How to step up to your first non-executive director role

How to step up to your first non-executive director role

Serving as a non-executive director is a rewarding, challenging way to contribute to a company’s success.

This guide from Odgers Berndtson executive search can help you step up.

If you’re in an executive role, a complementary non-executive (NED) position can help broaden your career knowledge, horizons and networks.

For others, a portfolio career can provide a fascinating opportunity to capitalise on their experience for the benefit of a range of other organisations.

But getting on to your first commercial board is no easy task. It’s a comparatively small market. Board turnover is typically slow. And the competition is intense.

The better news is that a considered, consistent, proactive and strategic approach to finding your first NED role will maximise your chances of success.

Marketing yourself as a potential non-executive director

Finding the right appointment in this competitive marketplace is a matter of getting your qualifications noticed by the right people. Prospective directors must identify, articulate, and market their credentials.

In our guide, we offer advice from the experience and perspective of a global executive search firm on what makes a good director and how to position yourself to increase your chances of securing a board seat for the first time.

Our guide to becoming a first-time non-executive director covers a range of useful topics:

  • The non-executive director recruitment process
  • Where to look for Non-Executive Director opportunities
  • Skillset and mind-set: how you can stand out
  • The seven deadly sins of Board behaviour
  • CV do’s and don’ts
  • Effective networking
  • The power of diversity

The vast majority of non-executive appointments are made via a rigorous, professional process based on a considered role specification. It follows that candidates should think carefully about the specific skills and experience they have and the sorts of companies, sectors and business situations where they are likely to be attractive.

Engaging with your network and executive search firms

Remember, securing your first non-executive role can take time. Again, remember it is a relatively small and slow-moving market, so don’t expect magical results in month one. Think about a realistic 1-2 year programme of networking, engagement with a reputable executive search firm and training/development as appropriate.

Success is most likely to come to those who are strategic, methodical and persistent. Our guide is a good place to start.

Download 'A guide to getting your first non-executive director role': 

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A guide: Getting your first non-executive director role

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