Prepare for the future
Before you begin writing your resume, you'll have to (duh) decide what kind of job or career you really want. Enter Resume Maker's Career Planner. This impressive wizard records your likes and dislikes, then it produces a list of potential careers you might find appealing, along with descriptions that cover the jobs' working conditions, available salaries, necessary education, and places to go for internships and training. Unfortunately, most of Resume Maker's statistics date back to 1994. (Individual Software intends to update these stats in time for the next release, due out by next year.)
Simplifying a difficult task
Once you're ready to prep your resume, this app's friendly, uncluttered interface gets you started pronto. The Guided Resumes wizard leads you through the entire process, from choosing sample resumes aimed at a variety of professions (accountant, airline manager, and MIS analyst, to name a few) to finding eye-catching words and phrases. More-experienced job seekers can also opt to enter information manually. Better still, if you've used Resume Maker before, you can simply drop previously stored data into your new resume--a time-saver you won't find in WinWay Resume Deluxe. To polish your resume, the aptly named One Page Less menu item swiftly shrinks a too-long resume by tweaking margins and line spacing.
Once you finish your resume, Resume Maker lets you save it to either HTML or RTF formats so that it's easy to post to the Web or save to your word processor. Resume Maker also lets you export documents directly to an e-mail application.
Cover letters are covered
As any human resources expert will tell you, an effective cover letter is just as important as an impressive resume. To that end, Resume Maker's Cover Letter wizard guides you neatly through the process of composing effective letters to answer advertisements, follow up on interviews, or even resign. If you must submit salary requirements, consult the Salary Report for approximate, profession-specific salaries (as they stood in mid-2001).
Put your foot in the door, not in your mouth
If you manage to land an interview, Resume Builder lets you practice first. Virtual Interview videos demonstrate sample interview questions and scenarios designed to help you sharpen your skills. Surprisingly, though, the Virtual Interview section isn't as comprehensive as the rest of the package. It offers a scant 25 video-based questions; you watch an actor give a sample answer and listen to an audio explanation of why he responded that way. The actors are placed against a rather distracting virtual environment (the would-be employee is quite dwarfed by the desk), and while there is a lot more advice offered in a text section, you'll get better instruction from WinWay's more extensive video interviews.
Awkward Web search
These days, the smart job hunter knows to look for jobs online. Hence, Resume Maker, like WinWay Resume Deluxe, includes an online search feature that combs several employment sites, including CareerJournal, Google, and HotJobs, for ads that match your job title and state. Sadly, we found the process confusing and redundant: even though you fill in your job preferences before you search, you must still visit each job-hunt site individually to reenter the info.
If you get into a software-related jam, don't worry. Individual Software provides more customer support than many software companies do: A toll-free phone number offers support weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (PT). You can also find online help, including updates and comprehensive FAQs, and e-mail support.
A job well done
While no software can actually write your resume for you, Resume Maker ensures that your final product is professional, descriptive, and effective. Although Resume Maker needs better interview advice, its powerful resume-building and job-hunting tools go a long way toward getting you in the front door.