I sat in on a very informative BlueSteps webinar today, “Tips for Gaining Your Board Seat.” The 3 presenters were executive recruiters who specialize in filling Board roles.
My key takeaways:
BE GREAT. Your #1 priority should be doing an excellent job whether in your primary career role or on another board. Your work ethic, leadership style, achievements, and much more will be uncovered during the due diligence part of the search. The right title is NOT enough.
BE VISIBLE. Recruiters have very specific criteria for most searches. They want to find YOU if you fit those criteria, so make sure you are participating in industry events/organizations, sharing opinions in groups and blogs, speaking to the press, and making your board interest known to influential colleagues.
BE CONNECTED. The power of referrals is immensely strong at every level of hiring, from entry-level positions to senior executives and board members. Identify CEOs, board members, and decision makers at the companies where you have a board interest. Get connected, have a conversation, express your interest. You want to be top of mind when the need arises.
BE CLEAR. As one recruiter put it, “Have your patter down.” Know how to QUICKLY and CLEARLY communicate who you are, what you’ve done, what you’re interested in. A clear message will enhance your executive image and allow others to help you.
Finally … know why you want a board seat. If it’s just to enhance your resume or put a few dollars in your pocket, forget it. Make sure it aligns with your passions and that you have something to give.