How to compose a 2 page Board CV

2 page Board CV

Have you ever been asked for or told you need a 2-page Board CV? What do you do if your Board CV is 3 or 4 pages long? What needs to go and what needs to stay? In this article, I will provide some tips and advice on condensing and customising your CV to just two pages while still articulating why you should be appointed to the role.

When and why is a 2-page Board CV required?

Many recruiters and advertised opportunities ask applicants to limit their CVs to just two pages. As you apply for more board roles, you will likely encounter instances where you must or should reduce your Board CV to 2 pages.

Many advertised opportunities insist on applicants submitting a 2-page board CV. Equally, if a recruiter is handling the role you are applying for or you are approaching as part of your board networking process, they too often demand a 2-page CV.

Why a 2-page Board CV? You need to understand that both parties will likely have to review hundreds of CVs. That is a lot of time despite estimates that they will spend just 6 – 8 seconds reading each. Regardless, it reinforces why they only want a brief CV that presents only the relevant information in a concise, easy-to-read 2-page document.

It is essential then that you:

  1. don’t exceed the prescribed page limit,
  2. don’t try to ‘game’ this request by using a smaller font or making the margins smaller,
  3. don’t submit the same CV for every application.

It is critical to your application making the cut so ensure it is customised for the role you are applying for.

How to write a 2-page Board CV

In a previous article, I demonstrated how to write a compelling Board CV that includes an extensive list of your relevant board-level skills and experience, your board and executive appointment history, examples of success and a clearly defined board pitch. It also includes all your educational history, referees and extra-professional activities. This document will be the master copy of your Board CV. It is from this document your ‘2 pager’ will be composed.

Cut back on your personal details

Board recruiters and organisations typically require basic personal information prior to the board interview stage. In your 2-page Board CV, include just your name, phone number, email address, and general location.

I also recommend never including a photo on your Board CV. Not only does it take up valuable space, but it can potentially lead to unintentional discrimination. Extracurricular interests should only be listed on a 2-page board CV if they are relevant to the role or show passion for the organisation or cause.

Your Board Profile is key

Your 2-page Board CV must include your board profile, which should appear immediately after your personal details. In 4-5 sentences, it will clearly and precisely articulate to the reader what you have to offer and why you should be considered for the board role.

My article – How to Write a Powerful Board Profile – will take you through exactly what you should include in each of these sentences.

Keep it recent

Although it may be tempting to include all past roles, it is unnecessary, may distract the reader, and will take you over the 2-page limit. So, if you have an extensive job history, I recommend you only go as far back as 2000. Further, only emphasise roles that are particularly relevant to the role you are applying for. Other roles can just be listed without the details.

Keep it relevant

To keep your Board CV to two pages, you must focus on the board-level skills and experience that match the requirements of the board role you are applying for. That means potentially excluding some experience or knowledge that you are particularly proud of but is unlikely to support your board application.

Focus on results and avoid cliches

I receive many Board CVs full of common cliches or vague, non-specific statements, such as “I have a passion for XX,” “I am an innovator,” or “I have a proven track record,” but these statements do not demonstrate why they are true.

Also, avoid statements such as “self-motivated”. Not only are they cliche and vague, but they are self-assigned; they don’t hold much weight and take up valuable space. Instead, only list defendable or quantifiable statements. Focus on your successes not the process.

Use short sentences

Avoid providing detailed information with lengthy sentences, as they can be unnecessary and space-consuming. Moreover, they are difficult to read. Where possible, use bullet points to communicate information more effectively. This eliminates the need for full sentences and reduces the use of filler and connecting words. Again, the secret here is to describe your success – not the process you used to get there.


The Ladders Eye-Tracking Study provides some insight into where recruiters focus their attention when reading or scanning CVs. The data was collected with eye-tracking technology and transferred to a heat map for analysis.

The top-performing CVs—by this, I mean the recruiter spent more time, focused on the correct information, and scanned both pages of the CV. The majority of these CVs shared key layout features:

    • They were not cluttered and followed an F or E layout pattern. This was achieved by using clear titles, bold font highlights, bullets, sufficient line spacing and white space.
    • They had a clear overview statement at the top of the CV. This is where your Board Profile should sit, at the top of the F or E pattern.
    • The sections were clearly marked with title headers and selective use of line breaks.

Isn’t a 2-page CV document too short?

Yes, it is. But remember that your Board CV—whether full or just two pages—should never, ever be submitted or sent to anyone without a board cover letter attached. In many ways, this is the most important document you should write.

You can implement several strategies to reduce your Board CV from 3 or 4 pages to a 2-page compelling document. My recommendations are based on 15+ years of reading, grading, and writing thousands of Board CVs. With Ladder’s eye-tracking study to confirm my theories, I am confident that I know what works and what doesn’t.

Related Articles

From board application to interview – who makes the shortlist?

The style, format and content of a Board CV that gets results

How to write a powerful Board Profile that will help get you appointed

About the Author

David Schwarz is CEO & Founder of Board Appointments – The UK’s leading board advertising and non-executive career support firm. He has over a decade of experience of putting people on boards as an international headhunter and a non-executive recruiter and has interviewed over one thousand non-executives and placed hundreds into some of the most significant public, private and NFP roles in the world.

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