Top 4 resume-building tools for crafting a killer resume
May 22, 2023
Are you tired of submitting resumes that seem to disappear into the black hole of online applications? Do you feel like your job search could be better, despite your impressive qualifications and experience? It’s time to take a step back and reevaluate the most critical tool in your job search arsenal: your resume.
Your resume is more than just a list of your work history and skills—it’s a reflection of your unique story, your strengths, and your potential. It’s your chance to stand out from the crowd and show hiring managers why you’re the perfect fit for their organization. But with so many resume-building tools and templates available online, how do you know which one is right for you? Don’t worry; Dominique Miles, an international recruiter with seven years of experience who writes resumes for executive-level clients, has got you covered. She explores the top-resume-building tools and shares tips on creating a resume that gets noticed.
So, get ready to unleash your inner resume-writing superhero and take your job search to the next level. But first, Miles advises doing a little legwork before jumping to these resume-builder tools.
Step 1: Creating your accomplishment statements
“I use a resume builder to make it pretty. I wouldn’t use the resume builder for the content,” Miles explains. You need to understand the job responsibilities and how you match against what they’re asking for in order to add the correct information in the resume-builder.
Remember, the resume is not a CV, explains Miles. “You want to have a CV for your own records and a resume for every job.” But what’s the difference? A CV is very comprehensive and detailed: “It has everywhere you have ever worked, whereas a resume is more tailored to the positions you’re seeking.” This is why creating accomplishment statements in your resume that match the job post is important.
What are accomplishment statements?
These are the bullet points you add under each job title on your resume. They highlight your most significant accomplishments in previous roles, such as exceeding sales targets, leading successful projects, or implementing innovative solutions. These statements are like little trophies on your resume, helping you stand out from the crowd and demonstrating that you are a valuable asset to any employer.
How can you organize your accomplishments with the job post?
Miles recommends opening up Excel and creating a qualifications table. Pull the job description and all the responsibilities attributed to that job and then make a table in Excel. “You want to have your qualifications in one column and the job requirements in another,” adds Miles. By doing a side comparison, you make sure you’re hitting those keywords. Not only are the keywords important, but the tone and voice as well. “Every organization has its own culture and normally that’s communicated through how they write a job description. So you want to kind of mirror the same voice,” explains Miles.
Tailoring your resume to the company and job description will boost your visibility to an ATS and a recruiter. Once you’ve completed your resume’s accomplishment statements, it’s time to hit up an online resume-building tool.
Step 2: Choosing the right resume-builder for you
Each tool has its advantages and disadvantages, and we will evaluate them based on various factors, including pricing, user-friendliness, creativity, ATS compatibility, format options, and speed. Additionally, we will identify which job industries and sectors each tool is best suited for, so you can choose the one that works best for you.
1. Canva: Creativity at your fingertips
Canva is a popular graphic design tool that can be used to create resumes, among many other types of documents. It has various resume templates that you can customize according to your needs. Canva offers many creative options that let you add graphics, charts, and other design elements to your resume, allowing for creativity. It also has a very user-friendly interface with drag-and-drop functionality, making it easy to use even for those without design experience.
Canva’s designs may not be compatible with applicant tracking systems (ATS), explains Miles.
“You want your resume as clean as possible because sometimes those templates don’t feed into an ATS well.” If you choose an overly-complicated design, although it may look good, it could mean your resume may not make it through the initial screening process.
Best suited for creative jobs
Miles agrees that Canva is an excellent option for individuals in creative industries such as marketing, advertising, and graphic design who want to showcase their design skills on their resumes. If you’re looking for a job requiring creativity and design skills, Canva is an excellent tool.
2. Resume.com: Prompts for first-time resume-builders
Resume.com has a straightforward interface that guides you through the process of creating a resume step-by-step. It offers a library of templates and designs, allowing you to choose one that suits your style and preferences. The tool also provides suggestions and tips on what to include in each section of your resume.
