LinkedIn for Boards: 5 Tips to Showcase Your Board Profile

By Susan Varty, Managing Partner

LinkedIn’s audience is aged 40+ on average (with a more active, older user base unlike other social networks). Plus, it caters to the majority of executives looking for their next job or next business opportunity – but for those who are networking and applying for board appointments, phrases and tweaks can be made to showcase your skills and expertise, specifically for your board profile.

Even though some board members may not be as active on LinkedIn, it is helpful to have a presence for those who may refer you. Here are 5 tips to showcase your board profile:

1. Explain and describe your industry expertise in your Summary section. Your industry background is your asset and unlike regular career moves, directors are sought-after for different industry experiences. For example, a software company may seek out a board member with brick and mortar retail experience. Awards from your industry, or based on your expertise, are also a huge differentiator that work in your favour for board roles. There is an Awards section available on LinkedIn as well.

2. Ask for what you want (board, advisory board) and how others can contact you. This is referred to as a “Call To Action”. For example, at the end of your Summary, add the phrase “seeking board and advisory board roles in the retail, technology or financial services industries. Please contact me at [email address]”. Now people know what you want and can refer you more easily.

3. How have you lead teams, entered new markets, created new revenue? Tell your stories and achievements from a transformation, business strategy and growth perspective and describe the impact you made in the Projects section.

4. What expertise do you bring to the (boardroom) table? Cybersecurity? Financial Expertise in Global Markets? Digital Transformation? This is your value proposition for boards, and the more you can learn about what boards care about the better: Risk Management, Oversight, Governance, Special Committees, Compensation, etc. It is also what you can be “known for”. Write or speak on these topics to build your thought leadership so people start turning to you. Ensure your “headline” under your name has these keywords so people can learn your expertise at a glance.

5. The Organizations section has been revamped for the new LinkedIn design update rolling out this month. Position titles are no longer displayed, making this section best suited for your professional memberships. Be sure to add your board roles to your Work Experience or the Volunteer section as an alternative.

BONUS

Early in your career (and at anytime really), network outside of your organization. Offer to buy lunch and invest in your networking with people who are currently on boards. Recruiters look for those primarily with board experience but most appointments are through networking – and you don’t have to be a former CEO. Change is coming and here is a fantastic post about how companies are starting to open up their options when looking for board members. Worth reading for Exhibit 2!

Also, invest in a personal website to record your accomplishments, bio and speaking engagements and keep everything on your own terms. You can share your future blog posts on LinkedIn, or, if someone from a prominent board is not on LinkedIn, you can send them your latest blog post to showcase your expertise.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs The Endeavor Lifts Off via photopin (license)

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