencers for the organizations you’d like to lead. Part of your preparation is to find connections and mentors within these companies or charities who can advise you when a seat becomes available and help connect you with the search committee.