Once upon a time, a seasoned CEO found herself looking for a new challenge. Though she truly enjoyed leading her successful tech company, she longed for a different venture, a way to make an even bigger impact with her skills and expertise.
Several of her peers, other CEOs, had joined corporate and nonprofit boards, and they often talked about how interesting and satisfying the work was. They also seemed to be enjoying the side benefits of serving on a board — a higher profile in the industry, new connections, enhanced reputation, and new business opportunities.
The CEO decided to pursue a board role.
While researching, she discovered several organizations that could help her, such as First Board and Women on Boards. But she decided to begin with something that was already close at hand – and would be easy to do. She started leveraging the power of LinkedIn.
Here’s how to optimize LinkedIn and deploy the creative power of ChatGPT to position yourself for a board role:
Make Your Expertise Crystal Clear
When you come to the attention of a board, one of the first places they will learn more about you is on LinkedIn. Be sure they find a presence that reflects your personal brand and is super-clear about the unique expertise you offer.
Boards are typically looking for a combination of industry experience, role expertise, and success at managing a specific stage of a company’s growth. Use your LinkedIn profile to show very clearly what you bring to a board:
Industry Experience: You don’t have to work in the same industry as the organization, but you’ll be more attractive to a board when your industry is similar or complementary to it.
Role Expertise: If you have experience in AI, cyber, new channels of distribution, or any area of business that is trending in your industry, highlight that expertise.
Lifecycle Stage: When you have led a company through a particular growth stage multiple times, that should be shown clearly on LinkedIn – even highlighted in your headline. Think about relevant keywords, such as IPO, turnaround, exit, acquisition, and embed them throughout your profile.
Get ChatGPT to help
ChatGPT can make updating and enhancing your LinkedIn profile easier than you ever thought possible. If you’re not familiar with ChatGPT, here’s an introduction. If you are, use it to give you several first drafts of any part of your profile you want to improve:
- Prompt ChatGPT with your title, job description, and industry. Tell it what you want people to know about your expertise. Then ask it to write 10 LinkedIn headlines for you. Mix and match the results to build a headline you really like.
- Tell ChatGPT everything in the previous prompt plus give it a copy of your current About section and ask it to write a better version. Ask for several versions — shorter, funnier, more serious — and keep refining until you have a collection that are close. Across all of the versions, you’ll get some good phrases to incorporate into your writing.
- If you don’t have descriptions for each of your jobs, feed info from your resume to ChatGPT. Give it the keywords you want to include, and ask it to write a narrative description for LinkedIn. Use the text as a draft to edit into a final version.
Use Your Network to Get Referrals
Board positions traditionally have gone to current or former CEOs of larger businesses ― people who will impress Wall Street and who already have working relationships with the current board members. Sometimes, board members recruit people from one board to join another.
In other words, the people who are most likely to be invited to a board are people who are already on boards. But most executives don’t want to be on more than a couple boards. So, they turn down most offers. Then they get asked if they know anyone and can make a referral.
All to say, you want to be connected with people who are already on boards as well as CEOs with backgrounds similar to yours, who are likely to be asked to join boards.
LinkedIn is all about professional connections and relationships. Use the platform to find and connect with the people who can help you. Once connected, make sure you engage regularly so you keep the relationship active and maintain mindshare.
- Search and find the companies you like and the people who are on their boards. Connect with or follow them.
- Click the bell icon at the top of their profile, so you get notified when they are active on LinkedIn.
- Like, share, and comment on their posts. Like, share, and comment on the comments made by other people, too. This engagement gets your name in front of people you want to engage with and builds their awareness of you.
- If you find yourself feeling stuck on commenting on a post, feed the post to chat and prompt it to write a comment. Re-generate two or three times, giving the AI tool feedback each time. Then use the results as a starting point for your comments.
- If you decide to send a note with your connect request to someone, feed as much info as you can about them and yourself into ChatGPT. Ask it to draft the text, then edit it to be your style.
Many people on LinkedIn have a nice profile and lots of connections. Those people do not stand out as leaders or influencers. They don’t stand out at all.
To have influence and be seen on LinkedIn, you must be active. As boards search for new members, they are looking for professionals who are actively engaged and have relationships in the industry and community.
- Be intentional about your content on LinkedIn. Choose a few topics that are important to you — and to boards — and focus your updates on those areas.
- Post original content in addition to linking, sharing, and commenting on others’ posts.
- Move from comments to conversations by asking questions and adding helpful information in your comments.
- Write longer posts or blogs and share your perspective on industry issues.
- Feed ChatGPT a topic you’d like to focus on and ask it to suggest interesting posts about it. Ask for 10-12 to start and iterate until you see several interesting options.
- Tell ChatGPT the industry you’re in and ask what the important issues are. Or ask it what keeps board members of those companies up at night. Use the AI’s answers as a starting point for your posts.
- Ask ChatGPT for a list of blog or article topics that would be interesting to your specific industry. You can even ask it for talking points for each topic. When you start writing, ask it for headlines for the blog/article. As always, you probably will not be satisfied with the results, but you’ll get some terrific food for thought.
Looking to position yourself for a board role? Our team can help you optimize your LinkedIn profile to make you more findable, connected, and visible to the people who can help you land your next challenge. Contact me at email@example.com, or book a quick call. Let us help you showcase your expertise, highlight your unique personal brand, and connect with the right people to make a board role your reality.
Want to read more about using LinkedIn to get on a board? Check out our previous articles, which go into more detail on what executive recruiters look for and additional avenues to a board you might want to consider.