The first thing an employer sees when they evaluate your candidacy for a job is your resume. It tells them what you're all about, where you've been, and what you're capable of bringing to the table. It's an extremely important sheet of paper (or these days, digital document).
Realizing that, I've found some useful tools on the Web that will not only give you ideas on writing your resume, but they'll also help you improve it. If you're looking for a job, you'll definitely want to try out at least some of these sites.
Improve that resume
CareerBuilder: CareerBuilder might specialize in job searching, but the site is also a great place to get some help with your resume.
On CareerBuilder's Resume page, you'll find several useful tools for improving your resume. One option is to get paired up with a CareerBuilder resume expert who will help you write your resume. If you choose that option, you can work with the expert to create a resume that's directly tailored to your skill sets. You'll receive a first draft of the resume within four days. Prices for that service range from a $175 one-time fee for recent grads to $279 for director or "c-level" executives.
If you've already got your resume started, you might want to try out CareerBuilder's free resume review. Simply upload your resume to the site and an expert will evaluate your resume. It's a neat service that should come in handy as you start looking for that new job.
HowToWriteAResume: HowToWriteAResume provides several features that aim at making your resume as strong as it can be. But where the site really shines is in its resume builder.
When you start creating your resume on the site, you'll have the option of inputting everything from your name to your achievements throughout your career. The service takes you through six pages that require you to input information. Once complete, you can choose between several resume formats. Unfortunately, the site's free account offers you only one format option. If you want something a little nicer, you'll need to pay a one-time fee of $10.99. I found that the premium resumes are nicer, but whether or not they're worth the price is up for debate.
If you're already happy with your resume, you can use HowToWriteAResume to get expert advice on what to include in the document, as well as some basic tips. It's an all-around useful site. I'm just not convinced that the premium resumes are worth the $10.99 fee.
Monster: Although Monster is best known for providing career-searching services, the site's resume guide is one of the best on the Web.
On Monster's resume page, you'll find several neat tools, ranging from resume advice to samples. When you click on the samples page, you'll find many well-done resumes. Find an example of the kind of job you're looking for and compare the sample resume for that position to your own. If it's close, you're good to go. If not, you might want to take a few pointers from Monster's example and adjust yours accordingly.
As nice as that feature is, Monster's writing service is probably its most useful offering. If you're uncomfortable writing your own resume or you just can't make it work, Monster provides you with access to resume experts who will write it for you. Depending on your job level and what you're looking for, prices can range from as little as $140 to $400. It might sound expensive, but it could be worth it if you want a well-done resume for prospective employers to see.
Overall, I was impressed by Monster's resume offering. It's worth checking out.
Razume: Razume is one of my favorite services in this roundup, combing a resume builder with outstanding critiques from the community.
When you first get to Razume, you'll need to either upload a resume or build one yourself. I recommend building the resume. When you do so, you'll have the basic structure of a resume laid out for you. Simply input the required information and you're all set. It's that simple.
Once you have a resume ready to go, you can submit it to the Razume community. Once there, the community will critique your resume, giving you some tips on how to improve it. Even browsing through users' many resumes is fun. Many are test cases on what you should and should not do with your resume.
The only issue I had with Razume is that the community is quite small. It was a minor issue that detracted somewhat from the service.
Resume Social: Resume Social is another service that allows you to give and receive feedback on resumes. And it does so in a well-designed site.
After you sign up for Resume Social, you have the option of choosing to either upload your resume or give feedback on others' resumes. If you choose the former, you can upload the document and share it with the community. But first, you'll need to choose the industry you're vying for a job in. From there, the community can critique your resume.
If you want to give feedback, doing so is quite easy. Simply choose the resume you want to look at and comment on it. It's similar to a blog. Although the process was simple, unfortunately, the community is small. I found that many of the resumes didn't have any comments on them. This kind of user-based feedback needs a vibrant community to be effective. And like Razume, the lack of a large, active user base took away from the service.
VisualCV: If you're looking for a well-designed, feature-rich site, VisualCV is the place to go.
As soon as you sign up for VisualCV, you'll have the option of linking your account to your LinkedIn profile. Upon doing so, all your past work history, personal information, and any other relevant data is added to your VisualCV profile. If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, you can input all that information yourself.
Unlike so many other services, VisualCV goes one step further than simply helping you create a standard text resume. Instead, the site will allow you to add YouTube videos to your resume. You can also upload your picture to add some flavor. Granted, these won't translate to hard copies, but most people e-mail resumes anyway, so if you want to change things up and provide potential employers with more than just a text document with personal information on it, VisualCV is the place to do it.
VisualCV is my favorite service in this roundup. If you're looking for a resume app, this should be the first one to try out.
My top three
1. VisualCV: With such a nice design and some cool features, VisualCV is the service to beat.
2. Razume: Razume features the best resume-building tool of any service in this roundup.
3. CareerBuilder: It's a job-search site by trade, but it's still a useful resume tool.