5 Best Resume Builders for 2021: Honest Detailed Review

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5 Best Resume Builders for 2021

A resume creates the first impression of your candidacy and provides the employer with a foundation for making a decision. So it’s not surprising that you, like other candidates, want to make it flawless. Modern resume builders promise to help you with this task. In this article, you will get reviews of the most popular ones. An in-depth analysis of their advantages and disadvantages will help you make the right choice.

1.  Got Resume Builder

GotResumeBuilder offers the standard algorithm for resume preparation: create content, choose a design, download or email the finished document. But there is one detail that sets GotResumeBuilder apart - it's a free resume builder. Registration requires only your email address and password, after which you can start working on your application document.

It seems that there is nothing to think about: if a free service offers the same functionality as its paid counterparts, you should not hesitate to choose it. But to make an informed decision, check my findings.

Advantages:

  • Hints. GotResumeBuilder offers a built-in Resume Coach that helps you fill out every section of your application document. These are basic tips; nevertheless, they can be useful if the user is writing a resume for the first time.
  • Wide range of sections. GotResumeBuilder offers you 21 sections for your resume. Some of them are included in the template automatically, while others you can add yourself. If you are not aiming to create a customized resume with a one-page format, this variety can come in handy.

Disadvantages:

  • Some irrelevant hints. For example, GotResumeBuilder insists that your address should ALWAYS be included in your resume contact information. In fact, an address is only required if applying for federal jobs or an employer is looking for an employee in a specific geographic area. In other cases, this information is optional or may even seem outdated. So the user has to double-check some of the hints.
  • Extra complications. The builder invites you to find the necessary skills, career objectives, and duties in the database by keywords and adds them to your resume. But if you want to add the proposed item, it is not enough for you to just click on it. You need to copy it from the list and paste it into your document. The modern user has lost the habit of such "difficulties."
  • Not that free. When you get to the third step of working with the builder, it turns out that you need to buy a premium resume builder account for $5.98 per month to download your resume as a PDF, .doc, .docx, and ODT file or to email it. Otherwise, you can only get your resume as a .txt file. But in this case, your document has neither design nor formatting, and therefore it turns out that part of your efforts was in vain.

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2.  GetCoverLetter

As the name implies, this builder initially specialized in preparing cover letters. But now, its users can also compose a resume, thus getting a complete package of application documents on one platform. GetCoverLetter promises that you can prepare a customized resume in just 15 minutes. This statement undoubtedly made me want to test the builder.

Advantages:

  • Attractive layouts. The first step to building a resume in GetCoverLetter builder is choosing a design. And this choice is not so easy as all the proposed layouts look professional, catch the eye, and have their own "schticks." Some of them offer to rate your skills, others allow you to add your photo, and still, others have vivid visual solutions. So even a capricious user can find an option to their liking.
  • Customization-oriented hints. In addition to general writing tips, GetCoverLetter explains in detail how to prepare a customized resume. This is a massive plus because a customized document is now much appreciated by recruiters and guarantees that you pass the applicant tracking system (ATS). With these tips, the user can easily avoid outdated long reads and fit their resume on one page.
  • Speed. The hints above, combined with the intuitive interface, really allow you to create a customized resume from scratch very quickly. It took me about 13 minutes. So if you come across a hot vacancy for which you want to apply urgently, GetCoverLetter can be a great solution.
  • Free trial. GetCoverLetter is one of the few builders (the only one on this list) that provides a one-week free trial. I used it and was happy to find no pitfalls like hidden fees or limited features. The free trial and subscription both allow users to create an unlimited number of resumes and cover letters. After completing your documents, you can download them in PDF format, print them, or email them to a recruiter.

get cover letter

Disadvantages:

  • Lack of formatting settings. When you have selected a design, your document is automatically formatted. After that, you cannot change, for example, the font size or spacing. Although the document's final version fully meets business documentation requirements, some users still want to experiment with their text.
  • Only one file format. Instead of .doc, .docx, and ODT format, you can only download your document as a PDF file. In fact, such a document format is universal unless the job description directly requires a fundamentally different one from you. If so, you need to convert the resulting file yourself.

3. ​​Resume-Now

Resume-Now provides services such as reviewing an existing resume by experts, creating a new resume from scratch using a builder, and preparing a cover letter using a constructor. Such a comprehensive function seems to be the ideal solution for a successful job application. Yet, this platform has the most controversial reputation among online users. It is crucial to understand its strengths and weaknesses to remain unbiased.

