Welcome to Module 5: Make an Impact
In this module…
You will learn how to prepare:
– a great Board application
– for a Board interview
Making an Impact
When you’ve found a Board role you want to be considered for, you’ll obviously need to express an interest. This is where you translate your story into a pitch to convince others you’re the right one for the Board.
Not dissimilar to applying for other jobs, the process usually involves formally applying with some documentation followed by a meeting of some sort. It often entails:
– Board CV
– Cover letter
– Selection Criteria
You may be fairly practiced at compiling these sorts of documents however there are variations for when you’re applying for a Board position. Your application needs to be in the context of Boards and Committees, their activities, customised and contextualised to that organisation. Putting your best foot forward in this case may mean pitching yourself in a way you haven’t had to before!
Assuming you’ve made it through the document assessment phase and shortlisted, you’ll next need to prepare for a meeting or interview. These are often conducted with members of the Board, potentially the Chair and maybe a recruiter or independent advisor. The formats vary and will depend on how the Board has decided to undertake it’s search for new Board members.
Your interview or meeting may be held at the organisation’s office or maybe somewhere else. To ensure you make your mark, there’s a few good things to do to get prepared:
– Confirm location, time, personnel attending
– Consider how you’re going to get there
– Confirm what you might need to bring
– Determine any forms which might need to be completed
– Re-read your application and additional information you can access
– Consider what you might wear
When it’s time for the interview, be early, not just on time! Also consider your first impression as it only takes seconds for someone to form opinions of you!
Whether your interview or meeting is formal or informal, a range of questions will be posed to you. Be sure to answer these in the context of Boards rather than a traditional job style response.
Whilst the interviewers have invited you to meet with them, this is as much an opportunity for you to also learn more about the opportunity. Write down any other questions you may be seeking answers to.
Whether you’re working on your documents or your interview, there are three elements you can draw on when putting your best foot forward. The value-adds to winning over your audience is your ability to clearly spell out your capabilities, capacities and results, within the context of Boards.
When pointing out your abilities, use these three elements to show how you can positively contribute to the outcomes of a Board:
– Examples; think about situation/s which highlight your skills.
– Explanations; what action did you take and how did it add value to the group or organisation?
– Evidence; what can you draw on to demonstrate your capabilities?
As a reinforcement to you, please watch the following video.
Task 1: Board CV
The aim of this exercise is to practice preparing an application for a Board role as opposed to that of a traditional job application. The purpose is to have you thinking about the customisation and contextualisation needed.
The task involves you preparing a Board CV. Take a look at the worksheet and fill out the headings to draft your own version. Remember to draw on all your work to date, including both personal and professional work and paid and voluntary roles.
You will find the Board CV worksheet in your workbook.
Task 2: Selection criteria
The aim of this exercise is to practice responding to the criteria set in the position description for a Board role. Just like the Board CV, it differs to that of a traditional job application. Remember to try and draw on your experiences in the context of Board work or at the highest levels of an organisation.
Some of the selection criteria and experience you can expect to be asked about will be in relation to strategic planning, governance, risk management, financial management, conflicts of interest, industry or sector experience and other aspects like, decision-making for example.
Try to find some selection criteria in a position description otherwise use this list of topics to help practice addressing the criteria. Put yourself in the role of the assessor eg. Chair, what other considerations might you want in a good candidate?
There is a Selection Criteria notes page in your workbook to write your thoughts.
Task 3: Cover letter
Now that you’ve done some thinking about yourself in both previous modules and this one, this task brings everything together into a concise statement and pitch about you. This is your Cover Letter which will be only a few paragraphs and no more than one page.
When writing your Cover Letter, focus on outlining your capabilities and capacities including:
– Alignment to the organisation
– Value proposition
You want to capture the attention of the Chair or Board assessing your application so cut through to what’s most important. My key tip is to keep it high level.
There is a Cover Letter worksheet in your workbook.
Task 4: Interview preparation
So you’ve made it to the shortlist and called for an interview or meeting with a few key decision-makers!
This exercise is aimed at making you think about all the details that will help you make a good impression, both at first, and leaving your panellists with positive thoughts of you as a prospective Board member.
The key to your success here will be how you pitch yourself to the role. Remember, you’ve applied for a Board role and you need to be mindful that the questions, answers and discussion, will be a little different to what you may have experienced previously.
There is an Interview Checklist in your workbook to help you prepare for your interview.
Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire!
– Jennifer Lee
Making your impact…
The outcomes of this module is to provide and equip you with four important areas to help you understand Boards and how you can streamline getting a Board role.
The four key outcomes of Module 5 are:
1. Story: Clearly knowing your narrative allows you to articulate your value proposition throughout your application documents and subsequent discussions.
2. Application: You now understand the range of documentation potentially required for applications and the need for these to be Board-centric.
3. Impact: Your appreciation that documentation, subsequent discussions and interview or meetings all contribute to the overall impression you will make on others, and realise the impact of small details.
4. Position: You made it! You are now a Director of a Board! Well done!
Module 5..done! Congratulations, you put your best foot forward! You’ve completed the hard yards to get to this point and only one module to go!
Once again, there is a checklist you will find in your workbook for Module 5.
It’s what you’ve been waiting for….that offer to join the Board! Congratulations!
At this point, you have two options. These are: to accept, or decline. It’s probably unlikely you’ll be declining given you’ve been through the process however sometimes circumstances can change from commenced the application process. If this is the case, be upfront about your decision. On the flipside, if you’re accepting the role, put your hands high in the air and wave them all about! Give yourself a pat on the back! You’re on Board!
Take the next step…into the Boardroom!