This is an executive CV that will make the right impression.

Writing a CV is never an easy task, and this is especially true when you're seeking work at the executive level. Professionals seeking executive positions have the added challenge of condensing their wealth of knowledge, their expansive experience, their ability to deliver results and their soft traits (e.g. leadership style, vision, core values) into only two to three neat pages.

The CV format you used when you first graduated from university will no longer serve you well at this stage of your career. In addition to providing the right information that employers will care about, you need to create an executive CV that is polished and will catch an HR manager's attention.

I strongly recommend requesting a free CV evaluation to determine if your work history and its merit are being properly conveyed in your executive CV. With a CV review from TopCV, you'll receive confidential, objective feedback on your executive CV with personalised recommendations. Often, a few small changes can make a big impact on how your CV is received by employers.

Executive CV example

Take a look at our executive CV example below to get a better understanding of what employers are looking for, and read on to learn what you can do to make your executive CV a more powerful job-search tool.

You can also find out what happened when one executive job seeker worked with a TopCV professional CV writer. Read Allen's story here.


1. There is no CV photo

If you are searching for work in the UK, U.S, Africa, Israel, India, Australia, Canada or Mexico, do not include a photo of yourself with your CV. In fact, thanks to changes to the anti-discrimination laws in the UK, some companies outside of the entertainment industry automatically disregard CVs that contain photos to avoid potential discrimination allegations.

However, if you're seeking employment in any of the countries that make up the European Union, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, a CV photo is still a required component for most job applications.

2. A LinkedIn profile is included

In today's jobs market, it's not enough to have a polished executive CV; senior professionals are expected to advertise their candidacy on paper, online and in person. In fact, a survey carried out by recruitment software provider Jobvite found that more than 90 per cent of employers use LinkedIn to search for and evaluate job candidates. Make it easy for them to find you by including a customised link to your profile at the top of your CV.

3. Personal details are omitted

Certain information that was considered commonplace on a CV 10 or more years ago is no longer required in the UK; this is thanks to the establishment of new data-protection regulations and the replacement of previous anti-discrimination laws with the Equality Act 2010. Such personal details include your marital status, date of birth and gender. In addition, it's rare to include hobbies on an executive-level CV. This information is superfluous at this stage in your career.

4. The personal statement provides a powerful overview

If you want to impress an employer, rid your executive CV of the vague buzzwords that dilute your message and instead focus on demonstrating your qualifications. For instance, rather than describing yourself as 'specialised' or 'experienced', list the results you've achieved in your field that qualify your expertise. In other words, aim to show, rather than tell, employers about your skills by illustrating them with relevant accomplishments and major contributions.

5. Key contributions are highlighted

Separate each of the positions listed in your 'Professional Experience' section into two components: (1) a short paragraph that summarises your responsibilities and duties, and (2) a set of bullets that draws attention to your most relevant and noteworthy contributions and achievements.

Rather than describing your executive work experience in one dense paragraph or with an endless list of bullet points, this formatting technique will create an aesthetically pleasing document and make your accomplishments more prominent for the reader.

6. Information is quantified where possible

It's one thing to say you are superb at managing budgets. However, it's more powerful – and less arrogant – when you can quantify these claims. Numbers add context and attract the attention of recruiters. Whenever possible, quantify the scope of your role, your notable contributions and your accomplishments to give the reader a better sense of what your position entailed and how you were able to deliver results.

7. A career note is utilised

Employers are most interested in learning how your recent work experience meets the requirements of their specific vacancy, rather than what you may have done 10 or more years ago. Make your executive CV more concise and relevant by elaborating on your experience from the past 10 to 15 years. Any professional experience that falls outside of this timeframe can be briefly summarised in a career note at the end of the professional experience section or separated into a short list that simply provides the organisation's name and the job title you held whilst working there.

8. Older dates are removed

Remove the dates from your roles, education and certifications that fall outside the 15-year time frame. While it's important to list all of your relevant credentials on your CV, there's no need to draw attention to the fact that they were earned more than 15 years ago. Remember, your CV should focus on emphasising your qualifications from the past 10 to 15 years.

9. Referees are not included

Unless you are applying for a government job, there is no reason to list your job references – or even the phrase 'References available upon request' – on your executive CV. These details aren't necessary to disclose until you've made it past the preliminary phone interview. Create a separate referees document rather than using up valuable space on the CV itself so you're prepared for your in-person interview.

10. The CV is limited to two pages

While there are some exceptions, a two-page CV is optimal for most executive-level professionals. When you have mere seconds for your CV to impress employers, there is clearly no point in writing numerous pages of detail. Instead, focus on providing the best, most recent bits of your career history that demonstrate why you're qualified to perform the position you're pursuing.

Ready to take your executive CV to the next level? Learn more about TopCV's professional CV-writing services.

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