Are you wondering where to start writing a resume for today's competitive job market? You're not alone! Today's applicants want a resume that helps them stand out, get noticed, and earn interviews.
While looking for templates, you'll come across many resume builder services. Most have beautiful, eye-catching resume templates that will make you wonder if your plain resume is the reason you're getting ghosted by recruiters. (Hint: it's probably not your format, but read on for details.)
The Zipjob career expert team of former recruiters and professional resume writers have compiled a list of 12 online resume builders. We explored each service so we could give you the rundown. This post includes examples of the templates from each resume builder's website, along with an expert's opinion of the final resumes.
ZipJob is a premier resume writing service that has been helping job seekers create job-winning resumes since 2016. Our network of 100+ professional resume writers are experts in all industries including IT, Business, and Marketing/Sales.
Top 12 resume builders
Here is our list of the best resume builders for US job seekers in 2021. You can use the list to navigate down to each service or read through all 12 reviews to help you make the right selection.
Did you like this list? Check out this next: Best Resume Writing Services for 2021 Job Seekers (picked by resume experts!)
Best resume builder reviews
Zety is one of the most popular resume builders, aiming to help people fix their careers since 2016. Within the resume builder tool, Zety has a library of 18+ templates for "creative," "professional," "modern," and "simple" resumes.
Many of the Zety templates have columns, odd shapes for bullet points, star or bar ratings for skill assessment, and other design flaws that could confuse an ATS scan. Further, the templates are not searchable depending on the industry, though there are corresponding resources on the Zety website. However, if you opt for a simple resume template, this tool is a good starting point.
Is Zety free?
No. After building your resume, you must pay to download it. Zety is a subscription-based service starting at $2.70 for a two-week full access trial, or $5.95 per month with an annual payment.
Related read: Are Resume Writing Services Worth It?
2. Resume Genius
Resume Genius (operated by Resume Companion) has 17 resume templates to choose from. One nice feature is that you can choose a template based on your goals and background, such as "career changer" or "job hopper."
The Classic, Professional, and Chicago templates are all great formats for online resumes. There are other basic & simple designs you can choose from, but avoid the many "creative" resumes with icons, graphics, and other elements that are not ATS-friendly.
The Resume Genius builder prompts you for lots of information that your resume should not include for jobs in the US, including graduation dates, your full address, and references.
Is Resume Genius free?
No. Despite the site advertising that the tool is a free resume builder, you have to pay at least $1.95 to download your resume. After the trial period, you'll be charged $39.95 monthly or $95.40 annually.
LiveCareer has another popular resume builder tool. You start the process by selecting how long you've been in the workforce. LiveCareer will then suggest templates for you from their library of 20+ options. A standout feature of the LiveCareer resume builder is the access to a 700,000+ resume bank to help you shape your content.
The resumes have a range of styles, so if you pick a minimal template you should pass ATS scans. Steer clear of the column-based formats for online submissions.
Please note: by using this service, your information will join their resume database. Your contact information will be removed, but names and dates of employment are accessible to anyone with internet access.
Is LiveCareer free?
With limitations, you can use this service for free. The resume you create is free to download only during a free trial. You can also gain access for 14 days for $1.95 or enroll in a monthly subscription for $7.95.
professional resume writers know how to organize your resume to appeal to hiring managers. Check out our guide to the best resume writing services to find your perfect fit!
4. My Perfect Resume
My Perfect Resume offers a few different templates for an inexpensive price. First, you can either upload an existing resume from PDF, DOC, DOCX, TXT, HTM, or RTF formats or you can start from scratch. The transfer feature isn't perfect, so be sure to review every bit of information for clarity and accuracy.
This is a good resume tool for building a list of experience and skills, especially because it has prompts for bullet points people with your job title use. There are also prompts to remind you to add metrics and numbers, which always appeals to hiring managers. However, the resume turned out to be several pages long and was not easy to format.
Is My Perfect Resume free?
No. You must pay $2.95 to download or print the resume, and then $24.95 every four weeks after that 14-day trial.
