Why Use Resume Writing Software?
The top performers in our review are LiveCareer, the Gold Award winner; ResumeMaker Professional Deluxe 18, the Silver Award winner; and Resume Companion, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing resume writing software to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 products.
Even if you spend hours laboring to create the perfect resume, most hiring managers won't spend more than a few seconds looking at it. That's why it's important to write one that conveys all your important information in a professional yet eye-catching manner – so yours stands out above the rest. Resume writing software helps you do just that, and typically all you have to do is type your information into the form boxes and watch the software format it into a professional, original and visually-appealing template of your choice. Once you've done that, it's ready to be emailed to a hiring manager.
Can You Create a Professional Resume Without This Software?
Unless you have a degree in or a natural talent for technical writing or graphic design, it can be tough to create a resume from scratch that strikes the delicate balance of being informational, professional, organized and eye-catching. It can be extra tricky if you aren't familiar with word processors like Microsoft Word or desktop publishing software like Adobe InDesign, the programs commonly used to draft resumes. Difficulty further mounts if you are unfamiliar with basic design principles like proper white space usage.
While it is possible to make a resume on your own, it can be extremely time-consuming and overwhelming if you don't normally create similar documents. Resume and CV writing software simplify the process.
What Is a Resume and What Does It Need to Include?
A resume, in its most basic definition, is a brief overview of your education, skills, and recent work and volunteer experience that you typically submit with or in lieu of a job application. The best resumes don't exceed one page in length, and highlight your information in a visually appealing, easy-to-read manner. They mainly convey that you are capable of holding down a job and have some relevant work experience. Any other information can clog up the resume, making it a daunting wall of text.
There is no one ideal resume layout that wins out over others and guarantees you a call from a hiring manager. However, by following good design principles and tailoring your resume to each job you apply for, you can increase your chances of landing an interview.
Resumes typically fall into one of two categories, chronological or functional, though you can combine the two. Each style has advantages and disadvantages, but both allow you to highlight your strengths and downplay weaknesses. Consider your recent work and volunteer experience, postsecondary education, and technical skills. Remember that you don't need to list every job, and, if it's been more than five years since you graduated high school, you don't need to include that either.
Chronological resumes are the traditional format. They are easy to scan and highlight your work history, starting with your most recent job. You also include your education and any special skills with this format. Consider using a chronological resume if you are a recent college graduate or have had continuous employment and experience in your desired field. It allows you to focus on previous job titles, skills and the dates you worked at each company. However, know that this style makes it more difficult than functional resumes to convey your unique skills and strengths, and it can magnify employment gaps and jobs you only held for a short time.
Functional resumes highlight your skills rather than your work history, which is ideal if you have a spotty work history or want to transition into a new career field. With this type of resume, you can summarize your work experience but use the bulk of the document to organize your skills, achievements and responsibilities into a few categories. By focusing on your skills, you can display your capacity to learn and execute tasks at work. However, many hiring managers may see through this and wonder where the work history is.
Resume or a Curriculum Vitae: Which Do You Need?
Many people have never heard of a curriculum vitae, better known as a CV. While it's similar to a resume in a few aspects, such as listing your education and relevant experience, it also has a few stark differences and is mainly a document only for those wanting to work within the realm of academia – for example, as a college professor. A CV is a static document that's purely informational and chronological; you'll never need to tailor it to a specific job you apply for.
A CV differs from a resume in a few distinct ways. While a resume is always short, the CV is always long in form, extending to about two or three pages. It documents your entire career, detailing all of your collegiate education as well as your relevant work and volunteer experience. It should list any scholarly research you've completed, especially if you presented it at a conference or published it. It also covers any awards, honors and similar credentials. It is almost always accompanied by a cover letter, whereas this isn't always necessary for resumes.
