Writing a resume is never a pleasure: you have to pay attention to everything from the layout, the font, to the number of sections, what to include, how to arrange the text – and then you haven’t even applied for the job yet. Who wants that?
But what if we tell you that there is software created just for this purpose: online resume builders. Even to this day many people think that resume builders are not needed.
If you do still think about it this way, read our FAQ and you will find out more about this useful software, how to set up your account and your resume, what features you can get and what kind of support and prices you can expect.
What is a resume builder?
A resume builder is software developed for job seekers to create their resumes and (cover) letters in a professional manner. A resume builder can be in downloadable format or completely cloud-based, and, depending on the chosen version, they can be free of charge or payable.
Why should I use a resume builder and not just a word processor for my resume?
Let us ask you a question: do you want to spend several hours from your precious time trying to figure out how to properly arrange your document? Of course not! A word processor like MS Word or LibreOffice basically puts a sheet of blank paper in front of you and leaves you to do the job for yourself. Which, as a job seeker having no idea how to start building a resume, can be extremely annoying – unless you have a sample resume to copy from. Resume builders automatically create resumes for you, you just have to determine the overall look of the document. With a word processor resume building can take up hours; with a resume builder it only takes minutes.
How does this software help me make my resume?
After installation/registration you just have to select a template, arrange the sections of your document, fill out the text boxes and your resume/cover letter is ready. Quite often you have to do less than that thanks to pre-written phrases you can insert into your document. The software also helps you out by giving you tips and advice with different aspects of creating your resume. These recommendations could make the difference between landing the job you aim for, and having your resume land on the pile of resumes to be archived.
Should I choose an online resume builder or downloadable resume software?
We wrote a complete blog article regarding this matter, but let us tell you in advance: it totally depends on you. Resume software usually contains every feature you need for a fixed price, but it can become outdated very quickly. While an online resume builder often limits the use of its features – especially the free versions – you have to pay on a recurring basis, but your software will always be up-to-date and can be reached from anywhere.
Are there resume builder apps for smartphones, tablets?
Only if the resume builder is downloadable, because none of the online resume builders we have tested had mobile applications. Thankfully, most online resume builders adapt to mobile screens pretty well in mobile browsers, allowing you to work on your documents anywhere. However, some sites don’t adapt their respective document editors to smartphone screens, therefore we recommend you to use tablets to create your resumes.
Can a resume builder be used to apply for any kind of job?
Although many resume builders have job search engines with which you can find various jobs in various fields, th software is not capable of substituting the application process. Search engines only enlist the available jobs and if you click on them they will direct you to another site, possibly that of the recruiter.
However, if you prefer direct contact, you can usually send your resumes/cover letters via email, or, in some cases, you can share a link to a page where your resume is hosted in online format.
Will employers notice if I used a resume builder?
A small, but rather annoying disadvantage of resume builders compared to word processors is the branding they place onto your documents, thus the employers could easily notice – and hopefully don’t give a damn – that you created your resume/cover letter with a resume builder. However, branding can be removed if you purchase a payable software/subscription.
Remember: resume builders help you stand out from the rest, but what you put into your resume is completely up to you.
Best Resume Builders of 2020
Do I need to download any software?
If you purchased software that requires installation, then yes. But if you want to use an online resume builder, then no software installation is needed, as you can reach your account from a simple web browser.
Do I need to setup an account to build my resume?
Without an account you won’t be able to use your online resume builder. However, creating an account is always free of charge.
Once I created an account I can use it on any platform that has a web browser, can’t I?
Exactly. You have to create an account once and then you will be able to use the online resume builder anytime, from anywhere, provided that you have a web browser. Your access is only terminated if you want to.
Do I need to be tech savvy to work with resume builder software?
No, anybody can use the software without advanced IT knowledge as this software has very simple, self-explanatory, user-friendly interfaces. No matter which resume builder you choose, you can learn its use within a day, if not within hours or even minutes. But if you need any help you can use the hints and tips the software is giving you, or you can always contact the customer support of the resume builder company.
How long does it take to create my resume?
It depends on one thing: whether you create your resume from scratch or use an existing document. In the latter case creating a new resume takes only a few minutes as you just have to update the content, choose the layout and you are ready. When you create something from scratch you still have to enter the content in the resume – unless the software provides pre-written phrases and/or sample resumes – but it is guaranteed that you will be ready with your document within 15 minutes.
