When I speak to aspiring directors, one of the first things I suggest is that they start to work on a board CV.
Writing a board CV is challenging for many aspiring and new directors, especially if they have minimal governance experience.
Early in my director career, an experienced board chair read my CV. Her feedback was that my CV needed to be much clearer on what types of boards I was interested in and how I could best contribute. I ended up getting assistance from a professional CV writer to polish my board CV, which was extremely helpful.
Increasingly in Singapore, directors need to have a well-thought-through board CV available to hand to support their board searches.
There are some resources on how to write a board CV available via Google. However, here are three tips from personal experience that I suggest that aspiring directors can start with:
1. I am an experienced executive. Do I still need a board CV?
The short answer is Yes. A board CV is very different to an executive CV.
2. What should be in my board CV?
A board CV typically includes your contact information, your board profile (summary), details about your directorships and committees, details on your board and sub-committee capabilities, key executive experience, and your governance and industry qualifications.
A board CV typically is at most two pages long.
Boards may wish to understand your leadership, strategic thinking, and governance experience, notably how you can support one of their sub-committees, so do highlight this.
From their assessment of the needs of future board members, a nominating committee may already have in mind the type of background and experience they are looking for. Include details of the scale of the organisations you have worked for or with.
Be explicit about your key board responsibilities, which sub-committee positions (such as an audit, risk, or nominating committee) you have held, and provide demonstrable evidence of how you have added value to the board/sub-committee.
One piece of good advice I got was to disclose:
1. Your areas of technical expertise.
2. Your geographical expertise.
3. Your industry expertise.
3. What do I write if I have minimal governance experience?
It can be challenging for aspiring directors to demonstrate how they would be comfortable operating in a boardroom. However, have you presented to a board or a governance group? If so, highlight this.
Similarly, do you have examples of where you have had experience with complex decision-making, such as with regulators or cross-border? Illustrating these will show you have some experience dealing with complexity in governance roles.
As boards are teams, show how you have contributed to support transforming organisations.
Don’t forget to remember to tailor your CV for each role you are applying for!
And finally, ensure your LinkedIn profile includes details from your board CV. LinkedIn is often the first place people will go when assessing potential director candidates, and it can be confusing for reviewers when your board CV and LinkedIn CVs are not aligned.
All the best!