Board of Directors resume written for an executive
Writing a board of directors resume is much the same as writing any other executive resume. There are those who will disagree with this statement, but these are individuals who tend to expect resumes to all follow a specific, prescribed format.
We recommend a far more customized approach for writing any resume, including those for board of director positions.
As with any executive resume, before you begin writing, it is essential that you first fix your audience in your mind. Now ask yourself: What will be most important to the nominating and governance committees that will be selecting and interviewing candidates to fill vacancies of the board of directors?
This is the same question you must ask yourself before writing any resume. In other words, you must:
- Know your audience and be clear about who you are writing your resume for
- Identify what is most important to your audience in relation to the open position
- Structure your resume to showcase how you are the most ideal candidate to meet those needs
What are the factors that are most important for a board seat? The answer will vary according to the company or organization that you are targeting, but some of the most common experiences, areas of expertise, and qualifications that you will want to emphasize include:
- Visionary leadership and executive oversight experience
- Goal-setting and strategic planning skills
- Proven value as a strategic advisor
- Proven ability to work collaboratively within a multidisciplinary group
- Strong communication skills and ability to build consensus
- Industry expertise
- Financial acumen
- Demonstrated problem-solving abilities
- Financial acumen
- Fundraising abilities
- Public/community relations and experience as a spokesperson
- Other board interaction experience, internal governance experience, or committee work
When you write your board of directors resume, you should selectively include and emphasize accomplishments and past experience that show how you have demonstrated these traits and skills in action.
More Board of Directors Resume Writing Tips
Now spend some time defining your differentiating value proposition. You will use this in your board of directors resume and during interviews. Expertise in “Leading software companies through IPOs, VC and equity fundraising campaigns, and mergers and acquisitions” is far more powerful and compelling than simply stating that you have “15 years of experience in the software industry.”
Do you bring a skill set the board lacks? In this day and age of bad investments and bailouts, having a financial expert on the board is a necessity to lower risk.
Are you experienced in a synergistic industry into which they may want insight?
Develop a target list of company boards where you might be a good fit and research current members: Are they missing key skills you can offer? Is there a director who may soon retire?
Get out of the box. Do you feel pigeonholed as a creative-only (get on a bank board) If you’re the IT expert who’d like to showcase your other management capabilities, try the local symphony board or a try a media firm.
Work for a locally known business? Aim for a nationally respected firm’s board seat.
Put your ear to the ground in your industry for executive search firms that specialize in the industry. Recruiting firms don’t typically make much money by filling board seats. But introducing the perfect candidate for a vacant board seat may be the “in” the recruiter is seeking to develop relationships in a company for future business.
Seek recommendations from your own board, if your board allows executives to serve elsewhere.
Raise your profile by being more active on LinkedIn, joining professional organizations, attending industry conferences or speaking at them.
Get registered. The NACD (National Association of Corporate Directors) has a prospective director registry. You can create a profile by answering a series of questions that can be referred to by boards seeking new directors.
Can you offer board diversity? The Executive Leadership Council helps connect African-American executives with board opportunities. Catalyst maintains a list of women executives. For Hispanic executives, The Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility may serve as a resource.
We know it can be tempting to look for resume examples on the internet, then try to model your own after them. Please don’t! The most effective resumes are a reflection of a person, NOT just a collection of words on a piece of paper. Your resume MUST tell an AUTHENTIC and memorable story that illustrates YOUR brand and the unique promise of value that YOU bring to the workplace. We have included examples on our website to illustrate the quality and diversity of our work and they are protected by copyright. If you need help writing your resume, it will be our pleasure to assist you.