How To Write A Board Resume That Markets You As A ‘Next-Gen’ Voice

Rosa Vargas
Oct 7 · 4 min read

According to the U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index, boardrooms are “reshaping themselves with fresh skills, qualifications, and perspectives.”

I underscore the last word in the aforementioned quote to impress upon you that to win a seat at that board table you are after, you must craft your resume through unique lenses. To revive your board profile, discard the traditional narrative, and communicate a personal, modern and mobilizing board candidacy. Make your resume serve as a vessel for your distinct leadership voice.

As an executive resume writer and career coach, at www.careersteering.com, I’ve seen that contrary to what many believe, a CEO or C-suite resume is not a board resume. To earn election as a vital member of a board of directors, you must stand out by marketing how your board voice is distinguished from other candidates and how you will add value. While this is true for all executive resumes, the following are the specifics you should include in your board resume to pivot it from “corporate governance” to “shareholder champion.”

Illustrate your shareholder value.

The role of the board of directors is to protect and grow shareholder value. In alignment with the board’s goal of optimizing shareholder returns, you must pivot your executive resume to accentuate that you have delivered solutions, made savvy decisions, and designed strategies and executions that augmented cash flow, market share, profit, stock value, capital gains, etc.

In other words, show how you can contribute to total shareholder return. To highlight shareholder value, quantify the “before” and “after” (i.e., before your tenure and after your tenure or year-over-year changes). You can introduce these numbers in a graphical chart, or you can create a side box to showcase quantifiable impact.

Highlight your executive titles.

When you present your executive experience on your resume, highlight your job titles. For example, if you served as CEO of three major corporations, don’t bury that information on page two or three. List those job titles upfront.

Here is an example of how you can summarize job titles in one bullet on page one:

Adept architect of best-in-class corporate governance practices. Led four publicly traded $7B+ companies as CEO, CFO and President.

Show off your accomplishments.

If you are ready to embrace a board seat, then you’re likely a veteran leader who can offer a wealth of experience. This often means that a lot of twists and turns carved your career journey. How do you hone in on what is most critical to share with committee members?

When you list your executive employers, focus your career bullets around the following:

• Financial leadership through transitionary phases.

• Business modeling and remodeling.

• Corporate culture creation, financial turnarounds and profit optimization (with before and after examples and metrics).

• Technology modernizations (digital, social and artificial intelligence).

• Market share growth and brand equity growth (create contrast by comparing performance against competitors).

These details should be included in the “experience” section of your board resume. This will help you narrow down the experience you should promote so that your resume doesn’t become too long-winded or come across like a typical corporate resume.

Don’t forget your soft skills.

Marketing your leadership style, vision and philosophy, along with your leadership character, will help those who recruit for the board of directors explore if you would fit their culture dynamic. Align a few of your relevant traits and leadership philosophies with their needs. Here are some of the most common soft skills my board-level clients have listed on their resumes:

• Curiosity, exploration and innovation to show they have an inquisitive mind.

• Determination, decisiveness and resiliency to illustrate their focus on solutions.

• Agility, responsiveness, and relatability to provide examples of their current leadership style.

Share your experience as a board member.

If you have chaired or served as a member of a board before, list this information first; you can do so in a highlighted section on page one. Speak to this experience in your executive summary.

Beyond just listing your board experience, include information on the organizations themselves, such as type of entity, sector and mission. With that, explain how you participated. For example:

• Did you lead board recruitment?

• Have you developed board processes and procedures?

• Were you involved in change initiatives?

According to Spencer Stuart’s 2018 board index highlights, S&P 500 boards are responding swiftly to the needs of organizations amid a rapidly changing business landscape, equating to the pursuit of more diversity and availability of more first-time board seat opportunities. In 2018, there were 428 new directors appointed to S&P 500 boards, of which 35.5% were C-level leaders, and first-time directors comprised 33% of all new directors.

If you have thought about applying for a board position for a while and you are ready and willing to commit time and effort to serve as a member of a next-generation board of directors, I believe this is an exciting and ideal time.

Read our Article: How To Transform Your CFO Resume

Rosa Vargas

Written by

Rosa Elizabeth Vargas is the Chief Executive Resume Writer and Career Coach at www.careersteering.com

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