Below is an exhaustive guide to writing and formatting an executive CV to meet the requirements for a target role. 

Being a career professional with over five years of experience in the field is a fantastic feat. Undoubtedly, you must have made tremendous contributions to your firm and the industry within this timeframe. 

You’re likely targeting executive responsibilities at this point in your career. The only problem is communicating that readiness to a hiring board by writing an executive CV.

Of course, you may have prior report writing experience throughout your lengthy and illustrious career. But executive CV writing is a different ball game — one that many tend to drop. 

Jobscan says 98% of Fortune 500 companies use automated tracking systems to sort CVs before it reaches the hiring team. Your executive CV must pass ATS screening while also appealing to the hiring board. Hence, you’ll need all the help you can get writing and formatting an executive CV.

Our latest read is the answer to that need. Here, we’ll explore tips for formatting a CV for an executive role. The following sections will explore essential recommendations, the acceptable structure for an executive CV in the UK and common mistakes to avoid.

Must-Know Executive CV Writing Tips

Executive CV writing and formatting is geared toward standing out from the bunch. The executive in any company is a high-level professional displaying a considerable level of savviness. Your CV shouldn’t portray any less.

Lay the Groundwork 

CV writing and formatting requires adequate knowledge of the intended executive role. You must know the job requirements, demands, and what makes you fit for that position.

Laying the groundwork involves taking critical steps to build a solid foundation as your launch pad into the race for the role. And there are two things you must do to achieve that.


For illustration, say you’re building your dream home. You likely have a picture of what you want it to look like in your mind. Targeting is the process of recreating that picture on a physical medium to make it clearer for yourself and others to understand. 

In executive CV writing, targeting involves setting and focusing on specific goals that contribute to your efforts at getting the role. While you may have a target role, it’s only in your head as an idea. It’s important to represent it with goals and objectives clearly. 

You may think all of these aren’t necessary, but they are! Executive roles are high stakes, so there are no margins for error, especially not on your CV.


Continuing from the previous analogy, the next step after putting a house plan on paper is researching the best materials for your specific design. Sure, you need cement, gravel, bricks, metal beams, and other essential materials for building a house. But what are the specific items necessary for the design you want? 

Similarly, what are the crucial hallmarks of a competent executive working in your target role? You need specific keywords and indicators to help you, especially if your CV writing skills aren’t the best on the block. 

Primarily, start by considering the requirements for executive-level employees in your field. Say, you work in a real estate company. You want to know the requirements for writing a CV befitting an executive role in the real estate industry.

Customise the CV For the Role

The previous point leads right into this one, as the prior groundwork is necessary to customise your CV to fit a target role. The whole point of researching the job role and your goals is to tailor-fit your CV to it. 

Customising your CV involves writing and adapting it to highlight the information most relevant to the target executive role. That means your executive CV must accentuate the skills, experience and other proficiencies expected of executive-level personnel working in that industry.

Also, an essential part of executive CV customisation involves using the ideal format. Recruiters sometimes prefer specific CV templates for particular job descriptions. In this instance, finding and using a recommended layout while formatting your CV will benefit you.

Be Specific and Articulate Your Value Concisely

Imagine yourself in an elevator with the chairman of your target company’s board with only 30 seconds to deliver a hiring pitch. The whole point of your CV is to highlight the value you’ll bring to the role if the recruiters select you. 

So, make it as concise as possible. And the best way to do that is to be specific. Go directly to the point and articulate your propositions well enough that they’ll make sense to the recruiter. 

The following tips will help you convey value while writing an executive CV. 

Write an Executive Summary

The executive summary is a taste of what to expect from the rest of your CV and should ideally come before your experience, qualifications and skills. 

It breaks the whole CV down into a few points for the hiring manager to quickly digest and decide if the rest of the document is worth their time. Needless to say, your executive summary must hit hard and position you as tailor-fit for the role you’re pursuing. 

It doesn’t matter how stacked your CV is. If your executive summary is bland, the recruiter will likely ditch your CV without exploring the value on offer. 

The executive summary is a small part of your CV that carries huge importance. So you must get it right. It must make the recruiter want to read the rest of your CV. 

Show Financial Impact

For most profit-driven organisations, recruiters love seeing figures and facts. They don’t care as much for your grammar and often prefer that results are quantified in numbers. 

