Blog & Advice

Ingredients of an Effective CEO CV

Should a CEO CV be different from those of any other executive?  Yes, but firstly define CEO.  Being CEO of a £1m turnover regional company is rather different to performing as the head of a £1bn global group.  Although obvious, it is amazing how many of the former aspire to be the latter without feeling the need to take a few steps in between.

The CEO of a Local Authority or an NHS Trust has to make a very powerful case to demonstrate the right transferable leadership skills to move into industry or commerce and vice versa.  Many CEOs of smaller organisations are happy to progress to being a Director of a larger organisation to develop their experience and widen their knowledge base. The CV demands carefully-chosen wording as some readers may not believe you are willing to give up being the boss.

Many CEOs in larger organisations approaching the end of their careers consider appointments as Non-Executive Directors, or working with trade bodies, NGOs OR third sector companies in which to plough back a lifetime of management knowledge and expertise.  Many become baffled however when no one seems to want them.  You need to make your case carefully, being mindful of your market.  Some organisations will find it difficult to accommodate a heavyweight executive, no matter how much he or she proposes to fit in.

There are some common requisites for such CVs:

1.    A clear statement of your current organisation’s status, mission and achievements – how big it is in terms of turnover, numbers employed and national/global reach.  Do not assume all or even any of your readers will know just because you know.
2.    Recruiters are looking for a record of real accomplishments within that organisation – or in any others you have operated within over the past decade or so.
3.    They expect you to articulate how you have acquired a formidable knowledge of your sector and its opportunities – even if your own specialisation differs from that of the prospective employer.
4.    You need to demonstrate that as a CEO you have your hands firmly on the finances, in terms of governance, control and foresight.
5.    You should convey your ability to delegate and measure results.
6.    They will expect you to at least have several significant contacts in and outside your sector, possibly with banks, lawyers, regulatory bodies, local authorities where you operate, and (whisper it quietly) even politicians – domestically or internationally.
7.    Finally, at every size organisation they will seek someone who can clearly see the bigger picture and is a person of vision, which is a very difficult-to-define virtue.

In terms of presentation, most CVs are bullet pointed – short sharp statements of fact.  A three or four line outline of your remit and deliverables can then be followed by bullet pointed key achievements and an outline of how you yielded them.  Save the detail for the interview – just make sure that every word counts and every statement can be supported with facts and figures if required.

The CV Experts

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