Can I use my existing resume with the online resume builder?
Yes, you can – but it always depends on the resume builder you have subscribed to. Usually you are allowed to upload an existing document in PDF, but sometimes MS Word, LibreOffice, Notepad documents can also be uploaded to your account.
And what about LinkedIn?
Again, it depends on the software, but if it’s allowed then you can upload your LinkedIn data to the resume builder and turn them into a real resume.
I want to move from my downloaded resume software to a cloud-based one. Can I do that?
Yes, you can. However, if you mean whether you can import everything from one software to another, we have to say, it is not possible. Albeit if you can download your documents you created with the offline resume builder in PDF and the online software allows you to upload documents, then at least your resumes can be saved to your new resume builder.
What if my computer crashes?
Online resume builders usually save everything you do on their own servers with the auto-save feature. Therefore if your computer goes down for any reason, you can always pick up your work where you have left it off. However, certain resume builders only save your data if you click on the Save button every single time.
Our advice: save, save and save. And if you have a copy on your computer, that won’t hurt either.
What can I change on my resume to make it unique?
Resume builders allow you to change the following: the layout of the document including the template, the font (sometimes its color as well), and the order of the sections.
Can I include pictures, other attachments in my resume?
Usually you cannot directly attach pictures and other files to your documents – with the exception of certain resume builders like VisualCV for example. However, you can put in links or at least URLs in your document, therefore your future employer can click on it and be directed to the page where you store the files you wanted to attach to your documents.
Can I attach a photo of myself to the resume?
It depends on the resume builder, but if a photo CV template is included in the list of templates, then you can upload your photo and attach it to your resume. However, keep in mind that photo templates are usually part of the premium pricing plans only.
How many and what kind of templates can I choose from?
Downloadable software can contain hundreds of templates, but even an online resume builder contains at least 10. These templates can vary from the super simple ones, to those that look like artistic masterpieces. In most cases, online resume builders prefer templates without photos, but do not worry; like we said before, there are photo CV templates as well.
However, the number of available templates always depends on your subscription: as a free user you are limited to use 1–5 templates – in very rare cases you can use all of them, but at a rather nasty price (see below) – but subscribed users can use all of them.
Can I use sample documents as bases for my own?
Resume builders usually display their sample documents on their site and very often you can download them to your computer. Using them as bases for your own document, however, is a bit different: some software can import the samples directly from their servers, so you can edit them in any way you wish, but most of the time you can only use the samples as inspiration and nothing else.
How many and what kind of sections can I include in the resume?
Again, it depends on the resume builder company. Usually there are two sections, your contact info and the summary, which are fixed on the top of your document, and can only be added once. Other sections – like education, work experience, skills etc – can be added as many times as you want, or they are able to contain countless subsections. Just make sure you don’t exceed the average 2-page length of a resume…
I have no idea what to write in a section. What can I do?
You can always use sample documents and its relevant texts to your own resume – after a bit of rephrasing, of course. Better yet is if the software offers you pre-written phrases that you only have to complete after you have inserted them into the textbox. Or, if you still prefer to use your own words, you can check out the tips the software is giving to you.
What can I change on the plain text of the sections?
You can bold, underline or italicize certain parts of the text, and you can also create bullet lists – if the section does not arrange your text in bullet lists already – or create links to other sources. If the software allows you to change the font face and color, you can usually do that, but only as a general setup, meaning that the change will affect the entire document.
Are there any special features?
The most common special feature of some online resume builders is the built-in spell-checker. Do not confuse them with the spell-checker used by most of the resume builders, which is the web browser’s own. This is a separate add-on which helps you spot every single error that could destroy your chances to be hired, or be interviewed for that matter.
Quite rarely you can evaluate your own resume with the eye of a hiring manager: this feature quickly runs through your document and either it gives a score thereon or it lists the problems and strengths of its subject.
Some software is capable of displaying the number of visitors who have seen your resume in nice looking charts. And sometimes you can actually track the status of your resume – from the moment of its creation till you get hired.
Can I create cover letters with the software?
