For any business or organisation looking to hire a Non-Executive Director, choosing an experienced professional with the relevant skills and expertise is critical. Prospective employers will inevitably carry out thorough due-diligence on all candidates to ensure that the professional they select will add value and diversity to their board. It is no surprise, therefore, that self-marketing should be a core priority for every Non-Executive Director looking to secure new opportunities.
In effect, your approach cannot be half-hearted, low-key or low-quality. Having a poor brand and visibility could prohibit you from raising your profile amongst the key decision makers within the businesses you want to work for and stop you from being appointed. You need to be continually promoting yourself, expanding your network and updating key online profiles to ensure that every company interested in you as a Non-Executive Director can get all the information that they require. But how can you do this? What is it that businesses and organisations truly want to see?
How much importance do you attach to your CV? Many senior candidates assume that CVs are not overly important or that they don’t need regular updating. These presumptions are incorrect. If you want to succeed as a Non-Executive Director then your CV should accentuate the significant experience you have accumulated. It should clearly define your offering and identify the key qualities and expertise that will be of value to a board. However, your Non-Executive Director CV should not be an exact replica of your Executive CV, it necessitates a slightly different approach.
As a Non-Executive Director, you should be able to succinctly highlight your experience at board level and present this information clearly, factually and in a direct style. Ensuring your professional experience, qualifications and endorsements are up-to-date will instantly help to attract the right kind of companies, but it isn’t just about making sure the information is up to date.
Technology has changed. How your CV looks – how it is formatted and shaped – has evolved over the last few years. As you know, first impressions count and unfortunately, a long-winded CV that simply lists qualifications and experience against one that looks and feels more modern and relevant will be put aside.
Showcase Your Expertise Online
The online world, including social media, presents an opportunity to present your ‘shop front’ to the world. But again, you need to be confident that your execution of it fits with the expectations of your audience. Embracing online will inevitably open new doors and enable you to connect with a larger proportion of employers and useful connections.
NonExecutiveDirectors.com - Having comprehensive professional profiles in as many places as possible will help to broadcast your expertise to a much wider audience than simply having a CV in paper format. As a member of NonExecutiveDirectors.com, you can create a detailed online profile that highlights your experience, endorsements and qualifications in one succinct place that is accessible to employers actively seeking non-executives. It is invaluable to have an active presence on platforms that are specifically targeted towards your professional goals and market.
It has also been proven that those who boast a complete profile on the network secure significantly more interviews, evidencing the importance of having a strong, detailed online presence. Ian Strickland, a panellist at our latest event, ‘How to develop a Portfolio of Non-Executive Directorships’, commented: “When you move from an executive role to a non-executive position you must remember that you’re moving from presenting a brand to presenting yourself.”
LinkedIn – widely accepted as the platform for professionals, making sure you maximise this platform is key. As well as listing your skills, qualifications and qualities, you can also use the blogging feature to upload your own articles, as well as sharing up to date information and news. This active profile speaks volumes for businesses and organisations looking for accomplished Non-Executive Directors.
Twitter – tweets are all well and good but once posted, they disappear just as quick. However, there are several prominent influencers and business people on the platform and so making connections and having a vibrant feed is an excellent way of showing how proactive you can be.
Facebook – again, depending on your demographic, it may be that an active feed on Facebook could answer the need of showing how relevant you are in your field.
The success to a profile online, whether that is on LinkedIn or networks like NonExecutiveDirectors.com, is to understand whether this fits with your brand, whether it is relevant and if it fits with the demographics of the companies that you want to work with. The secret is to be consistent with your posting and updates. Essentially, it is better to get one profile right than it is to spread yourself too thin over too many platforms.
Another significant change in recent years has been the importance and prominence of personal branding.
A brand is the voice, the tone and feel of a business, whether that is the buying experience of a certain product or how it feels for a consumer to engage and interact with a company or organisation. The tenets of branding are now being applied to people too. It is the lasting impression you leave with others you encounter.
And this is not just a physical thing, but something that happens from your CV to the email response they receive, completed with ‘branded’ signature. Creating a personal brand is more than creating a logo – in fact, you don’t even need one of those! – it is about understanding who your target audience or demographic is. For example, the brand of a Non-Executive Director seeking inroads into the charity sector may have a different tone and feel about it than a Non-Executive Director seeking a position within industry.
What do you think your ‘customer demographic’ is looking for when it comes to a Non-Executive Director? Do you fit those expectations? How will you exceed them?
From your online presence and personal brand to the appearance of your CV, to succeed in such a competitive marketplace, you need to be able to effectively highlight key abilities but also evidence that you understand how the business world has and is changing. You must utilise as many different platforms as possible to open up as many new doors for non-executive roles. If you don’t someone else will.