A strong resume is a requirement for job searching in any industry, at any level of experience. But the thought of writing a resume on your own leaves many job seekers overwhelmed and confused -- what information do you include? How much detail is too much? How far back do I list my work experience? Do they need to know that I waited tables in college?
This list of the best resume-building services includes websites and apps that offer templates, suggestions, and sometimes even on-hand professionals to help you build a resume that will put your best foot forward to potential employers. Some of these services are free, some operate on an honor system, and some require a one-time payment or a subscription.
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Best free resume builder
More than 5.8 million resumes have been created on Resume.com, the website claims. The completely free platform offers 24 resume templates. Users have the option to upload and edit an existing resume, create a new one, or edit one of the samples offered on the site. It's intuitive and easy-to-use and creates a professional-looking final product.
When starting from scratch, you can either go through question prompts to build one (i.e. "Are you in school?") or go section by section, entering your education, employment history, hobbies and interests, professional skills, languages, and references. You can also choose to forgo any of these sections or add custom ones depending on what you need. As you update and save each section, you can see how it will appear on the page on your resume preview to the right. You can also change the template, font style or size, or spacing any time and see it update in real-time in the preview.
Once you're done, download your new resume in PDF, DocX, RTF, or TXT format, create a custom URL, or print it out. You also have the option to upload it to Indeed, a job search site from Resume.com.
In terms of privacy, Resume.com does collect user information. However, users have some options to manage their data, including placing accounts in "Hibernate" mode, meaning that your data will no longer be accessible or processed, but you have the option to return to the site later. If a user deletes their account, all of their data is deleted. You can also request your data, and the company will send you an email with what it has collected.
Best paid resume builder
The website Resume Genius claims you can "create your professional resume in 15 minutes." (I tested it out, and indeed had a solid first draft completed in about 10 minutes.) First, select one of 17 different template options, and then move through a series of questions (i.e. "Do you have work experience?" and "What's your highest level of education?"), which lead you to then fill out boxes of additional information. It's easy to move through, though you do have to do it in order, and fill in all information before continuing.
You can download the resume you create for $1.95 (which starts a 14-day trial), or $7.95 (which kicks off a monthly subscription plan). However, if you fail to cancel your trial before the 14 days are up, it will auto-renew to $39.95 per month. On Google at the time of this writing, the site has 4.5 out of 5 stars and more than 2,400 reviews, and most of the negative reviews are about the auto-renew policy.
Easiest to use
The PathSource Resume app (available for iOS) claims to help you create a resume in under 10 minutes (I did have a first draft ready in under that time) and features an easy-to-navigate user interface. First, you select one of 20 different resume templates, with multiple color options for each one. Then, the app walks you through 15 steps, making it very easy to compile a resume by answering questions such as "Are you employed? Where do you work now? What is/was your job title?" When asked to describe what you did at your last job, for example, a screen pops up with tips and examples you can add in or edit.
You can then preview your resume, and add or delete additional sections, such as more employment, education, certifications and honors, skills and abilities, languages, and expected compensation. When finished, PathSource analyzes your resume to determine expected salary ranges for your position, projected job growth, education requirements and recommended education programs in your area.
The app has 4.9 out of 5 stars and more than 27,000 ratings in the Apple App Store. It is free to download and free to email your resume or save it on your device. You can also upgrade to a Pro membership for $7.99 for 30 days to access more themes, customizable fonts, editable section headings, and expert resume evaluation.
Most free templates
Resume Builder App
Intelligent CV's Resume Builder App Free CV maker (available for Android) offers 42 different resume templates, as well as the ability to change font colors. Each resume section appears on a list, and users can move through each in whichever order they choose, save, and go on to another, with the option to add, delete, or rearrange sections such as education, experience, and skills.
You can download your creation for free as a PDF, which you can then save on your device or send via email or text.
Resume Builder App has one of the stronger privacy policies of the bunch: The app does not collect personally identifiable information, though third-party services (including Google Play services and analytics firms) may collect information. The app is ad-supported, and ads for other resume creators do pop up, which can get confusing.
The app has 4.7 out of 5 stars and more than 36,000 Google Play Store ratings. It is free to download.
Best website experience
VisualCV has an easy-to-use web interface that allows you to move between three screens: A basic editor to input information in a list form, a visual editor to edit directly on the resume, and a preview to see changes made on either of the other two in real-time. Revision history is also available.
The free, basic edition allows you to create, edit, and download one resume as a PDF, choosing from three templates. The Pro Version costs $12/month with a three-month minimum and includes 22 templates, analytics to track performance, unlimited resume creation/sharing/exporting, custom domain creation, and Google Docs integration.
The site includes a job search feature, allowing users to find and apply to jobs in their area directly through it. In terms of privacy, VisualCV's policy said that it does not sell, trade, rent, or license personal information to third parties.
Resume Star 2: Pro CV Designer
Resume Star 2 isn't the most visually stunning app for iOS, but it gets the job done: Tap each different section of a resume, fill in your information, and it will appear in a traditional template (only one option is given). The app offers some example templates you can start with and edit if you want (cashier, dental hygienist, receptionist, waitress, mechanic, real estate agent, janitor, retail, nurse, and senior manager).
You can add or delete any sections you like. And you don't have to hit save every time you add in information, making it easy to toggle quickly between the different sections as you fill out your information. At the end, you have a strong, basic resume ready to go.
The app allows users to pay on an honor system: The app connects to iCloud, and you can export your resume as a PDF to anywhere, and if you are happy with the service, it suggests a standard purchase price of $5.99, or a bonus price of $14.99. It also includes a job search feature. The site does not collect personally identifiable information without user consent, which seems to make it one of the more secure options available.
Resume Star 2 has a 4.7 out of five rating, and more than 1,250 ratings in the App Store (it should be noted that the first version, which is the same except for the iCloud connection, had a 4.9 star rating and more than 9,000 reviews).
CV Engineer is an easy-to-use app that creates a professional-looking resume. With eight templates to choose from, you can tap to enter information into all of the usual sections -- career, education, skills, etc. Where this app stands out is that when you tap on each section, you can swipe left to get advice on what type of information to add, as well as examples of how the section should look. You can add custom sections, or delete sections as well.
CV Engineer operates on an honor system -- you can send or download your completed resume for free, but the suggested purchase price is $2.49, and the suggested bonus purchase price (if you are really happy with the outcome) is $5.99. The app is free to download, and ad-free as well.