- Editor with tips, sample phrases, spell-checker
- Adding activities to documents
- Thorough job search engine
- Clear pricing
- Free version with few limitations
- Decent customer support
- Slow saving and updating
- No mobile version
- Flash Player based interface
When you learn that U.S.-based Pongo was founded back in 2004, you might be wondering: how did it manage to stay afloat for so long? Well, the answer is simple: by being true to itself and providing quality service to its many clients. With a clear pricing strategy, which includes a quite useful free version and the superb paid plans, you will be able to create professional looking resumes or different letters within minutes. The software helps you during the drafting process with tips and sample phrases, a built-in spell-checker, over 10 templates and even more sections, other customization tools and many download options. Furthermore, you can also search for jobs with the help of Indeed, and you can always turn to the free customer support for live assistance, interview tips and other useful articles, or the paid professional writing services.
Pongo’s dashboard is very simple, but not in a good way: you can only see the number of jobs available in the job search engine, the number of resumes and letters you have created and the interview tips. Speaking of the job search engine, powered by Indeed, it is quite simple: you just need to select the country, type in the job title/keywords and the city, determine the distance from your home and after a quick processing you can already get a list of jobs based on your criteria. Aside from these you can also visit the Career Corner, which can be accessed without registration too.
When you enter the respective subpages of your resumes and letters, you will see a plain list of your documents. In this part you can only see an additional button next to your documents with which you can either reveal the delete button or, and this is more interesting, the Add an Activity button. With the help of this feature you can record to whom you have sent your documents, and when and how did you do that. Once an activity is created, you can add tasks, for instance the date of your interview, when you need to respond etc.
To access other features such as editing, duplicating, saving, previewing your resumes or letters, you have to click on a document directing you to the document editor which, unfortunately, contains unnecessary ads for the paid plans and the extra services. Furthermore, features like printing, emailing, faxing, downloading in PDF, MS Word, text format and hosting unlimited CVs and letters are only available for the paid subscribers. However, the free software allowed us to create more than 10 resumes, so thankfully the free version is perfectly capable of handling multiple documents at the same time.
In Pongo you can only create documents from scratch and, unfortunately, as the software uses Flash Player, you are unable to access your account from a mobile device.
The setup process, however, is straightforward. When you create a resume or a letter from scratch, you see a very plain document with only a few sections. However, you can add 33 sections in total, although only once, by going to Headings to arrange the new sections in any way you want.
Editing of your sections is quite easy, especially that you have a nice ResumeHelp speech bubble on the left with tips and sample phrases which you have to type-in manually. Texts can be bolded, underlined and italicized, but you can also make bullet lists and use Pongo’s own spell-checker. There’s one thing that could make editing tedious: saving and updating your document is rather slow.
Pongo is very generous with its templates, because you can use the 12 available ones for both your resumes and your letters regardless of the type of subscription you have. Furthermore, you can choose from 7 font faces, 4 font sizes and you can even set the scale of the margins of your template. And in the case of letters, you can choose from 15 pre-written documents which only need to be filled out with the necessary information to be ready to go.
The biggest issue is that none of the available templates can contain a photo of yourself. The second problem is that free users cannot match the template of their letters with the templates of the resumes; this process is automated for paid subscribers only. And last, but not least, font colors: sadly they cannot be changed.
Unlike many of its competitors, Pongo doesn’t shy away from publicizing its pricing plans; and frankly, it doesn’t have to as all 3 plans are crystal clear and very diverse.
Despite its limitations, even the free pricing plan contains the most useful features like all templates, the tips and phrases bubble, pre-written letters, the job search engine and customer support. To download, print, email and fax unlimited resumes and letters, and host them on the web, however, you have to choose the monthly subscription for $14.95 per month. But if you choose the annual subscription for $59.95, you not only save 60% – as your fee reduces to $4.99 per month -, but you also get access to professional resume critiques, and receive exclusive job seeker newsletters. Furthermore, both paid plans come with a 30-day risk free trial, so if you are not satisfied, you get a full refund after cancellation.
You can also purchase professional resume/letter writing services with which documents are prepared within 48–72 hours. However, as they are extra services, a letter writing support is $45 per occasion, while the resume writing services could cost up to $245.
Pongo has a very good customer service which can be divided into two parts: the first part is the regular support which consists of the telephone and email assistance – although the latter is only available via the contact module. If you choose this method your inquiry is usually answered within 1 business day, but keep in mind that these services are available only on weekdays and during the regular work hours.
The other support options are quite various: you can get a step-by-step guide of an interview process with articles and videos, or you can visit Pongo’s blog full of additional articles covering different topics like advice for job seeking, how to behave at a workplace and how to reach the ideal work/life balance. And you can also find useful tips about how to write a professional resume and/or letter written by Pongo’s career experts.
As a company providing online services it is a miracle that Pongo has been on the market for over 10 years. But after our thorough research and testing we can conclude that it deserves to be with us for many reasons. Even though it has some deficiencies – the slow saving of documents, the lack of an import feature, the use of Adobe Flash Player, its inaccessibility from mobile devices, and the inability of the rather limited free version to download, print or host documents – they are insignificant compared to the overall usefulness of the software.
Because whether you are using the free or the paid version, you can create virtually endless resumes and letters and customize them any way you want. The ability to add activities to your documents to keep track of your application process is much welcomed. Professional help from a fast and well-prepared customer support is always within good reach to provide assistance.