Becoming a board member within your own company, a new company, a nonprofit, or a leading industry organization can be very beneficial, both personally and professionally. Board experience shows that you have leadership experience and industry knowledge, which can both be leveraged as you move up in your career. In terms of your own personal branding, board experience is a huge plus, as it increases your value, ensures you are perceived as an asset by hiring managers, and establishes your credibility in your industry.
If you’re an executive who aspires to serve on a Board of Directors within a company or nonprofit organization, it’s important to make sure your resume is tailored for that specific position. No matter how polished your executive resume is, or how accomplished and experienced you may be, it’s easy for your board level experience and knowledge to be lost in the mix among everything else highlighted on your resume. Nominating committees are looking for specific criteria, so it’s important to make sure your resume focuses on exactly what they require, in a clear and concise manner.
Board resumes are all about value proposition and showcasing the candidate’s individual approach to leadership. Your board resume should be different from your executive resume, as it puts things in a different context, will have a different purpose, and needs to be tailored for a more specific audience. When crafting your board level resume, ask yourself the following questions:
What type of board do you want to serve on?
When you make the decision to serve on a board, the first step is to figure out what type of board you want to serve on and why that particular board appeals to you. Be sure to convey that in your resume as much as possible, as searches for board members have become more targeted over the years. Once you know which particular board you’d like to serve on, research the board and study their values and goals, and then make sure those shared values are reflected in your resume.
What corporate experience do you have?
Corporate experience is one of the most important parts of the board resume. Showcasing this experience in the right way is crucial to the success of your resume. According to Ralph Ward, publisher of Boardroom Insider, there are two main types of corporate experience, and both should be included in your resume.
“Board interaction experience” conveys to the board that you are experienced in the boardroom environment. Be sure to include projects you worked on where you had the opportunity to work with directors, as it shows that you are familiar with that type of environment.
“Internal company governance” is any situation where you served on a committee, represented your company among national or international groups, or were involved in labor union negotiations. This type of corporate experience shows that you have experience negotiating, coming to agreements, and making important decisions among a group of people.
Is everything included in your resume relevant?
When writing your board level resume, it’s important to be thinking like a director. Envision yourself as a board member and think about what information is relevant and what no longer matters for this specific position. Be sure to offer examples and concrete evidence of your qualification and experience, rather than just an outline or overview of your past positions.
When writing your board level resume, delete anything that isn’t relevant to board experience, besides your executive positions. Then, go through and make sure every single piece of information or experience listed on your resume is tailored to the board level.
It’s also important to be as specific as possible. Those reviewing your resume want to know that you can put information together in a clear, straightforward way.
Is there a skill gap in the board you are applying for?
Another important step in the board resume writing process is to research the board. Do you bring a specific skill to the table that they are currently lacking? If the answer is yes, be sure to focus on that in your resume.
There are specific skills and experiences boards look for. Be sure to include/highlight:
- Ability to set goals and plan strategically
- Ability to work with and make decisions among a group
- Communication skills
- Committee work, internal governance experience, and/or experience interacting with a board
- Industry expertise, knowledge, and experience
- Leadership experience and style
- Problem-solving skills
As an award-winning resume writing company, Capstone Resume Services has years of experience writing board level resumes for experienced executives. At Capstone, we work with you to highlight your specific achievements and draw on your experiences. The result is a professional custom resume that is sure to get you noticed by hiring managers and nominating committees.