Executive Director Resume: A Kickass Guide + Bonus Tips

Writing a professional executive director resume is not easy, especially when it means you have to check all the tick boxes of the hiring manager's expectations. And that's what we are here for!

Format :
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To answer all your questions for you and help you write a perfect job winning executive director resume.

Read on!

Executive Director Resume

Where should I begin?


But what should I research?

Job Market

The job market for Executive Directors will be tough since it is an management position and requires you to be qualified and experiences. Therefore, please thoroughly search the internet and professional social media platforms like LinkedIn to understand what the job market looks like. Please reach out to people in the existing role and understand what sort of skills are required, or what the job entails and what is changing and what needs to be worked upon. Please don't shy away as this is a great opportunity to network with people of the industry.

Job Description

The job description for Executive director can be looked on websites such as Monster.com, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or relevant company websites in their Career section. Read up as many job descriptions you can to know what is expected of you and use that to the maximum by putting them in your resume. This will be covered at the bottom in 'Customization' however, you need to adapt and use the same language in your resume too.

Resume Formats

There are essentially 3 resume formats i.e., Functional, Reverse Chronological, and Combination/ Hybrid. All the 3 will be covered in detail in the next section. The first which is the functional is the most basic type of format and is used by people who are starting out in a new role or position, due to circumstances such as graduating, or changing their role. The Reverse Chronological format is used by people who have vast experience, and the third format is the Combination where, the candidate used the characteristics of both to create an ecstatic resume.

Company Information

The company information needs to be looked up on the websites as previously mentioned. You need to visit the company page as well, read up about them in the 'about us' section and make pointers on how the organization works. You need to know the dynamics of the organization, and you can go and ask current employees, or ex-employees on LinkedIn and understand if you are a good fit for the company and visa-versa.

You need to internalize the mission and vision statement, the history and the company values. These things make up the management and how they work as an organization. You can judge and then utilize the information in your resume and in your interview as well.

Resume Guidelines

There are thousands of ways you can make your resume and the interest has dearth of knowledge to provide, however, like our website there will not be many that will give correct information and guidelines on how to write a winning resume. Therefore, be wise and understand the guidelines on how to write an Executive director resume which is a crucial position in any industry.


As we previously touched upon this topic in the 'Job description' and 'Company information' sections, the purpose of customization and how to do it is by using the language that is provided to you and make it your own by understanding it and then producing it in your resume. There are various guidelines. on how to do it therefore, use the website that we have mentioned, and also conduct a thorough research on the companies you will be applying to. This will allow you have vast knowledge at your disposal which you can then pick and choose to apply it to your resume, and your cover letter.


There are various methods of proofreading that you can search on the web. Proof reading is the last step on the track of creating a perfect resume. You need to check your grammar, your spellings, your point formulation and the choice of words. The proof reading part will help you to rid of those problems. There are few ways you can do this, by inviting your friends or colleagues to check if you resume looks fine, give it a second eye. Put it on various grammar checking platforms to see if the grammar is correct etc.


📌Types of professional resume formats:

  • Functional resume format:

The Functional format is for those groups of people who are newly navigating into the job market, that do not have much relevant experience i.e., freshers right out of college or other kinds of people who are switching their job fields, which means they might not have the experience, or transferable skills.

The aforementioned people have one thing in common is the little to no work experience, anything that is valid from the perspective of a correct resume can be put in no particular order and can be maximized by using keywords or action verbs. Secondly, a functional resume can have a lot of other things, such as any internships, additional courses or certifications, degrees and diplomas, hobbies and more.

The functional format allows you to put in everything you have from the perspective a professional point of view and lay it down on the resume. You can put internships, or jobs that had skills that could be transferred to the role of executive director, however, the role itself requires experience. Therefore, this resume format might not be the best one.

  • Reverse chronological order resume format:

Reverse chronological is when everything you put in the resume in each of its sections is following reverse order. Your education, professional experience, certifications, achievements, etc. It is a common resume format for those who are heavily experienced, and its feature are also used in the combination format.

The reverse chronological format is for those kinds of people who have had several years of experience, and are applying to jobs in the same/ similar field and switching companies. This type resume will be good for candidates such as yourself reading up about how to write an Executive director resume, as you will have relevant work experience, and even if you are switching from a different job role you will have transferable skills that will add value to your resume.

The reverse chronological format resume puts emphasis on the work experience section heavily, and therefore other sections are either overshadowed or forgotten i.e., hobbies. Moreover, one should include their education if it is relevant, if you have maintained really high grades, or you are from a prestigious school/ university in reverse chronological order.

