A resume is a prospective employer’s first impression of you — and it could be their only one if they don’t like what they see. With so many changes in how employers gather information about candidates, it’s even more crucial to present a polished, professional overview of your credentials and skills, so you can turn that inquiry into an interview and from there, hopefully a job. Increasingly, resume builders are tools that job seekers are turning to to get that leg up, especially layout, keywords and a design that stands out. We put together this guide to the best resume builders to help you choose the one that’s right for you. For more extensive help, consider learning about resume writing services.
Our research team tried out 21 resume builders to figure out which were the easiest to use and produced the highest quality resumes. We compared their templates, user interfaces, and any additional tools they provided to help with resume building and job searching. In the end, we were left with four finalists, all of which can help you build a custom, eye-catching resume from scratch at little or no cost.
Some of our favorites were Resumonk, MyPerfectResume, and SlashCV. Depending on the kind of resume you’re building and how much assistance you need, you may be better off with one of our other finalists. Check out our reviews below to learn more about each resume builder and who it’s best for.
The 5 Best Resume Builders
Other Resume Builders We Considered
We also considered these 17 resume builders, but they didn’t make our final cut. Some were too bland while others had a cluttered and confusing interface that made for a frustrating experience. But if you’re not happy with any of our top picks, you may find something you like with one of these.
- Career Igniter
- Kukook Resumes
- LiveCareer Resume Builder
- Qwilr Resume Builder
- Resume Genius
- Standard Resume
- Super Resume
Choosing the Right Type of Resume Building Service for You
When creating a resume, you have three choices. You can do it yourself, use a resume builder or hire a professional resume writer to create one for you. The right choice for you depends on your writing skills, time and budget.
You always have the option of building a resume completely on your own. The advantage of this is that it’s free, but it takes a lot more effort on your part. In addition to writing all the content, you also have to be the graphic designer. That’s great if you have these skills, but if you don’t, you’re limited in what you’re able to create. A resume builder or a professional resume writing service can assist with this.
A resume builder tool enables you to enter your information into a template, so you get an original look and layout without having to do any design work yourself. The best resume builder tools also give you advice on how to improve your resume and customize it to suit the job you’re applying for. You’re still responsible for writing the content yourself, but once you have it written, you can plug that information into any other template with just a few clicks. A few of these services are free — and many like to advertise that they are — but most require you to pay at least a few dollars if you want to download you resume once it’s finished.
Professional Resume Writing Services
Professional resume writing services are often expensive, but they take all the work off your hands. A trained writer will gather information about you and your work history and turn it into a dynamic, original resume. It usually takes a few days to create one of these, and the originality of the final product largely depends on the company and the writer you choose. We don’t discuss these services in this guide. If you want to learn more, check out our professional resume writing services review.
How We Chose the Best Resume Builders
When evaluating resume builders, we focused on three main things: ease of use, customization and extra job search tools.
Ease of Use
The whole point of using a resume builder is to simplify the process of creating a resume. A confusing tool that keeps you jumping through hoops doesn’t fit that bill. We made sure that all of our recommendations were simple and easy to use with clear instructions on how to edit, save and download your resume when it’s finished. We also looked at how easy it was to transfer your information between templates and whether you could upload an existing resume or LinkedIn profile so you don’t have to start from scratch.
A good resume builder gives you plenty of opportunities to customize your resume to suit your style. That process begins with a good selection of basic templates. Ideally, you’d also be able to edit the color scheme and layout and add sections as needed. The best resume builders help you customize the content as well. MyPerfectResume, for example, takes you through a questionnaire designed to pick out the best template for your situation and then gives you suggestions of specific phrases you can use to make yourself stand out from other candidates.
Extras are additional services provided by the resume builder to assist you in finding and securing a job. For example, VisualCV offers a personalized web page for your resume and analytics to track how many people are seeing it. These additional services are often part of a monthly subscription, although there are some, like cover letter and professional resume writing, that can be purchased for a one-time fee. These services aren’t for everyone, but they can be useful if you want a little extra assistance with your job hunt.
A Note on Price
There are a number of resume builders that claim to be free, but when you try to download your completed product, you’re asked to upgrade your account in order to do so. Many of these sites sign you up for a subscription when you do this, and if you don’t unsubscribe, you’ll start seeing monthly charges on your credit card bill. Look into what you’re paying for and how often you’ll be charged before you hand over any money. And if you’re not interested in any services beyond resume creation, make sure you unsubscribe as soon as you’ve completed your resume.
