How to apply for an executive-level job

CV expert Emma Alkirwi has advice for you if you are thinking of applying for executive-level jobs after Christmas or moving from one executive-level job to another.

getting your cv ready


Christmas is over and it’s time to look to the new year. The start of the year is when many people take time to reflect on what they want from life. Whether you’re ready to transition into your first executive-level role or you already have senior-level experience and you want to make a change, it’s a good time to think about updating your CV before the January rush.

When it’s time to write a CV for an executive position, many of the same rules apply as for other CVs. You still need to have a clear layout, include specific keywords related to the job and provide a succinct and effective overview of your skills and experience. However, there are some key updates to include on an executive-level CV.

Emphasise your executive experience

It’s important to think about your professional background so far and highlight any executive-level responsibilities that have already come up.

At this stage, there’s no need to list generic soft skills as this will be assessed at the interview stage and potentially through psychometric tests. Instead, focus on accomplishments to demonstrate the scale and level you have operated at.

Avoid going into excessive detail about responsibilities that aren’t relevant as they will be assumed from the achievements you showcase.

Prioritise competencies required at this level

It’s important to list key achievements on any CV, but it’s more vital than ever to quantify your skills to land an executive position.

Key competencies to evidence at an Executive level are:

 Leadership, coaching and mentoring
 Strategy development
 Cost saving
 Revenue generation
 Change and transformation
 Technology and innovation

You must also remember to use as many facts and figures as you can to evidence all of this. If you don’t want to mention numbers, you can use percentages instead. For example: ‘Significantly reduced costs by 12%’.

It’s also credible to note budgets accountable for, the size of teams that you’ve led and any significant awards or accreditations you supported the organisation with.

All of this information gives employers tangible proof that you’re the right fit for a senior-level role.

Recent experience matters

For executive-level applications, only give details about positions that you’ve held in your most recent roles – these are likely the examples you will need to expand upon during an interview.

There is no benefit to including lots of detail about roles over 10 to 15 years ago as this may dilute your senior experience. Simply list these positions to build a picture of your professional journey. Any key achievements or responsibilities should be reserved for more recent positions. That way, your career progression is clear, as are the various important responsibilities you have held.

Focus on current trends

Along with your achievements, it’s also important to reflect on current industry trends and think about what skills organisations are prioritising right now.

Last month, we looked at the key trends that will dominate the job market in 2024. Think about important new developments in your industry – for example, AI, sustainability, and digital skills – and how you can demonstrate an understanding of these trends.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) are also front of mind for employers in 2024. If you have experience within these areas, include some detail on your CV.

Again, when you highlight any experience with these trends and developments, always back up your claims with tangible evidence to show employers that you understand their priorities.

An executive-level CV should be a clear and concise demonstration that you have all the skills that employers want in a leader, with evidence to show why you’re the right person for the job.

*Emma Alkirwi is the Managing Director of the CV Guru which is the leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters in the UK and they also provide specialist consultancy services.  Check out their CV writing bundles, which include a CV, LinkedIn Profile and Cover Letter. Their Executive-Level CVs are written by their team of senior writers, who are committed to helping you make your next career move.

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