How to create an EFFECTIVE CV?

Raveen Savinda Rathnayake
3 min readApr 5, 2017


Since this the time of the year where most of the students who are looking for internship opportunities, I thought to write about How to create a good looking CV. Use this as a guideline to create a remarkable CV of you.

CV is simply a material which showcase yourself. CV is the first impression that will go to the reader’s mind about you. So basically, CV is a DO or Die thing. If you get the attention you have a go. If not 🙁

Short and sweet

Think the reader gets 400 CVs and your CV is among them. Think how long will the reader will cling on to your CV. As an average, it is less than 6 seconds. So you got 6 second window to impress the judge. So it is good to have a short CV. Ideally it should not go beyond 2 pages. Be creative on your CV. There is no rule stating that a CV should like this. So if you have a eye catching one you will definitely get the reader’s eye. Use one or two fonts only. If you use more than that the reader will get confused 😛 Use layouts of white space, indentation and bullet points to make it easy to read.


Basically a CV should include these things.

  • The Past — How you spend your life in terms of career perspective
  • The Present — What are you currently doing?
  • The Future — Where do you want to ended up?

There are two main types of CV

  1. Organized by job titles with the most recent position comes first

2. Most effective when you have a solid experience and a logical job history

  1. The information is organized by the skills set

2. Used by when your experience and education do not obviously match with the career objectives or when there are noticeable gaps in work experiences

But modern CV uses a combination of both above methods. They represent the knowledge, skills and abilities.

Typical Structure:

1) Name and contact information

  • Name, address, email, phone numbers comes first
  • Other relevant informtion can be included later
  • Make your email address a professional one
  • Photograph

2) Personal profile (career objective)

  • Clear, concise and targeted to the career goals
  • Match the needs of the potential employer
  • Should include
  • who you are: a statement one sentence long, that describes you truthfully but powerfully
  • Skills and qualities that you process
  • DO NOT COPY PASTE from the web

Ex: “I want to spend four years working in web design and development to get experience of the technologies and the business. After that I intend to become an intenet entrepreneur”

3) Career history/ technical projects experience

  • Start with the most recent first
  • Briefly describe your roles and responsibilities
  • Use action verbs

4) Educational qualifications

  • Your degree subject and university and A/L, O/L or equivalents
  • Mention grades unless POOR!

5) Professional certifications

  • Include relevant significant ones

6) Awards and achievements

  • Most recent achievements come first
  • Mention the date of achievement

7) Skills and talents

  • Keep short and to the point
  • Hobbies that are a little out of the ordinary
  • Good to categorize: Expert, Advanced, Beginner, Working knowledge, basic knowledge

8) Relevant personal details

9) Referees information

  • Normally two referees are sufficient.

Some common mistakes

  • Grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Improper font sizes
  • Missing important details
  • Too many pages
  • Unwanted personal information — age, height etc
  • Salary requirement
  • Don’t use fancy email addresses

Some Tips

  • Put most important fact first
  • Highlight strengths
  • Be clean and clear
  • Be positive
  • Use layouts of white space, indentation and bullet points to make it easy to read
  • Keep the text of each item brief
  • Be truthful- Do not fake
  • Write..,Read..,Revise..,Repeat..

Pack your CV

  • Send it in PDF format
  • Rename file name appropriately- (Raveen.Rathnayake.CV.March.2017.pdf)
  • Accompany with a cover letter

Cover Letter

  • Short & Sweet -only three paragraphs
  • If an email, make it the email body
  1. Opening para-express your interest in the job
  2. Second para- very brief highlight of key qualifications
  3. Closing para- asking for an interview, mention the dates that you won’t be available for interview, Thank for the employer and say look forward to hearing from them soon

That’s it. ! 😀

PS: Special thank goes to Mr. Rashmika Nawaratne, former Tech Lead in 99X Technologies and Mr. Niresh Samaranayake, Head of HR- Software and ITES Cluster at John Keells Holdings for providing the information.



Raveen Savinda Rathnayake

Senior Software Engineer @WSO2 | Graduate of University of Westminster |