As you set out to create a personal resume website, you will inevitably come across online resume builders.
These online tools allow you to create a resume that you can download, print, and send to potential employers without having to worry about the ever-changing best practices of a resume. Most online resume builders will allow you to create a resume for free, however, not all of them offer the same features.
Some of them will let you enter your information and allow you to download a printable version that’s ready to be sent to employers. In some cases, you will have the option to create a cover letter as well, and some of them will even give you the option to create a personal resume website to boot.
At first glance, they look attractive and tempting, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience writing resumes or building websites. They offer an easy solution and allow you not only to download the created resume but to email it to potential employers directly from their website. However, they also have major drawbacks that should be taken into consideration.
In this article, we’ll cover the pros and cons of using an online resume builder and share alternatives for creating a personal resume website.
Pros and Cons of Using an Online Resume Builder
An increasing number of online resume builders now have the option to create a personal landing page to accompany your resume. It’s a tempting feature but does that mean you should use them for your resume website?
Pros of Using Online Resume Builders
1. Minimal or No Technical Knowledge Required
You can upload your information from a Word document or enter it manually. You don’t have to worry about formatting the resume, nor do you need to have any coding knowledge to create a complimentary website to go along with it. All you have to do is upload the information and the resume builder will take care of the rest.
2. They Are Low Maintenance
In most cases, you can create several versions of your resume, tailored to the jobs you are interested in. Once you’ve created the resume, you can download it, often in PDF or .doc format and the accompanying website is automatically created for you. There is no need to worry about technical aspects such as hosting and keeping your site updated.
3. Customizable Templates
Although the number of available resume templates varies by platform, almost all of them have a few templates you can customize in terms of fonts and colors. You can even choose formats and styles that are best for certain industries. These templates make it easy to design your own resume, both in terms of a printable resume and a resume website.
However, as attractive as they are, there are some disadvantages to using online resume builders.
Cons of Using Online Resume Builders
1. No Control Over Your Content
One of the main drawbacks of using an online resume builder is the simple fact that you have no control over your content. The platform on which you choose to create your resume can at any point decide to shut down its website and stop offering their services. If that happens, your resume as well as your resume website are lost and you have to start over from scratch. Not to mention the potential for confusion when an employer decides to check out your resume website and comes across a dead link.
2. They’re Easy to Recognize
Due to a limited number of templates available, employers and HR managers can easily spot when someone is using online resume templates. Even though they offer customization options, they are not as robust as the options available when you create a resume yourself, be it in the traditional paper format or a modern digital format such as a resume website.
Here are professional resume options (for PDF or paper format):
3. Using a Custom URL Is Not Always Easy
Some of these resume builders will allow you to use a customized URL for your resume website. However, there is a big difference between a custom and a customized URL. A custom URL usually means you can use a domain name that you already own or that you can purchase one through the builder company.
A customized URL, on the other hand, means your website’s name will be used in conjunction with the resume builder’s domain and look like yourname.resumebuilder.com.
If you want to use your own domain name, it might not always be an option or it involves redirecting your domain to the resume builder’s servers.
4. Using Canned Sentences Can Seem Like Keyword Stuffing
When it comes to building an impressive resume, you want to highlight your skills and also your personality. You want to show the potential employer you're a good fit for both the position you’re trying to fill and the company's culture. Unfortunately, most online resume builders use canned statements and sentences that simply won't do you justice. There is little room to use your own creativity and let your personality shine.
Excessive use of keywords for a particular position may also leave the impression that you’re stuffing your resume with these terms in the hopes of getting through the initial machine-scan. While this may not appear that important, it can in fact hurt your efforts and result in your resume getting rejected.
5. They’re Not Really Free
Most online resume builders, if not all of them, will claim that you can make a resume for free. However, once you take a better look at the number of features offered for free, you’ll soon realize that some of the important features are only available if you upgrade to a paid account.
Some of them like Visual CV will leave a watermark on the downloaded version of your resume which is not suitable if you want to look professional. Similarly, some of them limit the number of templates available on the free plan as well as the option to use a custom URL or create a website in the first place.
All things considered, online resume builders are not the ideal choice if you want to leave a positive first impression and make it to the interview. Luckily, there are alternatives that are more flexible in terms of features and allow you to have more control.
2 Best Online Resume Builder Alternatives
The best way to make a personal resume online is to buy your own domain name along with hosting and create your own website.
