Writing an executive CV

6 mins
Sellick  Partnership

By Sellick Partnership

Are you looking for your next executive position but are struggling to get noticed? You may need to rethink the way you have written or structured your CV. We have asked our expert team of Consultants for their advice on putting together the perfect executive CV that will help you secure your next C suite position.

The internet is full of CV advice that is aimed at graduates and junior candidates but it is not always relevant to senior professionals seeking executive positions. As a senior candidate it can be hugely difficult to get noticed so your CV needs to stand out.

We are frequently asked by senior candidates how they should write and structure their CV and what information they should include. The basic details of creating an executive CV are the same for all applicants, but there are some distinct differences and things senior candidates must consider.

Here are our top tips for executive candidates looking to ensure their CV gets put to the top of the pile.

CV length

We often find that senior candidates don’t include enough information in fear that their CV will be too long and put the interviewer or hiring manager off. Generally we do advise that CVs stick to around two pages, however this is not as relevant for senior candidates. Hiring managers that have executive roles want detail, so although you need to ensure you are not writing war and peace, ensuring your CV includes enough detail is important.

Stick to the basics

With every CV it is important to stick to the basic sections, formatting and tips that all CVs should follow. If you are unsure of these check out our CV tips guide here.

Write your CV like a business case

A CV for an executive level role needs to win a hiring manager over, so treat it as if you are writing a business case. Everything you include needs to be backed up with statistics or evidence, and you need to ensure that the hiring manager can see where you have added value and why you are perfect for the role. Demonstrate the return on investment in you and you will increase your chances of securing an interview.

Include an executive summary

This section is hugely important for an executive CV and should be tailored for every role you apply for. Your CV executive summary is a brief synopsis of your and your career history, which should focus on career highlights and skills that are relevant to the role. This can be presented as a paragraph, bullet point or combination of both.

Do your research

To secure an executive role you need to put the work in. The hiring manager will be reading your CV and looking at why you are suitable for the role, so tailor it to make this easy to spot. Think outside of the box when doing this. The company may be going through some changes internally that you have experience in or you may spot something that they could do differently. Your CV is your opportunity to showcase what you can bring to the organisation and this is hugely important when writing a CV to secure an executive position.

Make a list of what makes you stand out as a candidate

It can be hard to articulate why you should be offered a role, so make a list of what makes you stand out prior to writing your CV and ensure you mention each of these at some point in your CV. If you are struggling to identify what makes you stand out, ask yourself these simple questions:

  • What are my proudest career achievements?
  • Which areas of the business would struggle if I left tomorrow?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What do I love doing?
Include tangible examples of success

As a senior candidate employers will want to see where you have added value, so demonstrate this throughout your CV and detail achievements rather than responsibilities. Include data, key details and successes throughout to showcase what value you can offer.

Include links to your online profiles

Ensure you include links to any relevant social media profiles you have on your CV. This is a great way to direct the hiring manager to additional information about you that may not be as relevant for the role but still could be beneficial to your application. However, it is important to ensure your profiles reflect your CV in a positive light. Today 97 percent of head-hunters and recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary candidate source and 70 percent will reject a candidate if they do not like what they see online.

Know the difference between executive and non-executive CVs

One of the mistakes many senior candidates make is trying to tweak their previous non-executive CV when looking for an executive position, but this generally will not cut it. Hiring managers looking for a senior candidate are looking for different things and you need to recognise this when writing your CV. Generally, executive hiring managers want to know how you are going to impact their bottom line and growth and what commerciality you have as a candidate. Ensure you detail this throughout your CV.

What next?

If you still have questions and are looking for some one-to-one assistance with writing your executive CV, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We would be more than happy to offer additional tips and help you ensure your CV is attractive for your next executive job application.

Alternatively, you can check out our latest jobs, or talk to a member of our team about the opportunities we currently have available that would be suited to your needs and skillset.