Advantages:

  • Wide range of designs. Resume-Now offers 20 templates from traditional to creative ones. This means that the user can really modify the document's appearance, depending on the company's requirements.
  • Ability to manage resume sections. Users can add the desired sections to the resume if they are not already in the proposed template. Besides, they can swap sections as they see fit. This is convenient because some users may want the skills section to come before their work history.
  • Manage formatting settings. When my resume is ready, I can change everything from font size and color to paragraph spacing.

Disadvantages:

  • No free trial period. Resume-Now offers a two-week trial period, but it costs between $1.45 and $1.95. Moreover, I found out that I didn’t need to pay until I already compiled my resume and wanted to download it. Otherwise, I could get the typed text without template and formatting. This undermines loyalty to Resume-Now.

better business bureau

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  • Tricks with payment. After the two-week trial period ends, Resume-Now automatically transfers users to a subscription that costs $24.99 per month. And the problem is that some users continue to be charged this fee even if they cancel their subscription to Resume-Now services. Such a negative experience negates the advantages of the service for a large number of users.

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4. Zety

Zety is one of the most popular online resume builders. In addition to building the resume itself, the platform also invites users to prepare a cover letter and CV. Given the vast amount of user reviews, it was exciting how the resume builder works in practice.

Advantages:

  • A clear algorithm. As soon as I selected a template on the main page, I was automatically thrown into the builder. After that, I just moved step by step and filled in the sections.
  • Layout modification. When I filled out my resume sections, I was invited to modify my template and change the layout color, font, font size, spacing, etc. This is a handy option for users who are used to changing everything to their liking.
  • Suggested components of a resume. Zety offers ready-made options for the resume summary, previous responsibilities, and skills. The user only needs to click on them and add them to their resume.

Disadvantages:

  • Uniformity of designs. Despite the wide variety of layouts, they are all very similar to each other. When choosing a layout on the main page, they are all kept in the same color by default, and it may seem that this is the same template repeated several times. So if you need a creative visual solution, these templates are hardly what you seek.
  • Poor writing instructions. I looked at the proposed resume summary options (there were only 3 for my profession), and none of them suited me. Zety did not provide me instructions on how to write this part myself. Instead, I was just prompted to use the present tense. The suggested examples were more suitable for professionals as they focused on their experience and skills. Assuming I am a recent graduate or entry-level professional, I have neither a good example nor an understanding of writing a summary.
  • Extra formatting opportunities. Zety offers the user formatting settings and doesn't even explain how to use them correctly. For example, the builder allowed me to change the font of my resume to Bodoni MT. But this font is poorly suited for business documents as it makes the text difficult to read.

Another example is increasing the headings' size to 26 pt and putting the minimum spacing between lines and sections. As a result, my document lost its professional look. The user may not know the formatting requirements for a resume, and such Zety formatting options may be confusing. It would be appropriate to either immediately provide a single version ready for download, or tell about resume formatting rules.

5. Standard Resume

As soon as I got to the Standard Resume website, the first two things that caught my eye were the big start button and the "No account or credit card required" add-on for it. Such simplicity and accessibility stimulate and let you get straight to business. This is what I did to see if the promise was real.

Advantages:

  • Ability to import data from LinkedIn. You are offered to do this at the very first stage of working with the Standard Resume builder. Just insert a link to your profile. After that, your work history and education will be transferred to your document. You just have to choose a design, fill out contact information, and add skills. It is really convenient and time-saving.

Unfortunately, this is the only advantage of the platform that I could find while working on my resume.

Disadvantages:

  • Poor designs. This builder offers 12 layouts for your resume. They are all very uniform and have the same sequence of sections. The only layout that stands out from the rest is the one that offers to add a candidate photo.
  • Bizarre formatting settings. I could only change the colors of headings, subheadings, and even the background of the document. The color gamut is broad, but in my opinion, it does not have much value since few people want blue text on a red background, for example.
  • The expectation is not valid. The "No account or credit card required" on the homepage turned out to be just a way to get attention. Once I tried to save my resume, I was prompted to enter my email and password to create an account. When I wanted to download my resume, I was offered to buy a subscription (and enter the card number accordingly).
  • Difficult to use. When creating a resume using the LinkedIn profile, I did not have problems since the sections were filled automatically. But when I decided to make a resume manually, I found myself thinking that I do not intuitively feel which button to press next.

Moreover, when my document was ready, I could not even find the "Download" button. I had to search for it with a "box-ticking" approach. I went to the "Share" section, and only there I saw it. Thus, the Standard Resume builder promises effortless resume preparation, but this task was quite time-consuming.

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