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The Victorian Women's Register:

How it works and why you should be on it

As we have discussed in several help sheets, joining a Board or Committee can lead to enormous personal benefits and rewards, allowing you to help make a difference to your community while gaining new knowledge and skills and expanding your networks.

But how do you get onto a Board?

A good first step is to read the introductory help sheets, which will help you to get clear in your mind what Board service entails, what you are likely to get out of it and what you may have to offer a Board.

The next step is to join the Victorian Women's Register.

What is the Victorian Women's Register?

The Victorian Women's Register is an online database of women interested in serving on Victorian State Government, community and not-for-profit Boards and Committees.

The Register has two main functions:

  • it offers individual women the opportunity to register their details as potential candidates for membership on a Board and Committee
  • it is a tool for government departments, private and not-for-profit organisations to search for suitable women candidates to appoint to their Boards and Committees.

You can register your details and create a 'board profile' on the Register. All you need is an active email address. The operators of the Register will send you email alerts of Board and Committee vacancies and other opportunities, as they arise.

The more details you provide about your skills and expertise, the more chance you will have of being considered as a candidate for Board positions.

Confidentiality

Information is kept under the Information Privacy Act 2000 provision. It is released to others only after permission has been obtained from each member. You will be required to give this permission when you join the Register.

Why should I be on the Register?

Women represent half the population in Victoria but continue to be under-represented in public life. While the representation of women on Victorian Government Boards and Committees has increased in the last decade, there is still some way to go before equal representation is achieved.

Women have extensive skills, diverse experience and a range of perspectives that they can bring to public life and shape the future of Victoria.

By putting your profile on the Victorian Women's Register, you will improve your chances of finding a Board or Committee position.

Being on a Board or Committee will enable you to make decisions that may decide the future directions of important Victorian organisations.

Some useful tips

What do I put in my resume?

Board positions require a high degree of professionalism. When building your profile on the Victorian Women's Register, include information as if you were applying for a job.

Prospective Boards need to know about your background, education, work experience, skills and specialties. Include any experience you have had with the not-for-profit or government sectors and any interest areas, as success in gaining a Board position may rely as much on interest as experience.

When preparing a resume for a Board position, try to keep it short and easy to read.

Preparing for an interview

If you are approached to take part in an interview for a Board position, there are some other points you need to keep in mind. It is an unfortunate fact that many women are prone to underselling their skills, experience and abilities. To avoid this common stumbling block to securing a place on Board, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Before a formal interview takes place, find out as much as you can about the role of the Board and the functions it serves so you can offer informed responses. Think about what sort of skills or experience may be required and how you can demonstrate that you can fulfill the role.
  • Think laterally about your skills and recognise that things learned in one arena can be adapted to another.
  • Approach an interview with confidence and try to illustrate this through your body language – speak clearly (don't mumble) and keep eye contact with the interviewers.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for clarification if you don't completely understand a question. If you are confronted by a question you can't answer, don't shy away from it. Use it as an opportunity to tell the interviewees about things you do know about – "I am not familiar with that particular computer system but I have used similar systems in the past and have always found it easy to pick up new skills."
  • When asked to detail your experience, provide examples to illustrate and enliven your explanations.
  • Make sure you emphasise what you can offer the Board, rather than what the Board can offer you. If asked why you would like to get onto a Board, don't say "to learn" – tell the interviewer what skills and experience you can contribute.
  • Avoid language that belittles your experiences. NEVER use the word "only" to precede information about your skills or experience, as in "I only did it for a short time," or "I have only had experience in one field". If you have a poor perception of your own capabilities, you can't blame others if they feel the same way.
  • Bear in mind that an interview is no place for self-deprecation or excessive modesty. Be honest about your achievements.
  • Use positive language. Don't say "I've never done that," – say "I can learn how to do that."
  • Try to avoid being over-accommodating – part of being confident in your abilities is being prepared to say no. Many women undersell themselves by agreeing to carry out a role they actually do not want.

Click here for more help sheets for women.
Click here for a list of general Boards, Committees & Governance help sheets.

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