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NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - CV ADVICE

A Non-Executive Director CV should be different from an Executive one; it should be 2 - 4 pages maximum and contain a combination of the following:
a) your contact details
b) your specialist areas
c) your career roles
d) your key soft skills
e) your professional, educational and technical qualifications.

Your Non Exec CV should include:

1. Your contact details on the 1st page with your address, email & phone numbers. A LinkedIn profile address can also be useful.

2. A candidate profile, summarising your core skills, or useful experience you would offer a client company in a NED or Chair role which will include your personal areas of expertise. Be succinct (preferably fewer than 6 points and certainly no more than 8) and make sure that the expertise and experience you claim are backed up by achievements in your career record. These skills are likely to be a mix of skills that companies require in their Non Execs or a particular company requires around their Board Room table (as per a role spec) such as: "Strategic Input", "Entrepreneurial flair", "Operational Expertise", "Finance", "Risk Management", "Expertise in digital marketing", "Strong IT product development track-record", "10 years' experience of healthcare sector", "Finance Director experienced in VC/EIS fundraising", "IPO and AIM-listed company experience", "Experience of Chairing PE backed companies" etc. Please be honest and don't claim to be superman/superwoman!

3. Your current and previous Board-level experience as an actual Chairman, or Director or in important Director-like roles such as a Board consultant, CoSec, involved investor, trustee/governor etc. In particular mention any formal Board Sub-Committees that you either Chaired or were a member of, and give dates. If legally you were not an actual Director, then don't claim this but mention the role and briefly explain how it was 'Director-like'. If you have not been a NED before but have attended a Non Exec course or workshop to prepare you for the role this is worth mentioning.

4. A short list of your key soft skills: eg your leadership style, communication style, interpersonal skills, strategic thinking, analytical skills, persistence, conflict resolution, integrity, problem solving, team building etc – provide examples of where you have demonstrated these skills in a business environment.

5. A complete and accurate career record with dates and a description of your major achievements and responsibilities in your more important roles. Minor/brief/early roles can simply be mentioned without descriptions. Career breaks are not a problem so do not try to hide them. Ideally reading the career record will not only tell us what you have done but also back up the skills and expertise you claimed in the first section. Again make sure everything is truthful and accurate.

6. A summary of your relevant professional, educational and technical qualifications, especially any that would be relevant for a particular Board appointment or Board subcommittee – eg: an accounting qualification for an Audit Committee, or a former FSA/PRA Authorised person.

7. Lastly, please remember that First Flight accepts CVs in Word format only. All the information you need to register with us is in the candidate section of our website – www.NonExecDirector.co.uk. In particular please note that we guarantee that we will not send your CV to potential clients or any other person or company without your explicit permission.

How to secure your first NED role if you have not been a Non Exec before:

We speak to many aspiring Non Execs and often hear them say they have been to a top City & West End Search firms only to be told: "you can't be a Non Exec until you've been a Non Exec"! This is, of course, nonsense and First Flight is both a strong advocate of broadening the Non Exec gene pool with candidates seeking their first role, and a strong critic of those Non Execs who have too many roles (we do not put forward candidates with more than 4-5 roles) which prevents them putting in the time to understand the business and carry out their responsibilities correctly and responsibly by adding value to the Board.

It is important candidates are fully informed and as prepared as possible to achieve this we advise that you:

1. Read the relevant information about the Non Exec role. You can download First Flight's guidelines on the Non Exec role (endorsed by ShareSoc – the leading private shareholders association) and a wealth of other information from our website. You should also read the latest UK Corporate Governance Code which is on our web site and on the Financial Reporting Council's website. If you are keen to work as a Non-Executive Director for a provider of regulated financial products in the UK you should also understand what is required to be approved by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

2. Gain useful Non Exec experience through taking on a pro bono Non Exec-like role such as Trustee or Governor for a charity, club, pension fund or school.

3. Get involved with a start-up or a young company, preferably as a formal NED or member of an Advisory Board, but if not as an involved investor, coach or mentor; such roles are unlikely to pay well but are a good opportunity to "cut your teeth" and contribute. Investing funds into young companies focuses the mind.

4. Understand what a NED role involves through attending a Non Exec course or workshop. First Flight runs one-day workshops, where candidates seeking their first NED role get to meet working NEDs and hear from expert guest lecturers. These workshops are highly recommended by the candidates who go on them; see comments on our web site under "Candidates: Non Exec Training". However we only run two or three a year and other courses are run by the Institute of Directors, the Financial Times, various business schools and the major accountancy firms, although some of these tend to be more time consuming, expensive and focused on Corporate Governance.

5. Be wary of Non-Executive Director websites that ask you to pay to register or gain access to Non-Executive roles. In our experience most of these offer little or no value. Many of the Non Exec roles that you pay to access will turn out to be NHS or First Flight roles that you and anyone else can apply for direct without paying any money.

Copyright © First Flight Non-Executive Directors Ltd 2014

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