Full Reviews of the Best Resume Builders
Best for resume assistance and extra tools
MyPerfectResume walks you through every step of the resume building process from choosing a template to showcasing your skills. It gives you suggestions on how to increase your appeal to employers, so it’s a great choice if you’re new to resumes or need help with self-promotion. The company also offers professional resume writing and a suite of other career resources that could make it your one-stop shop for job hunting.
Where It Excels
MyPerfectResume takes you through a short quiz when you first begin to determine whether you have a unique situation, such as gaps in your work history or a career change, that could make your resume more difficult to write. It chooses the best layout for you based on this information, and suggests industry-specific phrases that you can add and modify as you see fit. You can edit the sections in any order by clicking on the one you want and you can return to them at any time.
In addition to its resume builder tool, MyPerfectResume also provides assistance with cover letters and resume customization. Its Auto Cover Letter tool analyzes a given job posting and builds a custom cover letter with just a few clicks. You can also create your own from scratch. The Resume Customizer tool works similarly to the Auto Cover Letter. It scans a job posting for keywords and give you advice on how to tailor your application to suit that position. And if you’re still not confident in your resume after all that, you can pay to have it professionally written or reviewed for a one-time fee.
MyPerfectResume also doubles as a job site and once you’ve completed your profile, you’ll begin to see new jobs that match your skills appearing in your dashboard. Clicking on one will bring up the job details and information about how well you fit what the company is looking for. If it’s something you’re interested in, click on the link and you’ll be redirected to the application page. Your dashboard also contains job search advice, including advice on how to answer common interview questions based on your resume.
Where It Falls Short
You can create a resume for free on MyPerfectResume, but you have to sign up for a subscription in order to download or print it. Plans start at $2.95 for 14 days’ full access. This could be all you need, but you have to remember to unsubscribe before the two weeks are up or you’ll start getting billed monthly.
MyPerfectResume has 12 templates to choose from, but you can’t alter the layout, fonts or color scheme in any way. It would be nice to have this option, but unless design is a top priority for you, its omission shouldn’t be a concern. The available templates are clean and professional and there are options to suit every style.
- 14-Day Full Access: $2.95, then $24.95
- Monthly Access: $71.40/year
- Professional Resume Review: $19.95
- Cover Letter Writing: $60
- Resume Writing - Early Career: $99
- Resume Writing - Experience Pro: $199
- Resume Writing - Leaders & Specialists: $299
Best for simplicity and ease of use
Of all the resume builders we tried, SlashCV was by far the cleanest and most intuitive. You can get started right away without making an account, and creating an outline is as simple as drag and drop. SlashCV is one of the few resume builder tools that offers CV templates as well, so it’s a good fit if you need one of these. And the best part is, it’s actually free to use. Unfortunately, there’s no way to upload an existing resume and its editing tools are pretty basic.
Where It Excels
SlashCV enables you to build a resume outline in a matter of seconds. There’s a list of pre-built sections in a column on the left for things like Education, Experience and Skills. For CVs, there’s also Awards, Publications and Affiliations, and you can add custom sections as well. Just click the one you want to add it to your resume. Once you’ve created your outline, you can rearrange the layout at any time by dragging and dropping. All editing is done in the same window, so you can bounce back and forth between sections as needed.
You don’t have to create an account on SlashCV, so you can get started building your resume right away. But if you want to save your work, you’ll have to sign up. It’s free to do so and there’s no annoying email confirmations before you can log in. You’ll also need an account if you want anything other than a basic text resume. When you click View PDF, you’ll be presented with several template options. Choosing one will apply that design and take you to a link where you can download your work. You can go back and switch templates at any time. There’s also the option to save your resume to Dropbox if you’d rather have an online copy.
Where It Falls Short
SlashCV doesn’t enable you to upload an existing resume or import data from your LinkedIn page, so you’ll have to begin from scratch. It’s possible this feature will be added eventually, as the current tool is still in beta, but for now, you must either copy and paste your old resume from its current document or type out the information by hand.
While the text editor is intuitive, it’s also very simple, and you’re limited in how you can customize section layouts. You can bold text and add numbered and bulleted lists, but that’s about it. There’s no way to break the text into multiple columns or rearrange the information in existing sections. SlashCV’s templates are also somewhat limiting. Once you’ve selected the one you want, you can’t change the color scheme or make any other alterations.That’s not a huge problem if you just need a basic resume, but for something more eye-catching, go with a tool like ResumUP.
