Becoming a Non–Executive Director (NED)


empty boardroom

Many professionals who are nearing retirement consider Non-Executive Director (NED) positions as they offer an opportunity to remain engaged and contribute to the business community. Whether you are taking a glide path into retirement, planning for the future or exploring a portfolio career, this article provides further context on the role of a NED and the steps you will need to take to secure a NED appointment.

What is a NED?

A Non-Executive Director (NED) is a member of a company's board of directors. Typically, they do not engage in the day-to-day management of the organisation or make decisions, however they are more involved in policy making, planning and providing strategic direction.

NEDs are detached from day-to-day operations and are valued for providing an independent view of the company. They are required to provide strategic direction, maintain corporate governance, build successful relationships with internal and external shareholders/stakeholders, monitor performance and oversee succession planning. They may determine appropriate levels of remuneration, set standards and create policies, as well as being involved in financial reporting, risk management and mitigation.

Preparing a Non-Executive Director (NED) CV

If you are looking for a NED role, you will need a CV.  A CV used for a NED role requires a slightly different focus from the chronological CV. A traditional chronological CV format will put emphasis on what you have done in each role – including where and when. When applying for a NED role, consider a functional or combination format. This way you can draw attention to skills and experience gained in previous career history or voluntary board experience and bring the most marketable and relevant information to the forefront of your CV.

Many NED applications also require an application form or cover letter demonstrating the skills and qualities you could bring to the Non-Executive Appointment.

Seeking NED appointments

Most NED appointments are secured through referrals and networking. You will need to leverage your existing connections and seek referrals from colleagues, mentors or friends who might know of NED opportunities or be willing to introduce you to potential employers/connections.

You can also find NED opportunities through a range of methods including;

  • Joining NED specific networks and organisations that are dedicated to connecting NEDs with companies seeking their expertise. Joining these groups provides access to exclusive job opportunities and to network with other NEDs. However, they may require an annual fee, so you will need to do some research first.
  • Explore Executive Search Firms and Head-hunters specialising in NED recruitment. Reach out to these firms and share your interest in NED positions to be considered for relevant opportunities.
  • Consider volunteering as a board member for non-profit organisations or smaller businesses. This can help you gain practical experience and build credibility.

Not every opportunity will be advertised, so follow industry news and trends to identify companies that might need a NED. Changes in leadership, mergers or new ventures could signal potential opportunities.

Final thoughts…

Most NED positions require a solid track record of leadership, experience and expertise in a relevant industry or business function. Aspiring NEDs should carefully consider the responsibilities, time commitment and legal obligations associated with such roles. Additionally, networking and building a strong professional reputation are crucial for securing NED opportunities.

Renovo is the UK’s leading specialist provider of outplacement support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please email

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