Resume.io is a resume builder tool that boasts a job-winning resume within minutes. It's a quick, user-friendly tool that will help even the most junior job seekers build a resume. Once you've entered your information, it's easy to see it on various templates; however, you can't format the templates. Some optional features can be toggled off in the editing process, such as skills rating and reference sections.
There are a lot of template options, but few (if any) make good use of the space provided for your information. Decorative resume formats with multiple columns severely cut down on your keyword-optimized content, and including information like a full address or headshot will limit your real estate even further.
Is Resume.io free?
You can download one resume and one cover letter as a TXT document (no formatting or design) for free. To download your resume as a .doc or PDF, you must pay $2.95 for a 7-day trial, $44.95 for six months of access, or $74.95 for a full year.
Kickresume offers a resume, personal website, and cover letter builder. You can customize your personal information, work experience, and education sections or rename the sections with your own headings.
The Kickresume builder has many features that are not best practices for today's online resume submission process, but the features can largely be turned off. As long as you don't include skills ratings, section icons, or the optional information such as date of birth and nationality, the free options are not bad. We wish there was also an option to download the resume as a .doc instead of a PDF.
Is Kickresume free?
Yes, there are free options. You can download one of the free resume templates as a PDF. Even on the free options, there are certain sections that you have to pay to add to your resume. Prices are $19 a month, $36 a quarter, or $96 a year. There is one free website option and two free cover letter options.
Resume-Now has several clean, basic interface. The company has been in business since 2005 and has updated their templates to stay current in today's workplace.
The resume templates from Resume-Now are mostly basic, clean, and organized: all aspects that a hiring manager is likely to notice and appreciate. The designs are simple but allow for pops of color.
Is Resume-Now free?
Yes, but very limited. Resume-Now has one free resume template and a library of 15+ additional templates for a price. You can buy 14-days of access for $2.95 or pay for a monthly $9.95 subscription.
Novorésumé has 8 templates to edit and customize, with a great degree of formatting flexibility. The templates were designed with feedback from hiring experts. All options include color, clear section headings, and opportunities to create a resume.
If you do pay for the resume builder tool, the resumes are well-suited for posting online. You can click around the templates to find one that displays your information well. This builder tool has many excellent tips for resume writers, such as including cities and states in your contact section (but not the full address), and including a short and engaging professional summary.
Given the PDF-only download option, the graphic elements are appropriate. If an ATS is sophisticated enough to parse a PDF, you don't have to worry about the icons next to your contact info or the bubbles around your skills. Your other choice is to create your resume as a sharable link, making the most of the hyperlink options Novorésumé has.
Is Novoresume free?
Novorésumé is free with premium options. Its pricing is notably not subscription-based but is tiered at $16 a month, $29.99 for three months, or $89.99 for 12 months of access. The basic (free) plan gives you access to eight one-page resume templates and one resume download as a PDF. Premium access gives you two or three page resumes, multiple downloads, cover letter templates, and additional formatting options.
Our hiring experts prefer a two-page resume, which is only available with a premium subscription from Novorésumé. As Novorésumé recommends (and our experts agree), a resume should be tailored for each job application. With the PDF-only download option for free users, tailoring your resume is not possible without paying.
ResumeCoach doesn't have an upload option, but claims it takes users an average of 12 minutes to build a new resume. The builder includes tips for job seekers either UK or US based, so US job seekers need to be vigilant not to include extraneous information common on UK resumes. ResumeCoach doesn't offer formatting edits before download; there is no option to rename headers or break up lines of text.
Even the most simple options had too much white space and cut down on keyword opportunities. Columns and graphics on a resume are not only confusing for ATS scans, but are not preferred by the majority of hiring managers.
Is ResumeCoach free?
Yes, with limits. You can download your resume as PDF or a TXT document for free. To get all the features of ResumeCoach, you can pay $0.95 for 14-days of basic access, $1.95 for premium access, or $95.40 for annual access.
Resume.com has helped over 6 million people create resumes. It has 24 templates to choose from, ranging from stylized to bare bones. Some templates are labeled for "digital" use, while others are suitable for printing and distributing.
