Steps for Women to Join a Board of Directors: Step 2 of 8

Resume for Board of Directors

Want to be a candidate to join a board of directors?

Step 2: Write a board bio or resume for board of directors focused on your board positions and work experience. In one to two pages, summarize your work on boards (non-profit organizations, NGOs or for-profit companies) and current corporate work experience.

Express your accomplishments and outcomes clearly; quantify them with economic impact ($). If you have trouble with this, enlist a friend to help you express dollars of costs saved, dollars of revenue grown or the dollar size of the biggest deal you closed.

Be clear about the area of expertise that makes you highly differentiated and unique. What have you done that’s special? What is your Brand?

Perhaps there are only a handful of people in your industry with the unique experiences or capabilities you have. What have you done that is unique in your company? What is the one thing for which you are the most proud? Use language that reflects your operating and line management experience. How did you interact externally with customers, the market or the industry that expresses your external orientation and ability to deal with the marketplace? When did you convince a CEO and/or board of directors to make a strategic change or investment?

To summarize, your resume for board of directors needs to focus on:

a) Your Brand
b) Work at the C-level with substantive and quantifiable results
c) Board work
d) National or global trade association or professional society work
e) The most global role you have held (with direct reports in  countries other than your home country) and with the broadest business responsibility

Draft a two-page resume for board of directors keeping your target audience in mind, including:
– Executive Search firm – Chairman of the Board
– CEO – Chief Legal Counsel
– Outside Legal Counsel – Board Nominating Committee

Let’s start with Paragraph 1:

Summarize your work experience succinctly. Be clear about your work experience and how you interacted with CEOs.

Paragraph 2:

List the boards upon which you served with the most strategic listed first (not in chronological order). (Include for-profit, not-for-profit and government related positions, such as Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Board of Directors.)

Paragraph 3:

List your work experience in the last ten years (including results which are relevant to sitting on a board of directors). Mention the achievements and outcomes that demonstrate your strengths and capabilities. This is not a resume for another corporate full-time position.

Paragraph 4:

List your Education, including executive education that contributes to your understanding corporate governance. Add memberships in relevant organizations related to corporate governance.

After your draft, edit two and three times to eliminate unnecessary words. Read it as if the CEO and Chairman are reading it for the first time, or as if you were an Executive Search Partner of the Board Practice. Does it get your attention in the first half-page? If not, rewrite until it is an attention-getter. Ask for feedback from a friend who already sits on a board of directors from a Nominating Committee perspective.

This is not a sacred document; it is organic and growing. Be willing to update and modify for your various audiences. Keep several versions on hand if you want to tailor them for specific industries as you pursue opportunities to join a board of directors.

In Step 3, I will discuss ways to increase the likelihood of an invitation to a board seat.

If you’d like to purchase the Eight Steps workbook for a small fee, see Julie’s website.


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