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How to Create a Board of Advisors for Your Career

When you think of a board of advisors, you may picture a group of professionals in suits consulting on ways to improve business strategy. While that’s one instance of using an advisory board, it’s not the only one. A career advisory board can also help advise you on your professional endeavors. 

Below we go over what a career advisory board is and how to create one that sets you up for professional success. 

What Is a Board of Advisors?

Just like with a company, a board of advisors gives you advice and support regarding your career. Unlike a formal mentor-mentee relationship, each member of your board possesses various strengths and expertise that you can consult them on. 

Each member can provide valuable insights in your job search, making the case for a promotion, or even changing careers. They are a support network committed to helping you succeed professionally.

How to Create Your Board of Advisors

A board of advisors can help your career tremendously. Here’s how to create your own.

Set Goals

You wouldn’t get in the car and drive without a destination. You need to understand your career goals in order to figure out who should be on your personal board of advisors

What are you hoping to accomplish professionally? Do you want to land a promotion, or change career fields? Get specific with what you want to achieve. Once you have set your career goals, you can move on to the next step: including the right people. 

Include the Right People

Now that you understand your goals, you need to fill your board with the right people to help you achieve them. You can include people from your professional and personal life. 

You might include a trusted coworker or a former colleague. Or, if you’re a new grad, perhaps you could include a professor with knowledge of your ideal industry. Consider looking for people who are where you want to be or whose achievements you admire.

Also, make sure to diversify your board. You don’t want everyone to work in the C-suite or the same industry. You also don’t want your board to be made up solely of people who have the same master’s degree. Having diverse perspectives will only strengthen your board and help you uncover critical insights for career success. 

Contact Them

Once you’ve narrowed down the people you want to be on your board, it’s time to contact them. An email or LinkedIn message should suffice. Here are a few best practices when reaching out to prospective members of your career advisory board:

  • Keep your email brief and to the point.
  • Be courteous in your communications.
  • Briefly explain why you are reaching out to them.
  • Let them know you value their insights.

Here’s how that may look in writing:

Hi Stefanie,

I’m reaching out because I’m creating an advisory board to help me transition from teaching into software engineering. We’ve known each other for many years and I really admire your achievements as the first female Director of Software Engineering at XYZ company. Your passion for programming and diversity in tech really inspires me and I’d value the opportunity to hear your insights and learn more about the work that you do. Would you be open to grabbing a cup of coffee next week?

Form a Career Advisory Board

To succeed in your career, consider an advisory board. An advisory board, when made up of the right people, can help you unlock valuable insights to excel in your career and achieve your professional goals. 

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