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How Serving on a Board Can Improve Your Personal Brand

If you’ve ever considered becoming a member of a board of directors, you might be wondering if that type of role will truly benefit you. After all, it could be a big commitment on your part, and that can be intimidating. But the commitment can pay dividends, in terms of amplifying your personal brand, which could then lead to amazing executive career opportunities. What are the benefits to you?

Fortify your industry influence. Perhaps you’re a newbie in your industry and need to increase your knowledge base or strengthen your reputation. Serving on a board can help you gain confidence and help others get to know you as a subject matter expert.

Help you learn new skills. Whether you choose a board in your field or another, as a member you will undoubtedly be exposed to new skills, especially as you collaborate with other board members to drive the organisation’s business strategy.

Widen your network. This is perhaps one of the most impactful benefits of serving on a board. You will meet and get to know other senior-level professionals who can potentially open the door to future career opportunities.

Help you demonstrate high-level authority. Merely showcasing board experience on your resume immediately invokes a sense of high-level, strategic leadership expertise—a critical skill required for corporate executive positions.

It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of serving on a board, but if your personal brand needs a little “umph,” a board position could be the key.

Choosing the Right Board

Before you explore or accept a board opportunity, you need to ask yourself a few questions to make sure the role is the right fit for you. There are many board positions available, but some of them might not work for you in the long run. Here are a few questions to ask yourself during your search for the perfect board role.

Is money my primary interest?

Do I have the time required for the role?

Does the position interest me?

Will the role expose me to new skills that may reinforce my expertise?

Will the position allow me to grow my professional network?

Does the culture of the board align with my personality?

What is my ultimate goal for serving on a board?

Asking yourself these types of questions will help you weed through the numerous board positions out there and identify the role that will fit your personality, needs, and expectations.

For-Profit vs. Nonprofit Boards

Understand that there are key differences between for-profit and nonprofit boards. First and foremost, money. Nonprofit board members typically work on a voluntary basis without pay. On the other hand, for-profit board members stand to earn substantial income. If money is major factor for you, you may find a for-profit board more appealing. If philanthropy and giving back to the community are your primary goals, a nonprofit board might be a better match.

Beyond income, as a member of a nonprofit board, you are beholden to the public, serving their interests and needs. As a for-profit board member, meeting stockholders’ expectations and goals is your focus. If you prefer the challenge of developing high-level strategies to boost the bottom line, participating on a for-profit board might suit your personality.

As part of a nonprofit, board members are expected to participate in fundraising. For-profit organisations aren’t focused on raising funds, as they already secure capital through other means. If fundraising isn’t your forte or something that interests you, a nonprofit board position could wear on you.

Whether you join a for-profit or nonprofit board, you will be required to work closely and share ideas with fellow board members to support the organisation’s vision and success. If you don’t enjoy a collaborative culture and prefer to tackle challenges on your own, joining a board—nonprofit or for-profit—might not make sense for you at all.

To be sure, serving on a board can require a great deal of commitment, but it can also be extremely rewarding. If you’re looking for a way to enhance your executive reputation and potentially open doors to new senior-level career opportunities, pursuing a board position could be your ticket to success.

For tips on how to build your board application check out our blog post here. If you’d like our expert writers to draw up a board application for you, drop us a line at kate@elobranding.com.

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