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This is Why Joining a Board is Great for Your Career

This is Why Joining a Board is Great for Your Career

You’ve heard that a board role can be highly beneficial for your career. You’ve been told that whether it’s for a non-profit organization or corporate entity, serving on a board can provide professional growth opportunities and strengthen your personal brand. However, since pursuing a board role may require a considerable investment of time and effort, is the payoff worth it? Yes, because a board position enables professional development and personal growth, ultimately fueling career advancement. Here are some ways a board position can help you:

Strengthen your professional credibility.

Selection for a board position shows that an organization is entrusting you with a vital, visible and high-impact role. It is a public endorsement of your expertise and value. This affiliation is one you can communicate and promote, and it can raise your professional profile among your peers, within your organization and across your industry. Your board affiliation can also enhance the brand and reputation of the organization for which you work. All of these things can help strengthen your candidacy for a promotion or new role and can increase your value in the workplace.

[Related: Ellevate Impact Survey: Board Leadership]

Grow your professional network.

Board roles provide you with an incredible opportunity to meet influential, intelligent and well-connected people. You may meet an organization’s strategic partners, its clients and investors, as well as colleagues and leaders across industries and government. As you meet new people, be sure to connect in meaningful ways; relationships are not built on a single conversation. Cultivate them by setting up calls/meetings, sharing resources, making plans to meet at another event, and of course, connecting on LinkedIn. These relationships can be quite valuable when you are ready to pursue the next step in your career.

Sharpen your professional skills.

Serving on a board will enable you to strengthen a variety of professional skills, which are highly beneficial for career advancement. Key among them is collaboration, particularly how you work and interact with other board members and organizational leaders across business and functional areas that may be newer to you.

You also may hone your ability to contribute to an organization’s strategic direction, rather than managing day-to-day operations. Boards help to guide an organization broadly, such as improving its financial health or market competitiveness. You may be involved in organizational investments, performance evaluation, program funding and policy creation. This is a great step up if your career-to-date has been focused on overseeing a single functional area like finance, marketing or operations.

Serving on a board will also strengthen leadership skills, especially if you are heading a committee of other executives, which is quite different than leading a team of direct reports or a cross-functional project team. And, if the committee meets remotely, directing them can also sharpen remote team management skills.

A board position may also provide you with an opportunity to coach and mentor others, including members of the organization’s management team or junior board colleagues. In addition, specific training or certifications may be required as part of your board commitment. This will add to your professional wheelhouse and can be beneficial as you advance your career in any capacity.

[Related: Why Having More Women on Boards is Good for the Environment]

Gain exposure and insight.

Serving on a board provides access to the inner workings of an organization, as well as the opportunity to learn about other industries, business strategies and markets from an insider’s perspective. This exposure enhances your marketability and can be especially beneficial if you choose to pursue a role in a different industry or want to transition to a non-profit organization. If you are serving on a non-profit board, the role can lay the groundwork for potential leadership positions in that organization or similar ones in the future.

Reinvigorate your career.

You can use your expertise and skills as a board member to make a difference in a company, industry, community, and possibly, in a lot of individual lives – especially if you work with a non-profit organization. And collaborating with and mentoring passionate and motivated people can also be invigorating. The resulting inspiration, connection and engagement can motivate and propel you to take your career to the next level.

[Related: Stuck in a Career Rut? 4 Ways to Get Out]

Increased visibility.

Exhibiting solid performance on a board and utilizing your expertise to contribute meaningfully to its mission and goals will elevate your professional reputation. You will be seen as a dedicated, strategic, go-to person with great insight who gets things done. Your visibility and value within the organization and with stakeholders and other business leaders will grow. These leaders, as well as your board colleagues, will know the benefits of working with you firsthand, which can be to your advantage as you pursue future board roles or employment opportunities.

Serving on a board is a great way to expand your career experience, whether you’re helping a non-profit organization or a corporate entity. It will provide you with opportunities to broaden and sharpen skills, grow your professional network and gain exposure to new industries and areas of business that will drive professional growth. Joining a board will help you elevate your reputation and strengthen your personal brand, which are key elements to fuel career advancement.

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Alyssa Gelbard is the Founder and President of Resume Strategists Inc., a leading career consulting and personal branding firm. Resume Strategists works with executives across industries and job functions to help them confidently market themselves and achieve their professional goals.


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