By Christine Bowles, Head of PR and Marketing, Renaix and Fiona Hathorn, Managing Director, Women on Boards UK.
CIPR members have many of the capabilities that community and business boards across the UK are looking for right now.
Good boards will be doing a skills audit and looking for the qualities you could bring rather than your specific functional role or career achievements.
In preparing a board CV you should consider qualities that PR professionals develop such as strong judgment, a commitment to ethics (as demonstrated through adherence to the CIPR Code of Conduct), intellectual rigour, an understanding of strategy and governance and the ability to apply forensic insight to operational issues when required.
Joining a board can be beneficial for your career at any stage and here are just seven of the reasons why:
1. It gives you a point of difference on your CV.
Becoming a non-exec is a real differentiator and has helped many people jump rungs on the career ladder by showcasing their abilities when networking with influential people around a board table.
2. Allows you to develop your career and leadership skills.
Taking on non-exec roles early in your career will help to develop the influencing and counselling skills which directors of organisations utilise. Even if you aspire to be an executive director you should have non-executive experience.
3. Helps you build marketing and industry knowledge.
Joining a board will give you exposure and access to executives of other companies for quality business-to-business interactions.
4. You are engaged in your community at a leadership level.
There are a wide range of organisations that have non-executive board members, from public sector bodies to universities, funds and start-ups. It’s a great way to develop a deeper understanding of the communities in which you live and work.
5. Enables you to have career resilience.
Many of us will experience periods when a promotion or new role might be hard to come by. Rather than let frustration build up, a non-executive role can give you a fresh career challenge and continue building your CV and capabilities.
6. Continuity of your CV if you take a career break.
If you find yourself between roles at any point, a non-executive position will provide you with some CV continuity.
7. Gives you the chance to explore the idea of a portfolio career as a non-executive director.
Finally, if you are considering a portfolio career as a non-executive director at some stage it is advisable to start early and build up experience sitting on boards.
Organisations like Women on Boards – who spoke to the CIPR Greater London Group recently – exist to provide training, support and recruitment opportunities, particularly to increase the number of people from under-represented groups taking non-exec roles. Renaix – who also supported the event, are an international recruitment, and executive search consultancy – which specialises in placing senior management professionals.
There is a Board opportunity out there for everyone, so what are you waiting for?
Further details on forthcoming CIPR Greater London Group events and how to get tickets are here.