Resume Tips: Can an online resume builder help polish your resume?


We’ve all been there. After writing, perfecting and proofreading our resumé, we’ve grown frustrated. Fiddling in a word processor with formatting. Trying to get headings to match up, bullet points to behave and templates to look clean and elegant, while at the same time hoping stand out from the crowd.

Online resumé builders claim to be the solution to the formatting nightmare, offering easy-to-use web platforms, professionally designed templates, and multiple format options from Word or PDF files to websites to create a resume in as little as 10 minutes. But there are many websites now offering these services, and with prices ranging from free to hundreds of dollars, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

I tested several resumé building sites and discovered that, before investing time in building your resumé with an online resume builder, there are two things you should be aware of:

Unadvertised costs

Many sites advertise themselves as free when in reality they charge for their services. It is only after you’ve spent the time registering and inputting your resumé information that they reveal that it is only free to build the resumé and you must pay a fee or enter into a subscription to access or print the file you have created.

Lack of privacy

Before submitting your personal information to any website, it is wise to read the terms of use and personal privacy statements of the site. I came across one site that included the privacy caveat: “in order to deliver our services, we may share information with third parties.” Some sites partner with other job search services and may sell your personal information to third parties.

While this may seem innocent enough (perhaps they want to send you industry job search information), this language opens you up to calling lists, unsolicited mail, spam and even identity theft.

If you don’t see privacy information on the resumé builder site, or if the language is ambiguous, don’t use the service. Similarly, if you ever post your resumé to a website, make sure to remove personal contact information like your phone number and address.

The usability of the web platform and the quality of the final product also vary greatly between sites. Some sites have a limited number of templates to choose from, which may not make for an outstanding resumé. While some platforms allow for the addition and customization of a variety of headings, others are limited only to having sections for “employment,” “education,” “skills,” and “achievements,” with no ability to move sections or add different headings.

Overall, the services presently offered do not provide enough value to justify paying fees and I won’t be giving up on my word processor just yet. And remember, although the information you present on your resumé should be clear, concise, and neatly presented, it is the content itself that matters most.

If you do struggle with formatting or are looking for a greater variety of templates, here are some resume building sites to check out.

1. Emurse:

Emurse has 10 clean templates to try out, offers web hosting for your resumé as well as the ability to customize headings and section orders and insert images or links. You can create multiple resumés using content you have already uploaded by saving different versions and documents can be accessed in several formats including DOC, PDF, RTF, ODT, HTML and TXT. Information submitted here may be shared with third parties.

2. JobSpice:

JobSpice offers 25 professionally designed templates with a great variety of style. The platform uses a simple drag-and-drop system that allows for easy customization. A basic membership is free, while the ‘plus’ membership costs $20. A plus membership is needed to generate PDFs, host your resumé online or access privacy controls.

3. Resumizer:

Resumizer only has six templates to choose from, but they are minimalistic and clean. Fonts and colours can also be adjusted. Headings are limited, but there is room to add three of your own sections in addition to Education and Employment sections. Information submitted to Resumizer is not shared and it is not even saved unless you register, but the site does contain third party advertising.

About the author

Carley Centen is an aspiring writer/editor passionate about storytelling and obsessed with obsolete words and impractical typewriters. She holds an honours B.A. in International Development Studies from Trent University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Socio-Legal Studies at York, which she hopes will help to prepare her for a career in non-profit communications or consulting. Carley is currently (and sporadically) developing her writing at her personal blog, C. Centen (Run).