  • Combination resume format:

Last but not the least the combination resume format, or the hybrid format. The combination resume format uses the features from the functional and the reverse chronological format to ensure that the resume used represents all from a professional stand point to the hiring managers

For example someone who is not very experienced, has enough content to put it in the reverse chronological order except one particular work experience/ internship that added more value but was not the most recent, then you bring in that particular element of the functional resume format where you put in the most relevant experiences first. 

This particular format is the most widely used format as it can be customized as per what the candidate wants. There are few guidelines that should be followed for the combination type format too. In the beginning can put the skills summary of yourself, in the resume objective section. The resume summary/ objective provides the hiring manager an overview vis-a-vis a snapshot of the resume.

Followed by the professional experience section. In this section you should ideally have it in the reverse chronological format detailing your work experience by not showing as much white space as possible, however you can choose to detail only the key ones for which the skills are really important to the job you are applying to.

Followed by skills and achievements sections, these in the order as stated or as you are comfortable. Since the format is used by various groups of people, at different stages of jobs application process, therefore, this section becomes important, as this highlights the recognition, or the awards you got for the skills you gained or already possessed in your previous engagements. Therefore, you must pay extra attention to this section. 

You can choose to put the education and the certification section where you show your degrees/ diplomas/ professional certifications in a reverse chronological format. You don't need to highlight every thing you did while you were in college, just the overview of the school and education qualification you received, and if need be the GPA.

Executive Director resume-A sample resume outline

Executive Director Resume

Resume header

The header includes your contact information. 

Full Name: The name should be as per what you have provided in your government IDs

Mobile Number: The phone number that you provide here should always be accessible

Email Address: The email ID should be professional, ideally your name if available, and do not provide your personal email ID as a bonus tip. Create an email ID if need be

Permanent Address: You do not need to provide your whole address, the area and area code are sufficient and this part is optional

LinkedIn Profile: If you do decide to give your LinkedIn profile, then please update it

Resume summary

The first narrative looked up by the hiring manager when looking at the candidate's resume as it sits below the resume header and before the actual resume starts. The header should not be more than 3-6 sentences and 4-6 lines long. If this extends beyond those lines and sentences then you will have less space to expand upon your work experience points. 

Resume summary is also called the resume objective, and it is where you mention any key achievement or work experience that you have had and will leave an impact on the hiring managers mind.

Professional experience/Work history

Job title and Company:

Please mention the job title or your designation as per you contract and mention the name of your company along with it.

Dates of Employment:

Mention only the Month and the year and not the whole data in 'from-to' format.

Job Description:

When you are mentioning what your job description is, you can pick these points from the job description that was provided to you, however, we suggest you customize it as per the job you are applying to by picking up words and phrases form the job description so that the hiring manager can relate to you as a candidate.

Key Achievements:

Any achievements, recognitions, and awards that you might have received in your professional career can be listed here for the relevant job that you worked in. Please try to quantify them wherever possible.

Education section

Please mention and degree, diploma, or any other formal educational qualification here in reverse chronological order

Degree Name:

The degree or diploma, or the educational qualification name as provided to you in the certificate

Institution Name:

The name of your institution as per what is on your certificate

Location and Date:

The location can just be the area, or the country if it was overseas, and the date should me Month-year, in 'from-to' format

GPA (Optional):

To mention the grade point average on your resume is optional, however, if you have done exceptionally well throughout your education and if you are fresher or both then you should mention it.

Skills section

The skills section here provides you with the skills you will need for the job you are applying to, some you might have, some you might need and all of these can be used as key words in your resume, cover letter and application. Therefore, go through this section word by word to know what can be picked up and what can be worked upon.

📌List of relevant skills for your executive director resume's skills section:

  • executive director job
  • leadership skills
  • supervising skills
  • strategic planning
  • business administration
  • financial management
  • strategic thinking
  • relevant skills
  • skills for organizational growth
  • financial stability
  • key qualifications
  • strategic plans
  • organizational goals
  • working with staff members
  • daily operations
  • new programs
  • company mechanisms
  • leadership skills
  • organization operations
  • focus
  • budget management
  • expertise of operations
  • managed business
  • organization achievements
  • company achievements
  • managing company
  • managing company accomplishments
  • programs management
  • programs development
  • finance management
  • developed responsible programs
  • training
  • creating revenue

Bonus Tips


Key words are action verbs, or quality adjectives that any resume needs. Therefore, go through this section thoroughly to know what sort of key words can be used in your resume while applying for the role of Executive Director.

