If this isn’t your first job search, you’ve likely researched all the tools and resources available for job seekers online. You’ve stumbled across career coaching websites, how-to articles, resume templates, and even online resume builders.
Don’t do it.
The hype of resume builders has grown over the last decade and presents this online tool as a quick and easy way to create a job-winning resume. As a Certified Professional Resume Writer who has personally helped hundreds of job seekers land new and better jobs, I don’t recommend resume builders.
I’ve tried out a few of the most popular online resume builders of 2018 and wrote this review to encourage you to explore the alternatives.
The Resume Builder Process
The typical online resume builder will start by asking you to choose a template. You’ve likely heard (from this website especially!) that resume templates may be hurting your job search. If you’re going to use a resume template, it's important to make sure it complies with Applicant Tracking software. At the very least, choose a resume template that:
- Is saved as a Microsoft Word document
- Has a one-column layout
- Contains no graphics or icons
- Organizes the resume with standard headings
Typically, the next step is deciding whether you will create a new resume or reformat your existing resume. If you create a new resume, you might as well be filling out an online job application. You’ll enter in all of your details in an online form. Otherwise, uploading your resume will pre-fill the online form. Double-checking whether or not the form was auto-filled correctly is a key step if you choose to use an online resume builder and upload or reformat your current resumes.
When filling out your Experience and Skills sections and creating a Professional Summary, online resume builders will offer fabricated examples based on an industry or keyword search. You will also be prompted to add extra sections such as Accomplishments, Certifications, Affiliations, and Additional Information.
When you think you’re in the clear to download your new resume, you’ll be asked to subscribe. Bummer! The online resume builder used by LiveCareer advertises a basic subscription for $2.95 (not bad) but read the fine print that says indicates the auto-renewal is actually $24.95 a month (yikes!). They also advertise a monthly access subscription for $5.95 a month… actually, it’s a $71.40 one-time fee upfront.
Why Resume Builders Are Appealing
Yes, online resume builders are an appealing solution for resume writing. There’s the convenience factor of instantly creating a new resume and using fabricated examples based on what’s popular for your industry or position title. There’s also the implied expectation that these resume builders create resumes that align with what employers are looking for.
Sorry, but this is not the case.
Resume Builders Don’t Create Targeted Resumes
In the modern job search, targeted resumes are far more effective in securing your ideal job. A one-size-fits-all resume just doesn’t work. Why? Each employer has a specific need that he or she is looking for one candidate to meet. Your resume needs to showcase how you will meet that employer’s specific need.
Your Branding Statement should showcase the qualifications and skills that will present you as the best fit for your ideal job. Online resume builders recommend adding overused, generic examples of skills to a Professional Summary. This strategy will not create a resume that addresses the needs of your ideal employer.
Resume Builders Don’t Tell Your Story
Your resume is a marketing tool, and here’s the funny thing about marketing: The best marketing campaigns tell stories that represent the brand of the company. Translate this corporate jargon, and you’ll understand that your resume needs to tell your unique story and reflect your personal brand.
Your personal brand encompasses your strengths, your career goals, the results you can generate or value you offer employers, and even your values and passions. These details should be evident in your Branding Statement and Experience sections of your resume. If you use an online resume builder and the examples you can add that are recommended based on a keyword or industry search, your resume won’t tell your unique story.
Resume Builders Recommend Buzzwords
Online resume builders encourage adding an easy-to-scan Skills section to your resume. This is great except that you will be provided with more examples that you can add based on the position titles in your Experience section. Here’s the problem with this: These skills are often overused buzzwords that employers don’t want to see.
When you rely on software to create your resume, you’re going to end up with content that really doesn’t represent you. Moreso, you’re going to end up with content that a computer decides is most popular. Popular can also mean fluff or empty words that look good. This is not an effective strategy for your resume.
Resume Builders Don’t Recommend Giving Context
Here’s another problem with adding recommended skills to your resume using an online resume builder: Adding a list of skills without describing them in action or giving context to them in your Experience section is likely to repel employers. Employers want to see measurable achievements and the value you offer.
If you rely on an online resume builder to create a resume, you will miss out on an opportunity to present yourself as the best fit for your ideal job. Creating a results-oriented resume that reflects your personal brand is the key to success in the modern job search.
Sure, an online resume builder can be a convenient solution for creating a resume quickly. The resume you create will be missing important elements that will help you stand out and attract your ideal employer, though. You need to consider how quickly you want to find a new and better job.
Recommended Alternatives To Resume Builders
If you have a clear direction and focus for your job search, working with a Certified Professional Resume Writer can alleviate a lot of your stress. Creating a job-winning resume can be time-consuming. Hiring a Certified Professional Resume Writer to create a resume that presents you as the best fit for your ideal job is a smart alternative to using an online resume builder.
If hiring a job search expert isn’t in your budget, you can always take the DIY approach. I don’t recommend using a resume builder, but Off The Clock Resumes offers an AMAZING DIY Resume Bundle which includes a modern resume template, Branding Statement Cheat Sheet, and Resume Targeting Checklist that will make your resume writing less time-consuming.
Avoid resume builders, and use your resume to tell your unique story.