Resume.com’s free version has limited features, and you may need to upgrade to access all customization options. Miles also warns that some templates may not be ATS compatible, and the site doesn’t seem to specify ATS-friendly templates like some other resume-builders. She recommends sticking to simple templates to be sure.
Best suited for entry-level jobs
Resume.com is best suited for those just starting their careers or who haven’t written a resume in a while, as it prompts you through the process. Miles says it’s also a good service for those in industries that do not require a high level of creativity or design skills, such as administrative or customer service roles.
3. Zety: Professionalism for traditional industries
Zety has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate, with pre-designed sections that you can customize according to your needs. The tool offers various font styles, colors, and templates, allowing you to quickly create a professional–looking resume—after completing your qualifications table, of course. More importantly, Zety offers ATS-friendly resume templates, guaranteeing your resume makes it through the initial screening process.
You have to pay to download your resume; therefore, Zety is a paid tool, and some of its features require a premium subscription.
Best suited for traditional industries
Zety is best suited for more traditional industries, such as law, finance, or healthcare, where a simple, professional-looking resume is essential, explains Miles. It has ATS-friendly templates, so it’s handy for job seekers in fields where applicant tracking systems are commonly used. And from Mile’s observation, Zety seems to be the best for ATS accessibility. If you are applying for a job that requires a more traditional approach to your resume, Zety is an excellent tool, explains Miles.
4. Novoresume: Streamlined for the uncomplicated job seeker
Novoresume has an intuitive interface that guides you through the process of creating a resume, with pre-designed sections that you can customize according to your needs. The tool offers various templates and designs, including customization options such as font styles, colors, and sections, allowing you to create a unique and professional-looking resume.
Novoresume offers a free version that allows you to create a basic resume which would be perfect for an entry-level employee, says Miles. It also has ATS-friendly templates.
Novoresume’s free version has limited features, and you may need to upgrade to access all customization options. Its templates are straightforward, so look elsewhere if you want something with more design.
Best for entry-level and traditional industries
Novoresume is best suited for job industries and sectors where a simple and traditional resume is needed. The simplicity of the templates makes them suitable for entry-level resumes, explains Miles.
Once you’ve decided what tool you want to use, Miles suggests three additional tips to get the most out of your resume.
1. How to tell if you are applying with an ATS system
Miles says to look at the bottom of the job application. “If you see words like ‘powered by Taleo,’ then that is a clear sign as that’s an ATS.” She also suggests that if you find yourself having to refill boxes after uploading your resume, then that is typically an ATS. “Unless you’re just uploading a PDF of your resume and moving on, then you’re probably dealing with an ATS,” Miles explains.
2. Bold keywords and key numbers
Keywords that match the job description and your experience should be highlighted on the resume, along with relevant figures. “If the job says five years of experience, then bold your statement where you say ‘5 years experience,’” Miles explains. This will allow the recruiter to skim your resume—yes, they skim—and see that you’re qualified. Actually, Miles says she spends less than 2 minutes per resume, and she can go through hundreds a day when trying to find the right candidate.
3. Job titles are the first thing recruiters notice
When asked about the first thing she looks at when scanning a resume, she replies earnestly: job titles. If the job titles don’t match, then it might not be a good fit. Miles gives a good recommendation: “You do have the liberty to be a bit creative.” Let’s say you were called an analyst at your current job, but the new job you’re applying for uses the word associate; feel free to change it around. “If the job is the same, if it’s apples to apples, then make the titles match.” She does warn that if they do some sort of background check, then you will have to write the exact job title your previous employer gave you.
Do resume-builders really help?
In short, yes, says Miles. “I would especially recommend them for people who don’t have a ton of experience.” They help you organize your thoughts and are perfect for job seekers with little experience writing resumes. Their simple formatting and prompted questions help guide you through the process. Miles also says to stick to simple templates and not overkill with pretty visuals. And don’t forget to make your qualifications table with achievements statements before you start!
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