Are Online Resume Builders Worth It?

You sit down to write your resume and what’s the first thing you do? Probably stare at a blank page for a good half hour. If it’s been years since you’ve had to write a resume chances are you don’t even know where to start. And even though there are countless resume tips and articles on the Internet, you still have to (at some point) physically sit down and write the darn thing.

Unless you decide to use a resume builder. A resume builder is a piece of software that does exactly what the name says; builds your resume for you from scratch. There are two kinds of resume builders, A) those for which you buy a license (and download onto your computer to use), and B) those that are available on the Web for anyone to use.


In either case, a resume builder creates your resume as a result of your answers to a series of questions. It’s the same principle TurboTax® uses to create your income tax return. The software asks you what it needs to know to create your resume and then formats your information into what it considers to be the perfect resume specifically for you. The advantage being that you can get a professional resume in less time it would take you to do the research to create your own.

But as with anything that sounds too good to be true, there are both pros and cons to using resume builders.


It’s FREE! (Sort of)

Free online resume builders are convenient, IF you just want the basics – that being a resulting resume (and cover letter) that is printable, exportable, and downloadable. Some resume builder websites also post your resume online so that prospective employers can come look at it.

No Expertise Required

If you don’t mind using a standard boilerplate resume you literally don’t have to know anything about creating a resume to use a resume builder. The resume builder does all the work for you, thus eliminating the step where you have to education yourself about resume-writing in the first place.

Web Hosting Available

As mentioned above, some resume builders actually provide you with web hosting, where you can post your resume on your own personal, mini-website (that resides on the resume builder website). This allows you to include more information about yourself, as well as add some personality. It also makes it convenient to email your resume to potential employers simply by sending them a link to your mini-website.

Tracks Prospects

If you send your resume out directly from a resume builder, the website keeps track of the status of your resumes. For example, it keeps a database of when you sent out your resumes, how many you sent out and to whom, and how long it’s been since you’ve heard back from anyone. Some resume builders even suggest which industries or companies you should send resumes to based upon the answers you provided to its questions.


Boilerplate Resumes

If you go the free resume builder route, your resulting resume will have a boilerplate format that looks like every other free resume it created. This can work for or against you. For example, a standard format resume bodes well for you if you’re applying to an industry (such as aerospace, banking, insurance) that doesn’t like to see flowery, out-of-the-norm resumes. However, if you’re applying to an industry where creativity is a plus (such as entertainment, advertising, graphic arts) then coming in with a dry resume that looks like everyone else’s may not put you in the best possible light.

Limited Fine Tuning

Even though you can make some changes to your resulting resume, you usually have to do so within the limits of the format you selected (free or otherwise). This means you’re limited if you want to add something “outside the box” to your resume. However, this extra information can usually be added on your mini-website, in a cover letter, or in an attachment.

Hidden Fees

Typically, the only thing that’s free in a free resume builder is the resulting resume in a printable, exportable, or downloadable standard resume format. Anything beyond that will usually cost you (like a fancy resume format), which is why many people just opt to buy a resume builder software package and then be done with the cost.


Some resume builders create only one type of resume, that usually being the work history resume. If you want something different, like a functional resume, then you may have to buy that option or just create your own. Another popular contingency is when a resume builder website charges you a fee up front, but then reimburses some or all of it back if you don’t find a job within a certain time period. Be sure to check out ALL contingencies before you sign up with any resume builder website. If it’s free, but they want to take your credit card number when you sign up, then expect to have contingent fees tacked on later.

Resume builders are definitely helpful when looking for a job, but they’re not for everyone. The key to having success with a resume builder is to know exactly what kind of resume you want before you sign up. Read all the fine print on any resume builder website before you commit. The last thing you need when looking for a job is another expense you can’t afford.

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  • Free Resume Builder

One Comment

  1. Posted June 18, 2011 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Excellent article Stacey. Our site attempts to take the cv building concept a little further, firstly we provide access to our system for 1 year, secondly we give you options to choose from 4 different templates and also online flash / html CVs too, and thirdly – this is probably the CHEAPEST on the net – a FREE review and update on any CV that needs it – this type of rewrite of a CV can cost 50 pounds or more on other sites.

    Our free CV is a HTML CV available to users for 10 days and gives you a taster of what we have to offer. We’re looking at creating some new tools in the future to help you write your CV so watch this space – big things are coming. We realise word of mouth is the best form of advertising so our strategy is to not just please but to shock and awe our customers !!!

    Keep up with the writing !

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