The company wants to hire an executive to boost revenue performance, drive growth, optimise staff performance, and deliver on all fronts. They won’t settle for someone who doesn’t have a well-articulated record in that respect. Hence you’ll do yourself a world of good, accentuating your financial and business impacts in your CV.

We’re not downplaying the importance of qualitative results. They are also necessary for the recruiters to understand your persona. However, for executive roles, recruiters hold impacts at a premium. Simply being a great guy won’t land you the spot if you don’t have the numbers to back up stellar contributions.

Up to 40% of the UK’s workforce has admitted to lying on their CV. Therefore, you can be sure the hiring team is fact-checking your CV. 

Be the difference by leveraging verifiable data to make it instantly clear you can deliver results. If you don’t know how to present your previous financial impacts, create a section on your CV for your “Key Achievements.” Then, cite all those past achievements there.

Let It Tell Your Story

Don’t get too carried away with efforts to structure a CV to fit an executive role that you forget to talk about the most important entity — you.

Ultimately, you’re marketing yourself to the recruiters as the ideal candidate for the role. Therefore, write your CV focusing on why you’re executive material and the best fit for the position.

To do that, you must avoid using generic, unoriginal lines in your CV. Instead, personalise the content using the “I” word in essential places. It shows confidence and assuredness in your claims. For example, consider these two statements.

“I was a lead developer on project Coop Disk, which was a huge success and helped the company get 10X ROI in 6 months.”

“Was part of the team that developed Coop Disk, which was hugely successful and earned the company a lot of money”

The first statement personalised the achievement and clearly stated the candidate’s role. The second is largely amateurish and doesn’t do an excellent job convincing anyone the writer made worthwhile contributions.

Essentially, let your CV tell your story from your point of view. And make sure to give off every bit of confidence possible with your words.    

Use Personal Branding To your Advantage

A personal brand isn’t something you should ignore or downplay when running for an executive role. This brand is how people perceive you and the value on offer. 

Primarily, personal branding connects your passions, attributes, strengths and experience. A great personal brand helps your case when writing your CV for an executive role because it enables you to differentiate yourself from the competition. Then, by combining it with your value proposition, you can make a good impression on the recruiter.

Fortunately, presenting your brand doesn’t require more skills than you already have. Consider the tips below to brand yourself above other applicants for the same role.

  • Start with your personal brand statement. This statement should demonstrate your value as an individual by balancing your personality with competencies using the right keywords.
  • Next, follow up with a convincing review or quote from a recent performance or client.
  • Lastly, include a few value-driven statements.

Needless to say, this is a lot of information which may not fit right in your CV. So if you can’t find space for it on your CV, you can mention it in your cover letter. However, it’s better to note them on the CV because the recruiter may choose to go straight to your CV without reviewing the cover letter. 

Use Fewer Buzzwords

Resist the temptation to use cliches and buzzwords while writing and formatting an executive CV. When considering candidates for executive roles, most recruiters assume they’re recruiting professionals who don’t need to spam “CV cliches” to make their points. 

Hence, terms like “highly motivated,” “good communicator,” or “team player” make you sound generic and hiring managers don’t like to see that.

However, be careful not to mistake relevant keywords for buzzwords. Executive CV writing requires a delicate balance between avoiding buzzwords and incorporating keywords to pass ATS screening.

Keywords are essential, especially to pass the ATS screening. Additionally, recruiters look for specific keywords when perusing CVs and may disqualify candidates that don’t include them on their CVs. 

Everything about the CV Must Scream Executive Level Proficiency

You probably won’t get an interview invite if your CV sounds or feels like an entry-level CV — regardless of your experience and skills. So, all the elements and features on your CV must synergise into something that boldly spells “executive level material.” 

Including relevant leadership skills and experience helps a lot in this aspect. You must also use punchy and articulated phrases to present your value. Essentially, from the structure to the personal achievements and references, the contents of your executive must say the same thing — that you’re perfect for that role. 

The Ideal Executive CV Formatting Template & Structure 

Earlier, we mentioned the importance of using the proper structure when writing a CV for an executive position. But of course, it’s always easier said than done. 

If you’re having difficulties determining the best way to write an executive CV, use the template we outlined below.

CV Header

Your CV must start with a header bearing your name and the title of the role you’re pursuing in block letters.

Your name is essential information on the CV and should be the first thing the reviewer will see when they check the document. After your name, the role you’re pursuing should follow in the header. 

