Applying for a board seat: Developing your branding and application materials
This is the third step in the Athena Guide to Land a Board Seat . Read the full guide for additional tips and stories of how Athena helps women leaders rise into the boardroom
Your Branded Career Portfolio puts your powerful holistic career story to paper. It contains three pieces: a board resume, an executive biography, and a comprehensive LinkedIn profile update that ensures your brand is represented in the digital realm. A Branded Career Portfolio should accurately and concisely demonstrate your value and your accomplishments — but it should also allow you to stand apart from other board candidates, sparking interest from the board and propelling you to the next stage of the interview process.
Many board director candidates have existing resumes or bios. While it may seem practical to just update existing documents, keep in mind that your Branded Career Portfolio is your first impression: if your documents are in a dated style or inconsistent, there’s a good chance other director candidates will appear more exciting to the board.
How Athena helps women leaders create impactful board application materials
When considering your Branded Career Portfolio, think about:
- Your holistic value. While executive resumes and bios tend to checklist operational accomplishments, a Branded Career Portfolio should focus on your holistic experience. It should speak to broad themes, collaboration, industry expertise, and the underlying stories that speak to your personality and leadership style.
- Your format as it relates to your board goals. If you’re seeking a more “traditional” board (in finance or retail, for example) you may wish to have a more traditional resume. If you’re looking to serve on a venture-backed tech board, you may want a more forward-thinking format using color or even graphs and images.
- Consistency. Your digital presence should stay consistent with your bio and resume — all three should speak to one consistent value proposition; they should each reflect the key themes and stories that support your value.
- The investment. If you have an existing set of documents, hiring professional writers to help you achieve polished, professionally crafted documents may be a smart investment. Remember, your documents are often a board’s first impression of who you are and the value you bring — their goal is to generate interest. Other candidates will be applying with documents that have been professionally created or recently refreshed.
Hear from Athena member Marcy Campbell, sitting board director and CRO at Boomi, how Athena helped support her on her path to her first board seat:
“Athena Alliance was instrumental in my search for my first board position…. I spent 18 months with recruiters calling me for operating positions, and during that time, I tried to pivot the conversation to my search for a board position with little success.
I joined Athena Alliance, and they helped me craft both my Branded Career Portfolio and my background so it would be most relevant for board consideration. After I received my board package, I sent it to numerous recruiters and venture capitalists. Soon after, I was contacted by Spencer Stuart about a board seat at Zix Corporation.
Networking and packaging myself in a way that was more attractive through Athena allowed me to find the best board opportunity to match my experience.”
Creating a Branded Career Portfolio on your own can be overwhelming. Athena members can get paired with a Branded Career Portfolio expert to craft their board documents. These writers are experts at communicating in the executive realm — they know what to highlight to make you stand out as you apply to board opportunities.
Download the Athena Guide to Land a Board Seat to read all five steps aspiring directors should take to get boardroom-ready. Ready to get started on your board journey? Join Athena to unlock the entire Path to the Boardroom pathway.