Yes, you can. The vast majority of online resume builders are capable of creating cover letters; in fact, some of them don’t even require you to create cover letters from scratch, as they are pre-written for you. You just need to choose the template of the letter, set the fonts, margins and spacing, insert the relevant phrases to the pre-written text and your letter is complete.
Can I pair a cover letter with a certain resume?
Certainly. In fact, most software considers your resume as part of a project. Therefore, you just have to create the CV first, after which you can start drafting your cover letter with the same template, fonts and other settings.
When I’m finished with a document, what can I do with that?
You have five options: you can store the resume on your account, download it in various formats, send it right to the employer via sharing or email, print it, or host it in online format on the resume builder’s own server.
How can I download my documents?
Most of the resume builder services only allow you to download your documents in PDF, but sometimes you can save your work to your hard drive in DOC, DOCX, HTML or TXT formats. However, keep in mind that unfortunately, this feature – and printing, emailing or sharing for that matter – is almost always blocked in the free versions of this software.
How can I send my resume to future employers?
If you want to send your resume directly from the software you can email it; in this case your resume is attached to the email. The other option is to share your resume on social media like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. The last option is to create an online version of your resume and send that link to your future employer.
Hosting? What is that?
Basically this is your resume in online format which you can set public so everybody can find you, or private in which case only those in possession of the link directing to your resume can see the page. This is a very environmental-friendly solution and should be default, but knowing that employers still prefer to print resumes, we recommend you to include your resume as an attachment in your application if you decide to share the link of your online resume.
How many documents can I create/print/download/send?
If you are a paid subscriber you can upload/create as many documents as you want, as long as your subscription is not terminated. Many online resume builders allow free subscribers to create unlimited documents, but quite often the number of documents is limited.
Like we said before, free users are often not allowed to print/download/send/share their documents, so before you subscribe to any online resume builder always try it out to see which features are available in the free version.
Are resume builders free of charge?
No, they aren’t. But before you start rolling your eyes in frustration, let us cheer you up with this: free versions of this software do exist. And all you need is a quick registration.
Are free versions of resume builders limited in some way?
They always are. There are two ways of limiting free users: the first is to limit the number of documents you can create with the software. The other method does not limit you with regards to the number of documents you can create, but unfortunately you will not be allowed to print/download/share/send your resumes or cover letters without a paid subscription.
And what if I need my resume builder for just one day?
First of all, online resume builders are long-term investments, because who knows when you will need their services again. But if you insist on using such software once, we recommend you to choose one that only limits the number of documents you can create.
What about free trials?
We’re afraid you have to forget them. You either have to settle for the limited free version, purchase the premium software or, in some cases, a trial thereof.
Ok, I’ll subscribe. What will I get for my money?
If you become a paid subscriber of a resume builder company, you can: create unlimited documents, print/download/share/send/host them without limitations, get access to extra customer support options, track the current state of your resume/cover letter and many more.
How long should I subscribe to a resume builder?
The longer the subscription is, the cheaper your software becomes. Yes, you are obliged to pay the amount of your 3-month/6-month/annual fee in one lump sum at the end of each payment term, but if you compare the price divided into monthly portions to the price of the monthly subscription fee, you can see that you will save a lot.
Is there any way to get my resume builder cheaper?
There are plenty of ways to get your software cheaper. The first option is to get the free version; however, in that case, you have to face with (often unjustifiable) limitations.
The second option, if you still want to use the software for free, is to purchase the software, then cancel your subscription immediately and get a full refund. However, it only works with companies that offer a money back guarantee and/or paid trials.
The most logical option is to subscribe for a longer term instead of paying month-by-month.
Are there discounts for first-time jobseekers and students?
Resume builders will treat you like a regular customer; therefore you have to forget about student and first-time job seeker discounts. However, some companies offer students scholarships, which they can use to pay at least part of their tuition fees. These scholarships usually require students to write the resumes of fictional/non-fictional people in a professional manner – just like they have to do once they graduate.
Can I cancel my account once I don’t need the resume builder?
Any time you want. If you do that within the period the money back guarantee lasts, you get a full refund of your money. If you cancel your subscription in a regular way, the company stops charging you starting from the end of the current payment term.
Attention: if the company has a payable trial period and you don’t want to use the software after the expiration of said trial, cancel your subscription as soon as possible. Failure to do so results in the renewal of your subscription on a monthly basis and you will be continuously charged until you properly cancel your account!