You can choose to download your resume in multiple formats, so we suggest a .doc file for easy editing and online submissions. While most of these templates follow the organized and minimalist look hiring managers are looking for in 2021, we don't recommend you use the Notepad or Dot Matrix templates, which both look heavily dated.
Is Resume.com free?
Yes. This is one of the truly free services on our list. You can build, edit, and download your resume for no cost. There are no limits for number downloads, revisions, or versions of your resume with Resume.com.
Resumonk offers flexible layouts to display your information on recruiter-friendly resumes. The company is based in India, but US job seekers can remove information to make these templates work for other job targets. Brush up on the difference between a CV and a resume here, just in case.
Our experts like that your resume can have as much or as little information as you want. This service also has cover letter templates to correspond with each resume template--this is great for submitting a cohesive job application.
Is Resumemonk free?
You can download your Resumonk resume as a PDF without paying, but all the free versions will include a watermark. To remove the branding, you can upgrade your account to a premium subscription for $29 a year or $89 for forever access. A paid plan will also give you access to all 17 resume templates (compared to the 4 available without a charge), creating multiple versions of your resume, and customizing your Resumonk personal link.
12. Standard Resume
Standard Resume's hallmark offering is a LinkedIn profile upload feature. You only have to enter your full LinkedIn URL and give it a few minutes to work. It takes the information you make available to the public, so be prepared to either make your LinkedIn public or cut and copy your information.
This resume document is simple and would likely perform as well as any PDF in an ATS scan based on its design. It has a single-column format, standard headings, and includes the right information. The watermark is not ideal, nor is the fact that the resume is several pages long and your contact information is at the very bottom.
It is nice that Standard Resume allows you to include work experience in a summary and/or bullet points. This is a great feature for job seekers with unusual jobs who require some explanation in addition to their accomplishments.
Is Standard Resume free?
Yes, but limited. You can download your resume as a PDF for free. The pro option costs $15 a month or $30 quarterly. With pro, you can have duplicate versions of your resume, which is useful for tailoring your resume to different positions and tracking your edits. There are also more formatting options not available for free, such as margins and fonts.
What do I need to know before using an online resume builder?
A resume builder can be a useful tool for creating a resume if you're starting from scratch or you haven't updated your resume in many years. Here are the tips to get the most out of a resume builder.
1. You still need to do the work
A resume builder tool cannot write your resume for you. Some builders will suggest bullet points or skills for you, but you still need to use your own judgment to determine whether that content is valuable or true. If the suggestion is generic enough that anyone in your field could use it, it's not going to help your resume at all!
2. Your resume has two audiences
Your resume needs to appeal to both a computer scan (the Applicant Tracking Software or ATS) and a human audience. At Zipjob, we focus on helping people create resumes that will appeal to both audiences but cater to the ATS scan first.
Resume builders, on the other hand, tend to focus on the visual elements first--which isn't the most effective strategy. In fact, some elements of popular creative resumes will get your resume automatically rejected by the ATS scan! When using a resume builder, you need to balance design with content.
3. Research the resume builder before you commit
If you're reading this list, you're probably following this tip already! There are dozens of resume builders available today, all with slightly different features and strengths. Look at multiple resume builders, their reviews, and the experts' opinions before you get started.
Many resume builder sites are free to use but charge for downloads. The most common complaint when it comes to resume builders is "I just spent hours building my resume, and now I have to enter my credit card to download it?" To avoid this frustration, make sure you know what to expect in terms of payment before you get started.
Resume builder tools are great for organizing your information and learning more about what is standard on resumes, but the tools have many shortcomings as well. Many templates are not designed for ATS success. Since resumes differ from country to country, it's important to recognize if a tool is prompting you to add information that is appropriate.
Resume builders can be a great jumping-off point for job searching success, but you still need to know what information should be on your resume and how to get the resume to pass an ATS scan. After building your resume, send it through our free ATS review tool.
Caitlin Proctor, CPRW, Certified Professional Résumé Writer
Caitlin joined the ZipJob team in 2019 as a professional resume writer and career advisor. She specializes in strategic advice for executives, career pivots, and remote workers. Read more resume advice from Caitlin on ZipJob’s blog.