Board-level resumes: how they are different

board level resumeIf you are serious about landing an independent board seat with S&P and the Fortune 500s, and other major companies, you will need to change focus from internal operational challenges to external corporate outcomes.

The ultimate question focuses on the impact you have you made in your business, your industry, and the marketplace. How have you and your company performed? What challenges have you overcome? Have you led mergers, acquisitions, and integrations?

Many new clients contact me to discuss their suitability as an independent director on a public board. To learn more about a strategy for landing an independent board seat see this article. To learn more about public board resumes, read on.

What do recruiters and board nominating committees look for? Rather than discussing your OPEX and CAPEX results in your resume, think about your impact on a larger capacity, including:

  • Significant P&L.
  • The ability to critically read and interpret a balance sheet.
  • Regulatory matters.
  • Crisis management (consider the events of September 11, 2001).
  • Big-big picture – how did you impact the market? How did you impact the GDP of your state? Your province?
  • Areas of expertise, especially emerging issues such as digital security and data mining.
  • Scientific knowledge and its subsequent commercialization.
  • Market knowledge (micro and macro).
  • Strategic achievements.
  • Mergers, acquisitions, and integrations.
  • IPOs and your connection to capital markets.
  • Unique capital structures – just how creative are you?

At this level, you will consider your visibility in the industry and marketplace. What conferences have you keynoted? What panels have you sat on? What is your media exposure? Thinking beyond the operations of your own organization to the broader business ecosystem will create a springboard for your board-level achievements.

In their brilliant article, Positioning Yourself for First-Time Board Service, Kim A. Van Der Zon, and Martha Josephson explained,

“You need to think ‘beyond glittering generalities.’ You need to articulate and own your participation in ground-breaking achievements. New product launches, taking your company to market-leading performance in spite of a downturn in the economy, averting a major crisis—these are the results boards are looking for today to direct performance and manage risk.”

And the most-difficult-to-articulate quality of all: Your fit for the role. Your energy. Your tenacity. Your courage. What is the brand that has been consistently visible during your career? Is it your penchant for safety performance? Productivity performance? Quality? Product development?

Whatever your passion is—let it shine through in your board-level resume.

Here are accomplishment statements for you to consider:

  • Recognized as one of the youngest and most promoted senior executives in an organization of 22,000+ employees worldwide.
  • Right-sized the production footprint of the company to meet the constraints of a contracting economy.
  • Recommended the closure of four facilities and supervised construction of new US$595M+ facility, maximizing newer and more efficient equipment.
  • Transformed the plant from worst to first in performance among 6 international plants.
  • Top operations executive recruited to manage 3 plants in the US, 2 in Mexico and 1 in Canada.
  • Multi-national M&A experience in the United States, Middle East and the UK with P&L to US$12.8B
  • Collaborated with industry stakeholders, including regional management team, executive board, sales team, OSHA, FDA, USDA and international union organizers.
  • Astute financial steward with career-long success as the CEO of diversified portfolios of healthcare organizations.
  • Led successful integrated delivery model subsequently adopted by senior leaders of the UAE healthcare system.
  • Became the Bay Street “poster child” for not-for-profit elder care systems with several bond rating agencies.
  • Drove market share 7.6% in a contracting economy with an estimated value of EBITDA of $5.5M.

In the case of a board resume, you think more broadly than specifically, although numbers and results are still important. Passion is critical and value essential.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” Albert Einstein