How you position yourself for a board seat is different than how you do so for a job search.
What’s key for board candidates is showing how you’ve impacted company strategy, performance, shareholder value and governance. Operational oversight is important too, but it shouldn’t be the only focus. Also highlight expertise in board-relevant areas like transformation, M&A, risk management, cybersecurity and succession planning. Reflect deep industry knowledge and collaborative skills while conveying executive presence.
Point Road Group's Board Search Readiness Guide covers a wide range of topics to strengthen how you market yourself as a potential board director. (Find our executive branding services for board directors and candidates here.)
There are a variety of pathways to the boardroom. You might be contacted by a recruiter, board member or HR director -- or see a company posting, hear about it from a colleague etc. While processes vary across companies, some factors remain consistent. Learn how to optimize your board search – and understand what Nominating & Governance Committees, Executive Search Professionals and others look for – so you can stand out as a strong candidate.
How others perceive you is influenced by your personal brand. This includes how you interact during meetings and interviews (both in-person and online), LinkedIn presence, communications habits, executive presence and more. The impressions people have of you impact opportunities – including introductions, invitations and information sent your way.
A board-optimized LinkedIn profile improves credibility as a prospective candidate, increases visibility and drives opportunities. When you connect strategically with those who interact with or serve on boards as well as when you engage with content, it improves your reach and influence even more. Explore how to get your LinkedIn profile in great shape and then level up your presence through strategic content engagement.
How well you connect with a new contact often starts with how you introduce yourself. Ensure you do so with impact and pay attention to the other details that influence impressions, such as what you wear, how you interact and follow up. These can set the tone for relationships with people who can be helpful with your board search.
Your executive presence – the unique combination of personality and character traits – also influences relationships with those in your network who may be important connections to support your board search. Traits like your ability to listen carefully, handle/solve problems, exude poise under pressure, deliver what you promise, manage cultural nuances, show empathy and much more can impact your consideration as a board candidate.
Professional development strengthens your executive brand and gives you a competitive edge when pursuing a board seat. Engage in activities that will keep you plugged into current board issues, governance and best practices, as well as enable you to hone critical soft skills.
You accept a board seat – congratulations! The welcome process when joining a board varies widely, but it should:
Done well, new director onboarding ensures members get up to speed more quickly and are set up for success.
Editor's note: This guide has been updated twice in 2022. It was originally published on December 1, 2021.