As the popular commercial reminds us, there seems to be an app for just about everything these days. For the past year or so, I’ve noticed a new category of online apps gaining visibility: online resume creators. Google search “resume builder” and you’ll find dozens of tools, some free some not. Oh, and you’ll come across plenty of humans hocking their “expert” resume writing skills, many for a fee.

So what gives with these online resume builders? Well, I decided to see for myself. After wading through hundreds of search results and weeding out the pay sites (see rip off), I decided to try the 5 products listed below. To get an idea of how these systems work and to evaluate them more accurately, I created a resume on each site.

ResuWe is a free site that allows users to format, structure and optimize their resume simply by uploading a current version of the document. The site recognizes the key components of a user’s resume and automatically parses the information with minimal data entry necessary. I found ResuWe generally intuitive but the site is a little cluttered and the navigation is a little clunky.

ResuWe has teamed up with and has added the ability to search for jobs. The site also plans to offer tips on preparing cover letters and will offer general job search tips. The service has some basic SNS functionality and simple promotional tools. On the FAQ page, they also claim that they working on an advanced job match service that will be offered for a fee. But, the automatic parsing is the knockout feature here.

Pongo has a couple subscription options, including a free trial account, or, for a monthly or annual fee, you can download the resume you create and have access to other tools like advanced job matching and task management. The free service is pretty limited. The tool takes you through a monotonous step-by-step process by which you create your resume that is stored on the site. If you’ve ever used free tax preparation software or renewed your driver’s license online, you’ll recognize the UI. T was no able to export my finished product because I didn’t upgrade to a paid account.

Jobspice is free and for good reason. Unless they are in stealth mode, creating some killer app behind the scenes, this seems more like a school project than a commercial app. Currently, the service is exclusively designed to make your resume visually appealing by allowing you to select from about 10 preset templates. The site uses CSS to style resumes; Think Wordpress blog templates. Unfortunately, I created 2 resumes and neither exported properly to .pdf.

VisualCV is an online resume tool allows you to include all the facets of a traditional resume, with add-ons like video, images, and links to your accomplishments. Think of VisualCV as Resume 2.0. VisualCV has incorporated easy-to-use job search capabilities and has simple privacy settings that allow you to control who has access to view your profile.

VisualCV could be a good tool for anyone working in a creative profession or consultants promoting their portfolios and client recommendations. You can download your profile to .pdf but, it will be branded with a VisualCV footer.

Overall, I like ResuWe the best because it’s thoughtful. ResuWe was created by recruiters that understand that a simple well-written resume is the way to go. Their service doesn’t let you use crazy fonts or insert videos or pictures. It only exports plain old MS Word docs. MS Word doc files are the standard and easiest for applicant tracking systems to upload and parse and frankly the easiest for humans to read too. And, who doesn’t have the ability to open and .doc on their work machine?

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Comment by Darren Scotland on November 12, 2009 at 8:32am
Thought there was a typo in this title at first - perhaps a full-stop after the word builders could be advised.
Comment by Todd Lempicke on November 12, 2009 at 12:56pm
I cannot believe you left out The rest of these are just toys in comparison. Company services over 600 universities offering the resume builder in addition to a full suite of online career services applications.
Comment by Joel Passen on November 16, 2009 at 8:11pm
Todd, is there a free version?
Comment by David J. Gardner on December 30, 2009 at 8:27am
Thanks for the research! I must say that I'm surprised at the level of focus on free online apps to build research spanning over 600 years of present day recruiting (including my own reviewing tens of thousands of resumes) from a myriad fields has absolutely convinced us that it's impossible to get an excellent resume from forms, online templates, and free apps.
The reason is that it largely only deals with one part of the overall resume process and ignores equally important areas such as the best way to formulate content, how the hiring process works, the ideal ways to submit your resume and follow up, action words that work...a whole host of things that make the difference between resume excellence and mediocrity!

It's our belief that you can read a quality book on how to build a great resume, or you can trust a REPUTABLE service...and that service MUST involve real communication, consultation, and support.

People need not use us, but PLEASE, don't assume that an online template is going to bring you resume success. I've seen FAR too many of these that come across as the cold, boring, generic drivel that makes me pass on them and search my large resume pile for the real gems.

Good luck and good hunting!
David J. Gardner


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