The company will likely have several managerial positions and may be looking to fill more than one at a time. So, it’s better to specify which executive role you’re submitting the CV for as part of your header. 

Other information you should put in the header includes contact details like mobile number, contact address, and email. Recruiters are also increasingly showing preference to see candidates’ LinkedIn profile links in executive CVs, so you should include it too. 

CV Summary

Most hiring managers quickly scan CVs during review and rarely take time to read through them carefully. Recent data show that recruiters only spend a few seconds on average on each CV. 

The best scenario is the recruiter spending those few seconds reading your strongest points. Hence, the best CV writers in the UK recommend highlighting your strongest points in a dedicated section with intentional placement to catch the recruiter’s eye. 

That’s what an executive summary is all about and why it must come right after the header. The executive summary contains only the crucial points to your value proposition. An excellent summary will influence how the recruiter will perceive the rest of your CV. So, when creating it, ensure it’s short, engaging and relevant to the role.

Relevant Experience Section

The ideal executive role aspirant is likely a career professional who’s been in the industry for over ten years. By now, you’re overflowing with experience and can’t wait to pour them all out for the recruiter to see. Well, this is the section for you to do that.

The experience section should come right after the executive summary in your CV. That’s because relevant experience speaks better of any competencies described in the executive summary. This placement indicates you not only have the capability but have put them to profitable use in the past. 

You can expect the recruiter to go through your experience several times during an extensive review. Therefore, don’t hold back. The relevant experience section should be comprehensive, containing relevant experience, with a numbers-backed description of your duties. 

Skill Section

Having spent over ten years in an industry, you should have accrued a wealth of skills. The skill section fits right after discussing your experiences, and it’s the best place to note your capabilities.

However, there’s a mistake several professionals with a long tenure in the industry often make. They have a lot of skills and often decide to include them all in their executive CV. But, unfortunately, the sheer number of your skills can diminish the impact behind each one. So, instead of writing them all down, prioritise the skills relevant to the role.

You can mention both soft and hard skills. However, consider the context and determine which skills category will be more appropriate to accentuate when writing your CV for a specific executive role.

Education and Qualifications Section

Your experience and skills will do the bulk of the work in convincing the recruiter to invite you for an interview. However, including your education and academic qualifications on your CV won’t hurt. 

Of course, it’s inconceivable that you would be a corporate career professional for over ten years without at least a bachelor’s degree. And over the years, you must have added more qualifications and certifications to your portfolio. This section is the best place to mention all the ones relevant to the executive role.

Achievement/Career Highlights Section

This section is primarily for highlighting your career highs and your best successes. It should include industry awards, volunteer work, NGO roles, peer recognition and relevant memberships. 

Ideally, you shouldn’t hesitate to add career highlights to your executive CV. However, you may leave it out if it makes your CV too cumbersome. You don’t want the sheer volume of your CV to discourage the recruiter before they even have a chance to read its contents.

Mistakes to Avoid While Writing an Executive CV

Having executive-level experience and skills doesn’t mean you can’t make mistakes when writing your CV. But, of course, executives’ role requirements have zero margins for error. 

Here are a few common mistakes you should watch out for.

Amateur Mistakes 

Writing and submitting an executive CV with typos and grammatical errors is a major deal breaker, as your position requires you to exude perfection. Moreover, recruiters will most likely punish you for amateur errors because they believe you should know better. 

Using the Wrong Format

The best format for an executive CV is a chronological layout which prioritises your relevant leadership experiences. Recruiters typically expect you to use this template to structure your executive CV. And they may consider any other format as unacceptable for the role.

Not Stating A Clear Job Target

You’d agree with us that it makes no sense to submit a CV without clearly defining the role you’re applying for in it. But at an executive level, such errors are practically unacceptable. 

At this stage in your career and going for an executive position, you shouldn’t be submitting CVs that look like templates. Employers like to see that you’re sure of the role you intend to take on.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that there’s no one “best way to write an executive CV”. The perfect executive comprises numerous moving parts that combine to represent your skills and competencies best. 

It can be tough to keep up with these moving parts while writing and formatting your executive. That’s why we’ve provided the exhaustive guide above to ensure you get it right. 

We can also go one step further by taking on the writing responsibility. The CV Expert team will grill you to understand your career path, skills, competencies and the best way to represent them. 

Up to 26% of our previous CV writing clients enjoy a salary increase. You too can join the statistic. Contact us today to get your new executive CV in 48 hours. 

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