Whether you are starting a business, already in business or within a corporation, an advisory board should be an active part of your professional interactions.
This board, or circle of influencers, is a group of people with a level of expertise and insight you would not independently achieve, helping to guide your professional journey.
When I interviewed many successful leaders to build my own board, I quickly learned that most notable leaders proactively surround themselves with mentors and sponsors who can help fill their recognized and unrecognized gaps. Some leaders have different advisory boards that are segmented. For example, one leader I interviewed is an executive in corporate America, an author and leads the board for a nonprofit foundation.
I realized that even though I did not proactively select people up to that point, I had people I already called when I had good news, bad news or needed business advice.
You also have an advisory board of people that guides you through your professional journey. Now, ask yourself, “Does my current advisory board align with my professional goals?”
If you are like most, you may have some work to do, but it is worth the investment.
A few suggestions to attract great people:
- Work on yourself first — become what you want to attract.
- Define your goals — be able to describe where you want to go next and why.
- Help others first — before asking, offer to help others on their goals.
When developing an advisory board, consider avoiding these don’ts:
- Don’t leave the selection of the board to chance.
- Don’t only select those you currently know.
- Don’t only select people who look or act like you.
- Don’t get caught up with titles.
- Don’t build it and forget it.
- Don’t expect it to stay the same.
The last one always stuck out for me, which is unfortunate but true. Your professional goals will change over time and so should your advisory board, as its main goals are to encourage, challenge and advise you through your career.
These days, with the help of social media, advisory boards have no boundaries. There are new forms of online networking that can be excellent tools to connect with new professionals and align to industry experts. I have actively joined professional groups within LinkedIn where I have observed conversations, posts and levels of expertise. I have proactively connected with professionals that exude a level of expertise that aligns to where I want to go next.
Once you have taken the time to proactively build your board, consider these points to maximize its impact:
- Do communicate regularly with members.
- Do share specific milestones and desired direction for more impactful results.
- Do offer to help your members with their initiatives.
- Do ask for constructive criticism and welcome honest feedback.
- Do integrate suggestions where relevant and effective. ●
Purposeful Woman and Tech Savvy Women
JJ is the author of “The Working Woman’s GPS” and “Before You Say YES.” and Women in STEM advocate.
Are you one of many professionals so busy working in your career that you do not have time to work on your career? How much time do you think you spend each day or week facilitating the right level of relationships and exposure to advance your career trajectory? If you are like many professionals, you simply run out of time each day and week.
The sad truth: Working hard and delivering on expected projects does not guarantee your next desired career step. Of course for some, miracle promotions and job offers appear; but for many, it takes more than just delivering great results to stand out and move forward.
The good news: With today’s access to information, people and groups, there are easy yet actionable strategies to elevate your professional brand for your next career leap. Even if you are not plotting for a promotion or career change today, it is still important to prioritize these activities so when you are ready, you have the foundation to propel forward.
For many, their professional brand often aligns to where they have been and often not where they want to go in their career. Think about your resume and online profiles. Do these overviews showcase where you have been in your career?
Take a weekly inventory
To brand yourself for the future, you must find time each week to integrate new information, new connections and new discussions related to where you want to go next. Think of yourself as a website for a moment; if people wanted to find you, what would they type in Google? Are these terms based on where you have been or where you want to go?
Here are a few suggestions to enhance your professional brand for your next career leap:
- Make sure your online profiles and resume are current and align to where you want to go since many refer to these websites before meeting you in person.
- Ask for online references to enhance your profile. This quickly notifies board members, recruiters and hiring managers how others perceive your work and impact.
- Join relevant online groups to stay abreast of current topics and key players in your desired industry. Participate in the conversation with relevant comments to help your online brand and relevant ranking on specific topics.
- Read current events within your desired field and share this information with groups, people and team members. Be selective and focused on your posts, as recruiters and hiring managers are looking for candidates with specific knowledge.
- Follow companies you are interested in working with/for on various social media platforms.
- Be open to new connections and groups, you never know which connection or group will catapult you forward.
Seek help if you need it
With the right amount of attention and focus, it is possible to enhance your professional brand. If you still have aspirations yet don’t know how you will find the time, this is not something you have to do alone. You can always get help or hire resources to get the process going.
After a short time, you should start to see indicators that your brand is evolving. Some clear indicators include these points: there will be an upswing in requests for your time, there will be a theme among new connections, there will be outreach from recruiters for new positions, or there will be people acknowledging or reposting your content.
It is your career — don’t leave your trajectory to chance!
JJ DiGeronimo is president of Purposeful Woman and Tech Savvy Women, author of “The Working Woman’s GPS” and “Before You Say YES.” For more information, visit www.purposefulwoman.com.