A resume is often a potential employer’s first impression of you. But unlike a face-to-face meet and greet, this document has to hype you up almost immediately.
On average, recruiters spend seven seconds deciding whether a resume goes in the “Yes” or “No” pile. The perfect resume quickly tells a hiring manager what they need to know to make this decision.
An excellent way to ensure your resume catches a recruiter’s attention is with an effective design that isn’t too crowded. If you’re not a graphic design whiz, use a resume-building platform to create this document.
We’ll outline the qualities of a great resume, why using a resume builder might be the right option to create this document, and some of the best resume builders so you can choose the right one for you.
What makes a great resume?
A great resume summarizes your values, skills, education, and experience. It’s a straightforward document that’s easy to follow.
A cluttered resume reflects poorly on important traits such as attention to detail, organizational skills, and communication skills. That may cost you an interview.
Overcomplicating your resume also increases the chance it isn’t understood properly by applicant tracking software.
When you upload a resume, most companies use an application tracking software to filter applicants based on details the software picks out from your resume. If this document isn’t clear, concise, and organized the tracker might dismiss your qualified application.
Hiring managers also often sort through hundreds of candidates, so being as clear and concise as possible is essential. A resume differs from a curriculum vitae (CV), which is a detailed explanation of your career and academic history. Keep this in mind when prioritizing clarity and consistency.
Certain qualities are worth including to make a resume stand out. Your resume should also be up-to-date, descriptive, and specific. You may be asked to demonstrate skill proficiencies in an interview, so it’s best to include accurate information.
Use design to your advantage to lead the reader’s attention to the most valuable information.
What’s a resume builder?
An online resume builder is an interactive platform that allows you to build your resume from resume templates. Most online resume makers offer several customization options and professional templates to guide you through the resume writing process.
Depending on the interactive features, pricing ranges from free resume templates for basic documents to paid services for full access to more customizable features.
The 6 best resume builders
Job seekers have a variety of resume builders at their disposal. Here are six of our favorites, with pros and cons to help you decide which is best for you:
Zety offers 18 templates highlighting different color palettes, types such as chronological and functional resumes, and bar graphs and infographics to give your skills a visual element.
The platform is excellent for people without an existing resume or who want to start from scratch. The site walks you through the entire process, prompting you to include essential information in every section with tips to write more effectively.
Pros: Zety offers intuitive ease of use with plenty of helpful tips to write compelling job descriptions and optimize your skills and experience.
Cons: The free version of Zety only allows you to download your resume in a .txt file and charges for different file types. Some templates also use graphics or colors incompatible with applicant tracking systems.
2. My Perfect Resume
This platform is excellent for more experienced resume writers. While they offer dozens of resume formats with different styles, you can also start from scratch with a blank template or edit an existing resume.
There’s also a feature that suggests applicant tracking system-optimized language for work experience and skills to help you get through automated resume-reading programs.
Pros: It’s easy to use and has a responsive chat feature to walk you through the process. The platform also has additional resume sections like certifications, social media, affiliations, languages, or public speaking experiences that benefit entry-level workers with less work experience.
Cons: The free version lets you download your resume in a .txt file. To download a .docx or .pdf, you must sign up for a 14-day trial.
Canva has a free resume builder feature with hundreds of templates designed by graphic designers with a flair for the creative. Although this platform is meant for people in any industry, it’s ideal for those that want to express themselves through visual design.
Pros: It’s infinitely customizable with an expansive library of fonts, text sizes, and colors and includes photo editing capabilities to crop, straighten, and add filters. Canva allows you to edit and save multiple versions to build new resumes for different jobs.
Cons: They don’t offer the option to upload your resume — you must start from scratch. Many fonts and templates also aren’t ATS-friendly.
This platform offers 18 classic resume templates emphasizing clean and simple design. Job seekers going after more senior positions or in more corporate or formal industries, like law, accounting, human resources, finance, or engineering, might find resume.io more appropriate.
Pros: The platform is easy to use, intuitive, and has hundreds of examples to give you ideas for your resume. It also suggests phrases that vary based on your job title and includes a built-in grammar checker.
Cons: Templates can’t be modified. The free version of resume.io allows you to download your resume in a .txt file. To download a .docx or .pdf, you must sign up for a 7-day trial.
LiveCareer has a small selection of resume templates approved by professional job recruiters. The platform’s templates emphasize clean organization and straightforward design.
LiveCareer is designed to be optimized on social media sites and can be uploaded directly to your LinkedIn profile.
Pros: This resume builder software allows you to import your own resume to edit directly, so you don’t have to re-enter all your information to use the platform’s tools.
Cons: LiveCareer requires you to sign up for a trial package to download your resume.
6. Resume Genius
Resume Genius is a free resume builder with a selection of conventional-looking templates. The platform is easy to use and ideal for job seekers applying for more senior, corporate, or specialized positions.
Pros: Resume Genius has 50,000 pre-written bullet points for every industry, making it easier to sell your skills — like active listening or trustworthy leadership — when you lack inspiration. You can also download .docx or .pdf files.
Cons: Resume Genius has limited visual components.
Choosing a resume builder
Consider the following when picking a platform:
Price: If you’re looking for a free online resume builder, pay careful attention to the fine print. Many free services only offer downloads in file types that recruiters don’t want — like plain .txt files. Check the pricing for .pdf or .docx files before spending hours designing a resume.
Functionality: A great resume is tailored to the job you’re applying for. Choose a platform that allows you to easily edit and download various resumes.
Design: A graphic designer will likely want a different template than a recent law graduate. Based on your industry or the company you’re applying to, decide whether you want a clean and straightforward design or a resume with more visual embellishments. Choose a platform most suitable to those needs.
Consistency: Most resume-building services provide cover letter templates and CV builders. If your job search requires all three, choose a platform where the aesthetic is consistent for each document.
Customization: If you’re an entry-level job seeker, look for resume builders that allow you to customize different sections like certifications, affiliations, or extra skills to bolster your resume.
Prepare for your dream job
You’ve got the experience, demeanor, and skills necessary to handle the job. A resume builder can help you deliver this information effectively.
Tailor this document to company values and the job description, using a more visually creative or simple design when applicable. This will help your resume stand out from the crowd, increasing your chances of getting an interview.
That means you’re one step closer to applying for — and hopefully starting — your dream job.