📌List of relevant keywords for your executive director resumes:

  • creating
  • board
  • writing
  • directors
  • responsibility
  • training
  • seeking
  • responsible
  • summary
  • revenue
  • finance
  • professional
  • employer
  • development
  • department
  • write
  • managing
  • identify
  • executives
  • example
  • career
  • create
  • support
  • demonstrate
  • management
  • accomplishments
  • achievements
  • qualifications
  • business
  • managed
  • managed business administration
  • business organizational growth
  • organizational goals
  • skills
  • operations
  • expertise
  • work experience
  • education
  • employers
  • budget
  • focus
  • position
  • leadership skills
  • company
  • daily operations
  • relevant experience
  • staff members
  • non profit organization
  • key stakeholders
  • key qualifications
  • strategic planning
  • strategic plans
  • financial stability
  • relevant skills
  • job title
  • strategic thinking
  • financial management
  • strategic planning
  • executive directors
  • professional summary
  • cover letter
  • executive director job
  • executive director
  • executive director position

Cover letter

Executive Director Resume

Cover letter is a narrative version of you resume. It requires one to create a story of themselves of their professional life. They have to weave a narrative that will give the hiring manager a chance to create an image of you along with the kind of personality you have. This will allow them to know whether you are a good fit for the company that you applied. the cover letter follows a certain format as stated below:


The header like the resume header will consists of your contact details i.e., Your full name, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile (optional)


The salutation is the greeting you propose to the reader, which in this case is your hiring manager. You would like to respect them yet be casual e.g., 'Dear Hiring Manager'


The introduction bit is where the main content of a cover letter starts. You as a potential candidate for the job need to make it clear what you're looking for in the role that is being offered. You also need to be enthusiastic about it by showing some connection between the past experience with the job description or with the company. Try and use the language of the company, from its mission and vision statement, their about us page and customize it so that the hiring manager feels some familiarity in your voice that's resonating from the cover letter.


The main body of the cover letter is where you materialize your enthusiasm for the role and the company that you are applying to. this part of the letter consists of you expressing your past experiences, some key ones, that have helped you gain skills, increase your potential as an employee in the market, and also where you have contributed back to the company.

The latter is equally important as an employee you have to add value to the company by doing work and more. therefore, always incorporate anything that you do outside of your job description that enhanced the value of your company.

Moreover, you need to show any achievements, recognitions, and awards that you may have received during your tenures in your previous employments. The recent the better. These experiences and achievements should relate to what you are applying for, as they will enhance the value of your candidacy and your fit for the company.


As part of the cover letter conclusion, there are a couple actions as there were in the introduction. As a candidate you need to sum up your expectation, and your enthusiasm again as you are bringing them to light for the hiring manager. The conclusion is where you tie the knot on what you had previously explained about yourself. All the qualities that you mentioned previously


The closing part of the cover letter is where you put in your regards i.e., 'Sincerely' or 'Warm Regards' and sign off your name with it


References are an important part of a resume. Here you provide the hiring manager not more than 3 references, and those should ideally be from your previous employment or your recent past. It shouldn't be like a person from 3 years ago.

References should explain to the hiring managers the personality you had when you were working with them. Most of the times, the references are your reporting managers, or the seniors that you worked with on projects. They will have seen your growth and also witnessed changes in you. Therefore, they can with a clarity explain the hiring managers the kind of person you are.


In conclusion, please focus on the first part of this article and understand that research is the key to creating a really good resume. The research will allow you know what the job market is, the competition, what is required of you as an Executive Director.

And as the last step, you can check out executive director resume example along with our collection of resume examples, templates and more. Also, check out our resume builder option that will help you write your resume within minutes with AI prompts just like ChatGPT. That's all! Good luck with the job search!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What should I include in my Skills section on executive director resume?

The skills section for an Executive Director resume needs to be more soft oriented. Since the position is a management one, where you are responsible for various people who do the ground work for the organization then you should have more soft skills such as Time management, leadership, problem solving, etc. These skills are crucial to your daily operations that will entail the efficiency of the department you are allocated to. Apart from the soft skills, there will some other skills, such as some tools you might need to learn or be equipped with that will help you analyze the performance of the department too.

How many references should I include on my executive director resume?

The ideal amount is 3, and there is no upper limit or lower limit, however, 3 allows the hiring manager to get a good sense of what kind of personality you have and how you can add value to the organization by how you worked with the references you provided. Do not put only 1 reference as if the person does not respond to the contact the hiring manager is trying to make then you might not be able to express your excellent candidature as you desired.

How can I choose the best executive director resume examples for my reference?

Please refer to our resume formats and hundreds of templates to choose and customize so that you can maximize your candidacy as an Executive director. You should follow the research steps as we have provided in the earlier part of the article to better equip you of the methodology of the resume you need to create for the management role you are applying to.

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