- Resume Builder: Free
Best for visually stunning resumes
ResumUP’s out-of-the-box designs are guaranteed to stand out on any hiring manager’s desk. There aren’t many styles to choose from, but they’re all attention-grabbing. Some also include matching cover and reference letters. Creating and editing text is simple, but unfortunately there’s no easy way to transfer information from one template to another, so take your time in choosing the right layout. All of the company’s templates require signing up for a costly subscription, though you can unsubscribe at any time. Free users are limited to a basic text resume only.
Where It Excels
ResumUP offers several variations on a traditional resume as well as more unique options, like its infographic resume template. It also does online and mobile-friendly resumes for putting on a website. You can import a document from your computer or your LinkedIn page, or else you can fill out the sections manually. That information is automatically added to the template you chose, so all you have to do from there is download it. Most templates come with a fixed number of sections in a specific order, but the Profile Pro plan enables you to add and edit sections for even further customization.
This plan also gives you access to additional resources, like an online copy of your resume stored on the ResumUP website and the company’s Alpha tools. These tools help you set career goals, determine what skills you need, find courses to help you learn them, and make connections with others who can help you toward your goal. You also get unlimited access to all of ResumUP’s templates, so you can create as many different versions of your resume as you want.
Where It Falls Short
You’re limited in what you can do on ResumUP without paying for a subscription, and the cost is much higher than our other finalists. Full access to all templates and site features costs $20 per month, though you can save quite a bit if you’re willing to pay annually. You can still create a basic text resume on the site for free; however, certain sections, including Skills and Achievements, are off limits to free users. A free account is a good way to test out the tool and see if it’s right for you, but for building a basic resume, you’d be better off with SlashCV.
ResumUP also doesn’t make it easy to migrate content from one template to another. You have to re-enter all of your information on the new template form or reupload your resume to the site. Though inconvenient, this shouldn’t be an issue for most, as long as you choose your template carefully before you begin.
- Winning Resume: $15/month or $72/year
- Pro Profile: $20/month or $96/year
- Lifetime Access: $149
Best for online resumes
You can download and print resumes from VisualCV, but it’s best for those who already have a resume online and would like to keep it that way. Its Pro subscription plan includes a personal link on the VisualCV site. You can also use a custom domain if you have a website of your own. Analytics help you track when and how often your resume is viewed, so you can try out different versions and see what kind of a response you get. Unfortunately, none of these services are included in the free plan, so you’ll have to subscribe for access.
Where It Excels
VisualCV can help you get to work quickly, whether you’re editing an existing resume or starting from scratch. You can import your LinkedIn profile or choose a blank template and start writing. VisualCV also provides sample resumes and CVs for a variety of industries, and starting with one of these can give you suggestions on what to include. Editing text is as simple as clicking and typing and all changes are automatically saved. You can alter the layout and template at any time and make edits to the fonts and margins.
The Pro plan gives you access to all templates and a personal domain name where an online copy is stored. You can direct employers here or replace the VisualCV domain name with your own website domain, if you have one. Your online account tracks how many times your resume has been viewed and downloaded. Multiple versions are tracked separately, so you can see which one performs the best. And when you do need a paper copy, you can export it as either a PDF or a Google Doc.
Where It Falls Short
VisualCV’s free plan comes with a number of restrictions that limit its usefulness. There are only three free templates to choose from and all of them are fairly basic. They come with VisualCV branding on the bottom of every page, which undermines the professional appearance most people are looking for. The free plan can be a good introduction to VisualCV’s tool and features, but SlashCV is a better option if you want a clean, professional resume at no cost.
- Pro Plan: $12/month with 3-month minimum
Frequently Asked Questions about Writing Resumes
Creating resumes is a skill unto itself. Part writing, part marketing and part graphic design, it takes time to get it right. A resume builder tool can help you with the design, but that still leaves the content up to you. We put together this guide to some of the most common resume questions to help you figure out how to create a dynamic, original resume that’s sure to impress prospective employers.
What’s the difference between a resume and a CV and which do I need?
A resume and a curriculum vitae (CV) are both summaries of your professional history and accomplishments, but they’re formatted slightly differently and used in different settings. A resume is a short, one-page summary that highlights your education, work history and professional accomplishments. A CV covers all of this as well as awards, professional licenses and published research in a detailed two- to three-page document.