By creating your website on a domain that you own, you are in complete control of your content. You can change hosting companies down the line and take your website files with you. You can decide how detailed you want to be. You can easily switch templates without having to worry about whether that is allowed or if you will need to pay for an upgrade.
You can let your personality show, as well as your creativity, by using your language to describe your past experience in your terms—without worrying about using the same repetitive statements as everyone else.
Most importantly, you can use your name as the URL for your website which shows you are a professional who is serious about your future.
1. Professional HTML Resume Template
Using a website template created specifically for a resume website is a great way to create your personal site. There are thousands of HTML site templates to choose from and they are easy to setup. All you need to do is replace the text with your information, upload the files to your web host's servers, and you’re good to go. Here is a curated selection of the best HTML resume site templates:
Another benefit of using HTML resume templates is that they allow for more customization options. You can customize and change the color scheme, upload your own images, change the fonts, and remove sections that you don’t need. You can add new sections if you find that you need more of them or you can duplicate certain sections if you have more information to present. Here is the Flatrica HTML resume template, which has great options to work with:
It’s also worth mentioning that by using an HTML resume template, you might also pick up a new skill - working with HTML and CSS code which you can add to your resume. This can go a long way toward showing potential employers you’re willing to invest in yourself and continually improve your skills.
2. Premium WordPress Themes
Another option for creating a personal resume site is WordPress and a WordPress resume theme. The benefits of using WordPress are many and more and more people are turning to WordPress for their websites. Here is a curated selection of the best WordPress resume themes making personal online sites:
Just like with HTML templates, there are thousands of themes to choose from. The themes also have a lot of flexibility, allowing you to change fonts, colors, add your images, and customize the theme completely to your liking.
Here is the popular ResumeX WordPress theme which you can quickly setup and customize to make your resume online:
You can also create additional pages to share more information as well as add a portfolio or a gallery that showcases your past projects. There are various plugins that will help you add a contact form as well as a Google Map to display your location in a more visual way.
Another benefit of using WordPress is the fact that there is no coding involved. Most hosting companies have a one-click installation wizard for WordPress and once you’re done with the installation process, all you need to do is upload your chosen theme. All the customization is done through the theme options panel or through Live Customizer.
But, the biggest benefit of using WordPress is that you can create a blog page and boost your chances of getting found by regularly adding new blog posts. You can write about your industry and share your knowledge on relevant topics, or you can use it to describe your experience and past projects in more detail.
Which Option Should You Choose?
Now that you know what the alternatives are, you might be wondering which option is the right choice for your personal resume website. Both HTML templates and WordPress themes allow you to do a lot more with your resume website, so choosing between the two may not be easy.
There is no denying the fact that HTML resumes offer more control than an online resume builder. The choice of templates is certainly greater and you can even choose between a portfolio resume template or a simple CV card.
Although modifying the template is relatively easy, it still requires you to be comfortable with editing code, or at least, willing to learn just enough to recognize which parts of the HTML hold the information you need to edit, delete, or duplicate. If you’re in a hurry to get your resume site up and running, an HTML template may not be the best choice.
A WordPress theme, on the other hand, allows the same level of flexibility as an HTML template. In fact, it’s easier to customize a WordPress theme simply because you don’t have to know any code to do so.
In most cases, changing the fonts and the colors is simple, only needing to pick the color from a color wheel or choose your preferred font from a drop-down menu. If you want to have complete control over your website, then WordPress should definitely be your choice.
How to Make a Resume Online - More Helpful Resources
Learn more about how to make a resume online in our multipart series: How to Make a Great Personal Resume Website (Ultimate Guide), or take your learning further with one of these helpful articles:
- ResumesWhat Should You Include on Your Personal Resume (CV) Website?Brenda Barron
- Resumes10 Creative Resume Ideas to Stand Out Online in 2019Julia Melymbrose
- Resumes10 Resume Website Mistakes to Avoid on Your Personal SiteBrenda Barron
Don’t Gamble With Your Online Resume
Online resume builders aim to take the headache away from creating a resume. As we’ve seen above, some of them even go above the basic resume and offer the possibility of creating an accompanying cover letter and a website. However, you should keep in mind that all of the resume builder services cannot compete with a thoughtfully crafted resume that matches the position and the company you’re applying for.
Considering your resume plays an important role in your job search, you shouldn’t take any chances that might make you appear unprofessional. Take matters into your own hands and opt for creating your own personal resume website that will make you stand out online from the rest of the applicants.