Should You Have a Board of Advisors?

Recently, Marci Alboher’s Shifting Career’s article in the New York Times hosted a guest author on the topic of a personal board of advisors:

A personal board of directors is simply a collection of people who know you, are interested in your well-being, and have useful points of view. You consult with them on a regular basis -– say once every six months….A person doesn’t have to be famous, influential or even successful to be a good board member. All that’s required is knowledge in a particular area. Your sister may offer better insight than the head of a trade association.  

In the comments section of Alboher’s post, many laughed at the idea, suggesting that these advisors use to be called “friends.”  However, as Alboher notes in her introduction, assembling a personal board  is not a new concept.  In the press toward personal branding, professionalizing advice that we might normally seek from friends and family is not a surprising jump.

Someone who is stuck in a career or job and doesn’t know what to do next can benefit from purposefully assembling advisors. Networking throughout your career is one way to create an informal group of advisors (maybe even a mentor if you are lucky). 

Of course, it is important to vet your advisors.  You don’t want people who will always agree with you, but you do want people who know you, your situation and are skilled in the topic about which you need advice.  Asking the wrong people (those who don’t have your best interests at heart or don’t know what they are doing) defeats the purpose.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to hire advisors.  For example, if you need tax, financial planning or legal advice, you may want to consult a professional.  (Shameless plug:  if you need a resume written, do seek advice from those in your field, friends and relatives, but recognize that most of them probably do not have resumes that optimize their skills and accomplishments. You’ll do better if you hire someone to write it for you.  I’m not the only one offering this advice!)

Keppie Careers has a board of advisors to inform us about career trends in various industries.  Need a resume?  Job hunting advice?  Keppie Careers will help you every step of the way!


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March 2008
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