Crafting the perfect non-executive director CV

how to write a non exec cv

If the fellow in the image was around when your CV was written, it’s time to dedicate some time to updating it.  But how do you really make an impact with recruiters and companies when applying for non-executive director roles?  We will explore different areas of how to secure a non-executive director role from the CV perpective.

When it comes to non-executive director job hunting, your CV is extremely important. If you get it right, I guarantee that you will have an interview in no time, but get it wrong, and it’s likely you’re going to be very frustrated.  Whilst every CV is very different in its content, there are rules that one should follow in terms of structure and clarity.

Having spent 15 years in the non-executive director space and having appointed 100s of NEDs and Board Directors to some of the fastest growing, most high profile companies in the world, I am well placed to show you how to write a great CV that will set your career search up nicely for 2019 and beyond.


The document is your personal marketing tool and is used to sell (yes, that nasty word “sell”) your expertise and value to potential clients. The focus of the CV should be on a small number of key areas, including your professional history, skills, achievements and you, yourself.


The non-executive director CV will often be much shorter than a CV designed to secure an executive role, although it should still follow the same structure.

Here are the sections you must include in your CV:


You would be amazed how many CVs I have received over the years with no contact details (or more likely, out of date contact details!)  Check them!

Positioned at the top of the non-executive director CV should be your name, title and contact details. Your email address and phone number(s) are essential. No longer do you need to list your full address – a town/county will suffice. 

Some suggest that listing a link to your Linkedin profile is a good idea; if it is up to date then I see no reason why not.  But keep in mind, if you have positioned you CV to espouse your value as a non-executive and your whole LinkedIn profile is created around an executive career, with  no mention of your NED skills, perhaps spend some time making sure they align.

Below is an example of how your name and contact details might look:

Forename Surname

Location: Town, County

Phone: 000000 1111111

Email: [email protected]


You should treat the Profile section as your place to list your career objectives and professional profile; it is, I would suggest, probably the most important aspect of your CV and you get this part wrong at your peril. Whilst it’s only a short paragraph, it gives prospective employers (and often head-hunters) an overview of who you are and what you’re all about.

For those who have not held a previous non-executive role but are starting to explore the area, this is a section where you will promote and highlight the elements of your expertise that may be extrapolated from your executive career.  Use the key terms like “non-executive director experience” and “external Board advice” to help hiring managers identify your relevant skills.  Don’t be afraid to use bold type to highlight key areas of expertise.

A mistake many non-executive candidates make is being “too general”.  A “catch all” CV won’t do you any favours.  If it’s worth applying for, it’s worth spending time cultivating the CV to fit the role.  Draw out pertinent points from your career history that fit the specification and don’t be afraid to mention your extensive network as most SMEs will be looking for a NED CV that opens doors!

Making the most of the profile section is key to your ability to successfully get in front of the right people – keep it simple but cover these three points

Who are you?

What can you offer the company?

What are your career achievements that resonate with their non-executive or chair appointment?


This is the section that many first-time NEDs really mess up!  It isn’t an executive CV and thus shouldn’t go into as much depth as you may have done previously!  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say you should miss key areas, it just means “get to the point and draw out relevant experience”.

ALWAYS list your career history in reverse chronological order.  No one wants to read about your career as far back as the 1960s.

Use the simple but effect format below to header each role:

Dates                                     Employer                                          Position

09/2010 – 03/2019              Example PLC                                   CMO              


  • Here is bullet point 1
  • Here is bullet point 2
  • Maximum of ten bullet points per employer


  • Here is bullet point 1
  • Here is bullet point 2
  • Maximum of five bullet points per employer


This section, like your career history should be listed in reverse chronological order. Include the institution name, the dates and the qualifications and grades you achieved.  Keep it simple.


Ian Wright is the Founder and CEO of and has worked with 100s of companies to appoint non-executives and chairs.  He sits on the boards of three privately held companies as non-executive and has had multiple businesses that have gone on to sell to private equity.

VirtualNonExecs is a membership network and all members receive consultations with Ian personally.  He works with all members to craft the perfect non-executive director CV.

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