Positions on Board of Directors used to be the exclusive right of retired CEOs, CFOs, or members of other boards. But the trend toward diversity and inclusion has come to company boards and that means that many companies are looking beyond retired executives for their board members.
Investment firms, lenders, and even state governments are pressuring companies to add women and minorities to their boards. In fact, in 2019, 45 percent of new board seats were filled by women and 21 percent by minorities. On the other hand, the age of board members has remained fairly constant, although some boards do look for members under 45.
If you want to be considered for a board position:
- Make your interest known through networking, speaking engagements, contributions to research, and publications. That includes networking within your current company; your CEO or CFO may be able to connect you with a board that is looking for members.
- Develop a specialty that will increase your contribution to a Board of Directors, especially in a high-demand field such as cybersecurity.
- Research potential boards carefully to avoid any conflict of interest (for example, you should avoid serving on the board of a company that supplies materials to your employer); you are willing to make the expected time commitment; you can travel as needed to meetings or for research (for example, to check out a potential acquisition); and you are attracted to the company’s mission.
- Develop people and communication skills that will see you through board conflicts, attract a mentor, or enable you to champion your viewpoint. Demonstrate those skills by joining committees and seeking out opportunities to present to or work with upper management and the board at your current job.
- Prepare a customized resume for the type of for-profit or nonprofit opportunity you are looking for. A Board of Directors resume differs in important respects from a job resume; for example, your board resume should highlight your knowledge of governance, which might not be as important in a job resume.
Robin’s Resumes® has created customized resumes for many executives seeking to start or broaden their board membership. Contact us for more information.