Whether you’re starting out as an independent trustee or hoping to pick up a few more appointments, these tips will help you stand out

Know what you are talking about

1. Previous experience from a pensions related role is very helpful, but you need to make sure you are familiar with the specific responsibilities of trustees. Go through The Pensions Regulator’s Trustee Toolkit to test your knowledge and make sure it is up to date.

2. Keep abreast of current issues by reading trade and national publications.

3. If you are looking for a job on an independent governance committee (IGC), plan early – the posts will come up for review in three to five years but you need to start thinking about it now. The first step is to read up and to know what the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s Conduct of Business Sourcebook (COBS) says on IGCs.

Make yourself a visible part of the debate

4. Engage with the FCA and The Pensions Regulator on subjects you believe are important – respond to consultations and put forward your views where you think they will be relevant and add value.

5. Engage with other parts of the industry through workshops where you can discuss and question pensions developments.

6. Become an active member of industry bodies, for example the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF).

7. Specialise and become known for one particular area of focus. For example independent trustee Richard Butcher says PTL has been “involved in the value for money/good value debate for two or three years, and that’s central to how IGCs will operate”.

8. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to engage with speakers and other delegates at industry conferences – this will allow you to demonstrate that you have an enquiring mind and an interest in pensions.

Prepare for the recruitment process

9. Schemes are beginning to use psychometric and other external testing more often – you could try a practice test so you know what to expect.

10. Identify the issues of the board you are applying to join, and demonstrate that you have relevant experience. It is critical that you should be able to describe the outcomes of what you have done. “Results should be measurable – we deleveraged, we de-risked, and the result was whatever the result was,” says Paul Battye, chief executive of Moorlands Human Capital Ltd.