Senior executives of businesses are usually the ones who look into how to become a board member. However, almost anyone can become a board member if they have the right qualifications. If you have been wondering what it takes to join the board of a company, then continue reading. Today, we are sharing the steps you should take to be successful at joining the board of a company.
How to Become a Board Member of a Company
Put Your Bachelor’s Degree to Use
Almost every board member of a company will have a bachelor’s degree. Most board members will have even more advanced degrees. While any bachelor’s degree is helpful, it is best to have one in finance, business, accounting, marketing, or software development.
If you haven’t obtained your bachelor’s degree yet, it should be at the top of your list of things to do before trying to become a board member. You may want to focus on a specialty within the categories mentioned above. The result will be you standing out from all the other board member candidates.
Grow Your Professional Network
It isn’t surprising that you can get much further in business by knowing the right people. One of the best ways to become a board member is to build professional relationships. You can do this by attending industry conferences and going to networking events. Joining professional organizations is also an excellent idea.
The goal is to become professionally friendly with those people currently serving on boards of companies you are interested in joining. This will increase your chances of becoming a board member in the future.
Experience is always going to be needed to join the board of a company. Start with gaining experience in the same industry as the company you are considering joining the board for. Management positions are increasingly helpful for growth in any industry too.
You may even want to consider joining the board of a nonprofit. This will allow you to see how boards work, while gaining first hand experience.
Hone Your Resume
A resume for joining the board of a company is going to be similar to one you would submit for a job. However, there are a few differences you must be aware of. First, you should list any of your past board experiences. There is nothing wrong with never being on a board. But this is where being a board member of a nonprofit can be helpful since it shows you have prior experience.
This is also the time to share the impact of your leadership and the results you obtained. Transferable skills are useful on these resumes. It is best to focus on the skills you have that will make you the best choice as a board member.
At this point in your journey of learning how to become a board member, it will be time to promote yourself. It is best to have all the above items complete, so your efforts pay off. There are many ways to promote yourself to nominee committees.
One of the best ways is to speak at some of the industry events you attend. This will assist in establishing your professional reputation. You could also write articles to be published within your industry.
Other options include creating a professional website and sharing your work on professional networking websites. LinkedIn is an excellent website many professionals are turning to for self-promotion, as well as networking.
Research Companies Before Becoming a Board Member
There are a few things you should always know about a company before you attempt to join their board. First, learn about the company and understand their mission, values, and goals. If you are still interested in joining the board, you can research the company’s annual earnings, performance, and all the other board members.
Since you will know who is on the board of the company, you will be able to determine if any of them are within the professional network you have been growing. You can see what each board member’s qualifications are as well. This will assist you in learning if you should continue to enhance your skills to match theirs.
Of course, during your research, you may learn a board member will be retiring soon. Or you may discover the board members have gaps in their skills and you could be a great asset to the board.
Apply for Open Positions on the Board of a Company
Once you have done everything mentioned above, you are ready to apply for open positions on the board of a company. There are a few steps in the application process. If you make it through the initial steps, you may be invited to interview in front of the nominating committee. That committee will then make a decision on whether you should join. If they approve, the current board members will vote on whether or not they want to accept you as a board member.
It is always best to consider your opportunities carefully when joining a board. Serving on a board can be challenging due to the time commitment. Therefore, it is best to make sure the company you are considering is one where you can grow and make valuable contributions. If you don’t, you may feel like you are wasting your time and energy when you walk into the boardroom for meetings.
Trying to become a board member for a company is not difficult. Yet, you must follow the advice given above to be successful in joining a board of directors of a company. Not everyone is qualified to be a board member, but they can be. So, if you are interested in joining a board, take the necessary steps to become qualified. Then you can stop learning about how to become a board member and actually become one!