I checked the website of my preferred online resume builder but I can’t find the pricing plans anywhere. Why is that?
Oh, boy, the tricky pricing policy. Sorry that you had to learn that this way…
This is an issue that deserves a separate article, but let’s just say this is something we strongly disagree with. In fact, we don’t even understand why this is such a good thing! We think that a client should know how much he/she has to pay for the premium services and what he/she gets for that price. And hiding pricing plans is anything but client-friendly.
What kind of support should I expect from a resume builder?
There are various ways a resume builder can help you. You can get help in the regular way by contacting a staff member of the company via email, live chat, telephone and social media. You can also visit the knowledge base or FAQ of the company with the most common questions for troubleshooting. Many companies maintain blogs with articles on how to make yourself more successful during the application process – like how to write a resume what to do before/during/after an interview etc. They typically also provide resume and cover letter samples, have a job search engine; and the list could go on forever.
What is the average speed of a reply?
If you contact the resume builder via non-immediate methods – like email or contact module – your reply is expected to arrive within 1 business day. If you use telephone/live chat assistance, you get immediate answers, but only when these two contact methods are available.
So that means the regular customer support is not 24/7?
Unfortunately not. However, some companies still maintain their customer support service on weekends, but usually they are open for a limited time.
Can I get in touch with the customer support via social media?
It really depends on the resume builder you are using. Most of the time social media is only used to display basic information about the website, and as a billboard of the latest news and updates. In most cases the social media pages of resume builders are very rarely updated, so we recommend you to use regular contact methods or knowledge bases, FAQs instead.
Will an online resume builder help me write my resume?
Yes, and it does so in various ways. The first is pretty obvious: when you start drafting your resume you can get hints and tips about what to write in a given section, but many times the software goes even further: it actually offers you plenty of pre-written phrases which you can insert into your resume and just complete with the necessary additional data.
Another option is the resume review: it either works automatically or you can purchase the services of a third party that will thoroughly examine your document and write a short critique containing all the pros and cons of your resume.
The third option is simply asking the company – or another one – to write the resume in your place.
I can actually ask someone else to write my resume? Isn’t that great?
Hold on, friend! The resume reviewing and resume writing services – especially the latter one – are not part of your subscription: they are extra support options, therefore they cost you extra money. And they are not cost-friendly at all: a simple cover letter will cost you up to $40–$50, while building a complete resume can cost up to $250–$300!
Although we do not question the competence of the resume writers – in fact, we appreciate their hard work – we suggest you to use these kinds of services only in case of emergencies. Until then read sample resumes, ask for advice from friends, acquaintances, and follow the hints and tips of your resume builder – if it has them.
Will a resume builder help me find a job?
It can help you find a job – but in a different way than you think. Let us explain:
Resume builders are perfect solutions to create professional looking resumes which increase your possibilities to stand out from the ocean of job seekers with a unique looking CV. Moreover, not only can this software send your resumes directly to the email address of the employer or provide them a link to your online resume; you can also look for jobs via the built-in job search engine powered by big names such as ZipRecruiter or even Indeed.com.
However, if you are looking for a job using the search engine and you happen to find the ideal one, you cannot directly apply for that job in this way; you are always directed to the website where the job was originally advertised and you have to continue the application process there.
Can a resume builder prepare me for an interview?
Actually it can. Plenty of online resume builders have subpages dedicated just for interviews. Here you can read articles written by experts on what to do and what not to do before/during/after an interview. Furthermore, you can watch videos explaining different situations so you can see an example of what you read. And, as part of some premium subscriptions, you can get a coach who will train you in order to ace your greatest challenge of your application.
Are the resume/cover letter samples real?
Yes, the resume and cover letter samples were written by real applicants who made their documents public. It is very likely that if your resume is outstanding, you’ll get the preferred job super-fast, you will be contacted by the resume builder asking you to agree upon the publication of your resume/cover letter as sample. However, this is not mandatory, so if you want to keep things private, you can do that.
Can I expect customer support from a non-U.S. resume builder too?
Obviously you can, but it might be a bit slower than expected. If you contact the website using a written method, you can get an answer to your question/complaint within 1 business day. Using oral contact methods, however, you have to take into consideration the time lag.