We’ve hosted dozens of workshops all across the world preparing women for their first, or next board position and we’ve built a planning guide to help you navigate the journey leading up to joining a board. And now we’ve organized a resource to help you craft your board bio in hopes that you are moving all that much closer to landing the board seat you deserve.
First things first, let’s define exactly what a Board Bio is. Board Bios are not repurposed executive bios or resumes. This is the most common point of confusion for board candidates. When you reach the point in your career where you are ready for board work, you’ll most likely have a polished executive bio and resume readily available and published on your corporate website, LinkedIn account, and other relevant places. While your executive bio and resume are good resources to use when building your board bio, they are not specific enough to pass for a board bio.
theBoardlist definition of a board bio:
An outline of your current and past career highlights, plus your credentials, and accomplishments that are framed around your unique value proposition emphasizing the skills necessary for board work.
In other words, your board bio needs to specifically articulate the value you will bring to a company as a Board member.
Making It Personal
Before beginning the construction of your board bio, we suggest answering some pointed questions about your intentions, expectations and personal preferences about board work. These questions will have you examine your personal brand, passions, and goals for joining a board.
Board work requires a significant amount of your time - an average of about 15 - 20 full days each year - dedicated to education, meetings, and possible travel. So, like making any big career decision, we encourage you to thoughtfully answer these initial questions:
Structuring your Board Bio
Using the approach opposite to building a resume, this will not be an extensive list of broad skills you possess, but rather a tailored bio built for the board - be it a specific company, category, industry - you wish to join.
There are specific questions that must be answered in your Board Bio.
Next, frame your most advanced or in-demand skills for the board you want. For example, a bio for a board seat at a national retailer should look different than a bio created for a technology startup. This might require some research about what a company just invested in, or a company's mission or most recent CEO interviews stating their future goals. Taking the time to understand a company or industry will pay off big time when applied to your board bio.
And lastly, you’ve most likely acquired a considerable list of professional skills, but now is the time to tighten them up to craft the narrative you wish to tell based on both the personal and professional questions you’ve answered above and the board seat you are targeting.
Building your Board Bio
Now that you’ve considered your personal reasons for wanting to join a board, as well as the type of board and your unique value proposition to make you stand out, let’s build your bio.
A Board Bio basic overview should closely follow this order:
Paragraph #1: Your Unique Value Positioning (1 - 2 sentences)
Paragraph #2: Current Position (2 - 3 sentences)
Paragraph #3: Career Highlights (3 - 5 sentences)
Paragraph #4: Credentials, Accomplishments & Framed Skills (2 -3 sentences)
Contact information & Optional Education Background
A board bio should be around 200 - 350 words that fit onto a single page with your full name, current title and professional headshot displayed at the top. If you have already served on board(s), that information can either be displayed at the top of the bio by your name and current title, included in the accomplishments section or bullet-pointed at the bottom of the bio next to your contact information. It doesn’t matter as much where you place that information as much as ensuring it is included in your bio to emphasize your board experience.
Where to Use Your Board Bio
theBoardlist is a curated talent marketplace for business leaders to recommend, discover and connect highly qualified women across industries with private and public board opportunities at scale. Companies looking to fill board seats can easily search our over 4,000 female candidates - the only board search tool in existence today. Join today and become part of a movement of global business leaders achieving better performance through diversity.