Getting your director resume right is far from easy requiring considerable thought, focus and time. The objective is to get you from long-list to short-list and in front of the people who matter.

Executives are emotionally attached to what they put in their resume – after all, it represents a life’s work. Yet, much of what gets included actually derails the narrative needed for a Board nomination. It is best to use different assumptions, adopt higher-level director thinking, build capability themes and make sure you do not trigger one of the reasons why a board application gets rejected.

As the resume gets quickly browsed in the first instance by search firms or the nominations committee, the key consideration becomes: is it easy to note your explicit contributions and relevant capabilities for this specific Board and where the organisation is headed?

Does your current Board CV meet the expectations of the search firm or nominations committee?


While good structure and visual impact are mandatory for a Board CV, the key advice is to focus on demonstrating a strong match between your achievements and the asked for competencies or where you will target your search. Present the facts on what you will be able to do and have done, more than just outlining where you have been.

Be thoughtful about where you sit with regards to the skills matrix and sub-committees. Nominations committees need to know you can contribute to their specific challenges and commercial realities. Often, a phone call to one of the directors helps cut to the chase on what will really drive the selection decision.

Those reading the Board resume want to know you can think clearly and succinctly. Write in a straightforward, factual and direct style, yet with enough information to answer: ‘so what?’

The best cover letters are not self-promotional or a précis of your resume, but do make it easy for the selector to identify the strategic value that you will bring to the Board and how you meet the nomination criteria.

Next steps:

  • Book a 45-minute consultation by phone or Skype (suitable for international clients) to review your current Board CV and cover letter. Also useful when planning for an interview or sending off an application.

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About the author: Dianne Jacobs


Dianne Jacobs of The Talent Advisors, Melbourne, guides and informs businesses, executives, partners and aspiring directors aiming for the next level.