You consider your experience and achievements are what everyone is looking for and you are bound to find a non-executive director role once you put out your career details – Don’t you believe it. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s very difficult. For a lot of high achievers, the whole process is going to cause a lot of frustration.

Michael Tait Non-executive director

There are countless executives out there with impressive CVs seeking the same role. Lots of people with the most impressive of degrees and post degrees from London Business School and Harvard. It’s heaving with seemingly super qualified candidates, searching for an NED role.

So how are you going to navigate through all this?

Finding a non-executive director (NED) role in the UK involves a combination of networking, leveraging online platforms, and showcasing your skills and experience. Be prepared for a long hard road and a lot of hard work and disappointment.

Here are some steps to help you in your search:

Understand the Role:
Ensure you have a clear understanding of what a non-executive director does by reading all the available online articles and blogs. This includes responsibilities, time commitments, and the skills required. Non Exec blogs here. Chairman blogs here.

Assess Your Skills and Experience:
Evaluate your skills and experience to ensure they align with the requirements for non-executive director roles. NEDs typically need a broad range of skills, including strategic thinking, industry knowledge, financial acumen, and strong communication skills.

Attend industry events, conferences, and seminars to network with professionals in your field. Join relevant professional organisations and attend networking events where you can meet individuals who may be connected to board positions.

Online Platforms:
Create a profile on professional networking platforms like LinkedIn. Clearly highlight your skills, experience, and interest in non-executive director roles. Join relevant groups and follow companies or organisations where you would like to serve as a non-executive director.

Board Vacancy Websites:
Explore websites that specialise in advertising board positions. Some platforms focus specifically on non-executive director roles in the UK. Examples include Nurole, GatenbySanderson and Linkedin. You can join a number of online board recruitment companies such as NEDonBoard, and BoardEx but I simply can’t recommend paying £300+ membership when they boast of having 30,000 candidates in their data base. Even if they had 100 open opportunities, there are thousands of applicants.

Executive Search Firms:
Connect with executive search firms that specialise in board appointments. They often have relationships with companies looking for non-executive directors. Note though, that they will only respond if your background strikes a chord with a current assignment. Thereafter, your CV disappears into the ether.

Training and Certifications:
Consider taking courses or obtaining certifications related to corporate governance and board leadership. This can enhance your credibility and make you more attractive to organisations seeking non-executive directors. The IOD Diploma programme and Chartered Director programme here.

Apply to Public and Private Boards:
Look for opportunities both in the public and private sectors. Public sector appointments often advertise through government channels, while private sector roles may be advertised on company websites or through executive search firms.

Utilise Existing Networks:
Leverage your existing professional and personal networks. Inform colleagues, friends, and mentors of your interest in non-executive director roles, as they may provide valuable leads or recommendations.

Remember that securing a non-executive director role may take a long time, and persistence is key. Regularly update your professional profiles, stay informed about industry trends, and be proactive in seeking opportunities. Additionally, consider seeking advice from professionals who already hold non-executive director positions for insights and guidance.