The best resume or CV maker software should be able to prepare just the right document for you, no matter your education level, work experience or career goals. Though only a few options on our lineup have the capacity to draft a great-looking CV, you can find templates and examples online. As with resumes, there isn't one all-powerful CV format, but the best examples follow good design principles and display the most relevant and impressive information clearly.
Sometimes, looking for a job on top of writing a resume can be too overwhelming of a process. Fortunately, there are job and resume services that can help you through both processes and do the heavy lifting for you. For more on writing a professional-looking, eye-catching resume, check out our articles on resume writing software.
Resume Writing Software: What We Evaluated, What We Found
As we tested various do-it-yourself resume builders, we judged how easy each was to use, as well as how many templates it offers for both resumes and CVs. We looked at what customization, reviewing and formatting options are available with each. We also checked for any included job search and interview tips.
Setup & Access: Get Right to It
Standing out from other candidates for a job is stressful, whether it's in an interview or simply hoping your resume catches the eye of a hurried hiring manager. The best resume writing software should take away at least some of this stress for you. It should be easy to use with an intuitive interface and have a wide selection of professional-quality templates for you to choose from. The software should offer you a variety of both chronological and functional resume options to match your personality and the job you apply to.
You can expect any resume builder software to have a built-in wizard that tells you what information you need to provide and then organizes it for your final document. In case you get stuck on what to add for your objective or job description, some software has a database of prewritten phrases you can opt to use. Additionally, it should give you the option to design a complementary cover letter that matches the design and formatting of your resume.
Design & Editing: Make a Good First Impression
Few things are worse than unknowingly sending out an unattractive or error-riddled resume to prospective employers. Make sure the resume writing program you choose has a built-in spell-checker. Good resume writing software also lets you customize details like fonts, spacing and the order of sections. Additionally, consider a program with a preview option so that you can review the result as many times as you need before sending it off.
Exporting: Put Your Best Resume Forward
Once you polish your resume, you need options for submitting a digital or physical copy of it. Obviously, most of these programs let you print your resume directly from the interface, but they also let you save and download your document into such formats as PDF, Microsoft Word, and plain or rich text. You can also save it as HTML to publish your resume on your website. Some software options host a direct link for your digital resume at no extra cost.
Support & Resources: Get Answers
Though the software applications are fairly straightforward, you may still end up with the occasional question or issue. The companies all provide at least one way to get directly in touch with their customer support teams. Additionally, there are various informational resources on their websites and within the software interfaces.
While you may expect resume writing software to do simply what its name implies, most of these programs also have built-in job search functions that scour your area for available jobs. A few let you email off your resume to prospective employers from right within the software interface. In most cases, you can also export your resume to major employment-based social media sites like LinkedIn.
If you're like most people, you get nervous for job interviews or forget what to say during them. Many of these programs also have helpful interview assistance features. With these, you can practice with mock interviews and rehearse with lists of the most common – yet tricky – interview questions. This can ultimately help you give a more confident interview and leave a strong impression on your interviewer.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We obtained the software in our comparison through retail purchase. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. The results of our evaluations were not provided to software manufacturers in advance of publication.
Resume Writing Software: Our Verdict and Recommendations
Three resume writing software applications – LiveCareer, ResumeMaker Professional Deluxe 18 and Resume Companion – soared above the rest in our comparison, mostly because of their usability, design and editing capacities, and export options. These are the factors we weighed as the most important in our rankings.
LiveCareer stands out above the rest, as it gives you great layout and customization options, letting you tweak your final document to be just right. ResumeMaker's greatest strength is its extensive quantity of templates and export formats to choose from. Resume Companion has a modern, user-friendly interface and a good capacity for customization.
With a clean, tight resume, you are far more likely to get noticed and land an interview than you'd be with a messy, dense or unorganized one. By using resume writing software, you can rely on professionally-created templates and thorough editing tools to get all your information neatly on paper. Additionally, if you haven't already found a job, you can dig into the job search and interview prep resources that most of these applications have, helping you get on your feet in no time.