Key Takeaways

  • 72% of executive recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates for jobs and board positions.
  • Self-promotion and a search-optimized profile are essential tools to make you stand out on LinkedIn.
  • Board ready LinkedIn profiles highlight skills and experiences that are relevant to corporate board positions.

Mastering the art of self-promotion is one of the keys to securing a seat on a corporate board. It isn’t enough for you to possess board-relevant skills and experience. You must be able to market them in ways that command attention from board recruiters.

With more than 750 million members globally, LinkedIn offers a wealth of potential connections for prospective board members. It provides access to professionals from large corporations, business prospects, clients, potential hires and recruiters – all in one place.

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Board Ready?

Take a moment to evaluate your LinkedIn page. Do you have a board ready profile that highlights specific skills that corporate boards value? Or is it a one-size-fits-all profile that doesn’t differentiate you from other executives in your industry?

If your profile is generic, don’t be surprised if you aren’t attracting attention from recruiters who are looking to fill board seats. It may be time to update your LinkedIn profile and give it a much-needed makeover. Here are 5 essential tips to help you build a board ready LinkedIn profile.

1. Display your board relevant skills.

Recruiters are looking for board candidates who have governance and oversight expertise. As an independent board member, you aren’t an employee. You won’t be required to lead departments or manage day-to-day operations.

Keep this in mind as you are writing your content. When building a board ready LinkedIn profile, you should highlight skills that show you have what it takes to serve on a corporate board. Board relevant skills and experience include (but not limited to):

  • Analyze Financial Reports/Statements/P&L
  • Possess Non-Profit Organization Experience
  • Provide Oversight and Governance
  • Possess Industry Expertise
  • Communicate with Small and Large Groups
  • Collaborate with Teams/Groups and Work Independently

2. Update your photo or add one to your profile.

You may be surprised to learn that many users don’t have a picture on their LinkedIn profiles. There may be dozens of plausible reasons not to include your photo. However, the absence of a photo could sabotage your chances of getting contacted by a recruiter.

Reasons you should consider including your photo are:

  • Add credibility to your profile.
  • Allow people to associate your face with your name.
  • Increase the likelihood of people viewing your profile.

Consider these things before uploading your picture. Select a headshot that complements your professional branding and aligns with your industry’s tone. Avoid using selfies or photos that are shot in poor lighting.  Be sure to update your picture every year.

3. Optimize your profile with board relevant keywords.

An optimized LinkedIn Profile contains board relevant keywords that are strategically placed in different sections. Using the right keywords can increase your chances of your profile getting found by board recruiters. They can also get your profile ranked higher in the LinkedIn and Google search engines. Talk about a win-win for your career!

The first thing you’ll need to do is identify relevant phrases and words that recruiters use to search for board candidates. You can do this by checking out profiles of current board members or other board ready candidates.

Once you have found the right keywords, include them in a meaningful way throughout each section of your profile. Be careful not to overuse the keywords just for the sake of getting noticed. When it comes to using keywords, quality is always better than quantity.

4. Change your headline to reflect your interest in a board position.

A LinkedIn headline is like the title of a book. If it doesn’t easily spark interest, few people will bother to read it. In fact, your headline forms a recruiter’s first impression of your profile. It can prompt recruiters to learn more about you or move on to the next person.

On LinkedIn, you can use up to 220 characters to craft a compelling headline. Why not make the most of this space? Include keywords that recruiters might use to search for board ready candidates and your unique value proposition.

5.  Eliminate words and phrases that aren’t adding value to your profile.

Your LinkedIn profile has the power to advance your career – if it offers a compelling message. It only takes a few seconds for a recruiter to skim your profile before deciding if you are a qualified board candidate.

When creating content for your LinkedIn profile, it’s a good practice to remove words and phrases that sound good but don’t offer much substance. Try to avoid (or limit) the use of industry buzzwords and overused jargon such as:

  • Experienced
  • Passionate
  • Skilled
  • Expert
  • Motivated
  • Strategic
  • Specialize
  • Focused

Instead of telling recruiters about your professional traits – provide examples of how you have applied them. After all, you don’t have to tell someone that you are experienced when you have been working in a position or industry for multiple years.

It can take up to two years for qualified board candidates to secure a seat on a corporate board. If you’re serious about getting a seat at the table, now is the time to implement these tips.

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