Ruth Medd, Executive Chair Women on Boards

Women on Boards is increasingly being asked to assist with the recruitment of directors for ASX listed companies, as they seek to diversify the skills and expertise of their board. ASX roles are highly sought after and the successful candidate should be suitably proud of their achievement. Here are a few tips to improve your chance of making the short-list:

Assess your claims against the criteria

In the case of many companies there is some flexibility about the skill set, but the criteria are usually clear and act as a drafting gate for the short-list. So, read the criteria and if ensure you can mount a case to say you match most items on the list, which often includes having public company experience at a senior executive, C Suite or Non-Executive-Director level.

Ensure you submit a board ready CV

Your starter point is a quality Board CV which must be succinct, achievement-focused, well-formatted, keyword optimized and grammatically correct. 

In the Build Your Board CV Workshop, we emphasize that a board CV sells you to the recruiter and aims to get you through the front door and into the much smaller pile ‘for further consideration.’

A Board CV is not an old fashioned executive CV, which tends to be the life and times of your career that gives chapter and verse of your journey to date. A Board CV is a skills and experience based CV that pitches your value proposition and unique selling point for a board role. It is your sales document that convinces the recipient to progress you further in the queue.

The preference is two, maximum three, pages. Of course, as Winston Churchill once observed, it’s much harder to write a short document than a longer one. It’s also quite hard for some of us write about themselves, so if that is you, then seek help. It’s a wise investment.

WOB gives you a second chance - many in the recruitment industry will not

The chair of WOB (an experienced NED recruiter) gives a good hearing to all applicants. By comparison the quoted figures for search consultants is to give each CV  less than a minute at first glance.

The WOB process is to print the application and then read it at leisure over a coffee at one of her fine local cafes. Not a stressed or rushed process. So, if you provided an application that is in 8-point font with no page numbers you set yourself back immediately; and possibly get yourself spilled onto the floor of said fine local cafĂ©. Apart from that initial hurdle, if you provided something that was poorly set out across five plus pages you put yourself at an immediate disadvantage. First impressions do count.

So please think about the needs of the recruiter.

What impressed

When addressing the selection criteria, you need to do more than just restate material from your CV. The best applications covered how they could add value to the board. This requires research and good knowledge of the sector and the company which can be found in company reports and/or via a helpful informant.

You also need a good cover letter.  It should be one page and not be muddled up with the selection criteria. A suggested process for writing a good cover letter is located in the Women on Boards Member Only area.

Your ASX challenge

Getting an ASX board role is a considerable achievement and it is unusual to go from no or small board roles to an ASX board. There are a number of WOB subscribers who have good ASX prospects. But its competitive, so for those who do not make the cut the message is to continue to apply. You may also like to consider enrolling in the WOBSX program.

However, it is good to remember that there are thousands of high quality paid and unpaid board roles in sectors beyond the ASX. Take a look at the vacancies on our website. When thinking about boards to target, WOB can assist you make this assessment. Attending a Getting Started workshop is a great first step in your pathway to directorship. This workshop sees you put you through the process of thinking about suitable boards to target and what your value proposition may be. As mentioned above there is also a follow-up webinar to track your progress and ensure you continue to improve.

Whatever you do, don’t give up and continue to let us support you in any way we can.

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