Our top Board CV tips all in one handy reference sheet when you build your board CV.

Tip 1: Write for your reader - not yourself.
Tip 2: First impressions count
Tip 3: Achievements impress
Tip 4: Director attributes impress

TIP 1: Write for your reader - not yourself

Your CV will likely be read online so make it easy to read and comprehend at first glance.  Some tips for making it easy on the eye and the brain:

  • AVOID dense packing of text.
  • AVOID a font size that renders as 6 point when printed.
  • Print your CV and look at it – does it appeal visually?
  • Have page numbers and contact details in the footer so they are not taking up valuable page real estate.
  • Write in the third or non person.
  • Put your qualifications and memberships on page 2.

Remember: It's about what you understand, not what you do.

Tip 2: First Impressions Count

It is vital to have a strong opening summary on your CV. This is your chance to make an impression on the reader and can 'make or break you' in the eyes of some readers. It should be three paragraphs at the most.

Most summaries that WOB reviews lack impact; instead they are lists of words that do not distinguish the person in any way. Your aim is to:

  • Enable the reader conclude you have value to offer the/a board.
  • Make it clear where your expertise lies and in what sectors you have currency.

How you might  make your summary impactful:

  • Keep sentences short and use active language (verbs are helpful).
  • Ensure you own the expertise - don't give it away to your company / organisation.
  • If you are an expert in your field / recognised by your peers, then claim it.
  • If you have a reputation as a fixer / turnaround specialist / money maker, then say so.
  • If you are a great contributor as a board member, make it known up front.

Remember: First impressions count. Check out some great summaries here.

Tip 3: Achievements impress - we recommend you WOB it!

It’s easy to get confused between an achievement (the RESULT of what you did) and an activity (what you DID or do). A board ready CV is based around your skills and capabilities. It should focus on your achievements - rather than the job you did/do. 

We recommend you WOB your achievements:

W - What you did
O - Outcome achieved
B - Business benefit

Your role may require you to 'manage the company staff, including coordinating and supporting the recruitment process'. This is clearly an activity. 

Writing an achievement might look something like this: 'managed 500 company staff, including successfully recruiting for 20 new roles ito support the rapidly expanding outsourcing division'

The second thing to remember is to use the active voice when expressing your achievements on your board CV. It helps you to own the

Active = Led a transformation and change process across the organisation.
Passive = Tasked by the organisation to lead a transformation and change process

Stuck? Click here for some typical achievements expressed in the active voice. 

Tip 4: Director attributes impress

Here are some quality attributes that resonate with other directors and chairs
  • Inspiring role model .
  • Analytical, thoughtful and then decisive
  • Innovative and thoughtful problem solver around the board table
  • Consensus driven chair but directive when needed.