A resume will suffice for most jobs, except certain academic and scientific posts. When applying for a professorship, for example, employers want to make sure candidates are knowledgeable and well-known in their field, so they need details about your previous work, including grants you’ve received and any studies or research you’ve been a part of. Many international positions require CVs as well, so keep this in mind if you’re considering a move overseas. A job posting should specify whether a resume or CV is preferred, so check the listing to make sure you’re sending the right one.
When choosing a resume builder, make sure you pick one that accommodates the type of document you need. All of them should be able to assist you in creating a resume, but some don’t have any CV templates. This doesn’t mean you can’t use them. It’ll just take more work to customize the template so that it contains all the additional sections you need. Or you can always choose a tool like SlashCV that was originally designed with CVs in mind.
How do I write a good resume?
A good resume quickly conveys who you are, what your skills are and why you’d be a good fit for the company you’re applying to. There are many different opinions on how to do this, and the right approach for you will depend on your background and experiences. Below, we’ve listed a few basic guidelines that should help you improve any resume.
Get the employer’s attention.
A recent Ladders study showed that employers spend six seconds on average reading each resume — that’s it. So your first goal is to keep them reading past that. Start with an executive summary that explains why you’d be a good choice for the position. Avoid generic phrases like “Enthusiastic, hard worker looking for an exciting new opportunity.” That statement could apply to hundreds of applicants and it doesn’t say why you, specifically, would be a good fit.
Instead, talk about how the skills you have would translate well to the position you’re applying to. Don’t go too deep into your credentials here. There’s plenty of room for that in the later sections of your resume. Keep it to three or four sentences that contain the most pertinent information an employer should know about you. Think about it like an elevator pitch. You only have a few moments to make an impression, so you want to use them wisely.
List specific achievements.
Your resume will be more impactful if you provide specific details about your professional accomplishments. For example, “Managed a team of 20 salespeople and increased company revenue by 5 percent over six months” says far more about your capabilities than “Effective sales manager who helps promote company growth.” The more detail you give prospective employers, the more they’ll remember you. In most cases, it’s best to list your work history and achievements in reverse chronological order so the most recent information is at the top.
Customize your resume for the position.
Look through the posting for the job you’re applying to and make note of any key skills and phrases that are used. Employ these same words in your own resume and call out your prior experiences that match the requirements on the job listing. Some large companies that receive thousands of resumes a year use special software to scan for keywords and filter out those that don’t have them. By tailoring your resume to the job you’re applying to, you stand a better chance of making it through these filters and getting in front of a hiring manager.
Limit it to one page.
Keep your resume to a single page whenever possible, unless doing so would cause it to look cluttered. Eliminate any fluffy words and don’t use pronouns. Write concisely and avoid large blocks of text. These often get skipped, especially when yours is the 30th application a hiring manager has looked at in the last half hour. There’s always time to go into greater detail at a job interview, but first you have to get there, and you’ll have better luck if your resume is short and to the point.
Your resume should be neat and well-organized. Don’t go over the top with a bunch of different fonts and a large photo of yourself. These are distracting and can quickly eat up the precious few seconds most employers will spend looking at your resume. Proofread the document before you send it out. This is especially important when writing is part of the job description, but it applies to everyone. Poor grammar and misspelled words impress no one.
What do I put on my resume if I have little to no work experience?
Everyone finds themselves in this position when they’re first starting out. A short work history can make writing a resume more challenging, but there are a few simple things you can do to make yourself stand out from the other recent high school and college grads.
Focus on your skills.
Employers want to know why you’re valuable to them. Having a list of previous achievements to point to is useful, but it’s not necessary. Talk about the skills you bring to the table and how that fits in with the job’s requirements. Things like time management, problem-solving, research and organizational skills will be welcome in almost every profession. And if you are fortunate enough to have some internships or work experience under your belt, you should also list these, even if they weren’t in your field. Any consistent job experience demonstrates that you’re responsible enough to show up and do the work that’s asked of you.
Limit talk about your education.
Education is an important part of everyone’s resume, but it’s generally less important than your skills and professional accomplishments. Some recent graduates are tempted to focus heavily on the education section of their resume to make up for their short work history, but this is often less effective than emphasizing your skills. Remember, employers are more concerned with what you can do for them than what you’ve done in the past.
Try to gain some experience.
If you’re sending out your resume and not getting any responses, it may be worth exploring internship or volunteer opportunities in your field. Even if they don’t pay, they can give you the experience you need to get your foot in the door. They can also teach you more about what you want to do and how you work best. Some companies will even hire interns on for a full-time position after the program is over.