Best Free Resume Builder Websites
There are hundreds of online resume builder websites, and many of them say that they are free to use. This is technically correct – you can build a resume, enjoy the keyword features, etc. However, many of them make you pay once you’re ready to finalize it.
So here is our guide to six of the best actually free resume builder websites. After building a few, you may be interested in paying to create a resume with a nice design. It’s up to you, but we do recommend beginning with our list here.
Before You Start Your Resume
Did you know that most employers use resume screening software known as an application tracking system (ATS)? Because of this, job seekers should begin their resume building by knowing what a good resume looks like, particularly when it comes to making extensive use of keywords in their industry. Many resume builder sites provide keyword suggestions for this very reason.
As you sit down to build your resume, do a little research on your industry and dream job. This will help you see the top soft and hard skills employers are looking for in your resume. And remember, soft skills are the non-technical skills such as leadership and collaboration. Hard skills are technical skills, such as a trade skill (like carpentry) or experience with a type of software (like Salesforce). Use the most relevant keywords to help get your resume noticed.
Use Jobscan to Get Started
Jobscan is not quite a resume-building website. However, the site’s wealth of information on ATS software, as well as easy-to-follow job search guides, will help you as you select your favorite resume building website. After you’ve built a resume (or two), follow the instructions for a free resume scan to increase your chances of getting selected to advance in ATS software.
What’s the point of having a good resume? Isn’t it just about getting yours in first and showing that you have decent professional experience?
In reality, good jobs frequently have hundreds (or even thousands) of applicants. Most resumes never get into the hands of hiring managers. A good resume doesn’t get you the job, but it can make the right kind of impression to guarantee you an interview.
That’s why it’s important for you to understand why you would try to build a great resume in the first place. Great resumes get you the interview. The next step after building your resume is knowing how to ace your interview and land that perfect job.
Paying for Fancy Resume Templates
Most resume builder sites offer a free text-only resume. Resume Genius, is an example of a site that helps you build a resume, and once you’ve finished, you can get a PDF version if you pay for a membership. While the free download is not a working resume (like a .txt file), the resume builder tool can be very effective at helping you create the content of your resume.
You may find that after using a website or two to help build your resume, you can transfer the content into a nice template in Microsoft Word or decide to invest in getting nice-looking resume that you are proud to share.
Also, keep in mind that you will want to update your resume regularly. At first, that might mean building a few different versions to target specific jobs you are interested. Beyond that, you may need to update your resume every couple of months.
Even if you have to pay a little to save and continue editing your resume at a resume builder website, you might prefer that over building your resume from scratch over and over again (though, some job seekers actually prefer to do it the “hard” way). It’s up to you.
Top 6 Best Totally Free Resume Builder Sites
The five sites below offer you a full, free PDF download version of your resume. Nearly any resume-builder will give you a free .txt version of your resume, but that isn’t something you’d want to submit to an employer. Nevertheless, we actually went in and used each of these sites below to verify that users can build their resume from start to finish (“finish” meaning that it will allow you to download a PDF version of your resume) without having to pay a cent.
Signing up for and building your LinkedIn profile is not too much different from creating any social media profile. Take a look at a few LinkedIn tools to help you make the most of your profile.
After completing your profile, navigate to the “More” button near the top right of your profile. Select the option to “Save to PDF.”
After saving, you may find that your profile is longer than two pages. If that is the case, scale back your profile content until your PDF download is two pages or less. Make sure to save the content you eliminated somewhere else so that you can put it back on you profile once you’ve downloaded your PDF resume. While you want your resume to only be two pages or less, you want your LinkedIn profile to remain as extensive as possible.
If you want to draft a fancier version or enjoy more variety, you can try playing with LinkedIn Resume Builder. Before you can access this feature, you will need to subscribe to a Premium Career membership.
If you’ve already created your LinkedIn profile, Kickresume allows you to sign-in with your LinkedIn credentials (I recommend this). After logging in, answer the quick, 5-step survey to help you get started. On the template select page, make sure to note which templates are free and which will cost you money (“Pro”). Be advised that the sample below for “Free” will look much different than your actual finished resume, but it will still look clean and download as a PDF.
For the purpose of this guide, I am selecting the “White” template (as it is free and near the top). To begin, make sure that you have your job history and skill list handy. Again, if you’ve built a strong LinkedIn profile, that is a good point of reference and will already have everything you need.
As you complete the initial pieces of your resume, I recommend making extensive use of the “Add Phrases” feature so that your descriptions will match what employers are looking for. After entering your job title (you might try a couple different titles to select all the phrases that apply to you), make sure to proofread each phrase you’ve added. I encountered a couple of misspellings and grammar errors.
Kickresume allows you to include your last three jobs. If you want to include more than your last three employers, you will need to upgrade to a pro membership or try a different resume builder site. However, employers appreciate a brief resume, so it is not necessarily a bad thing for you to only include the three last or most relevant jobs you’ve had.
As you continue through the resume building process, you are ultimately responsible for the content within each section. Therefore, pay attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation so that the content remains consistent.
In the Education section, you can continue to use the “Add Phrases” tool so long as you understand that the tool only works for job titles. If you wish to add key skills gleaned during your education, you may have to search for those phrases using the equivalent job title. As with the Work Experience section, you may only include three degrees before you are required to upgrade to a Pro membership.
If you want to include additional sections, such as Achievements or Certificates, those are accessible only to Pro Users.
Before downloading the final resume, make sure to Preview your resume carefully. Check for anything that looks confusing, as well as bad grammar or misspellings. Once you are ready, hit the blue “Download” button at the bottom. The website will prompt you to upgrade your membership. However, you are not required to upgrade. You can choose instead to “Edit to Basic,” which will only change the font to something more generic. Save your resume to your desktop and distribute as needed.
This site doesn’t even require you to create an account. You can begin immediately building your resume from the home page. Another great advantage of this site is that it will only produce a one-page resume. Depending on how much job history you have, this may be a challenge, but employers love one-page resumes.
Begin by selecting a template. If you carefully constructed your LinkedIn profile (again, I strongly recommend that you complete your LinkedIn profile before building your resume), you can simply upload your PDF-downloaded LinkedIn profile (see above).
If you chose the “Upload Resume” option (as I did), you’ll head to a dashboard where you can clean up the format and content. If you chose the “Create New Resume,” you will simply input the content from scratch within the same dashboard.
Notice the Editor on the side wherein you can edit each section of your resume. Each section offers you phrase suggestions that may help you if you are building the content from scratch. Once you have everything just as you like it, select the download button on the far right toolbar.
This site is the quickest and easiest I’ve found to build a resume. However, if you are a fan of the resume builders that recommend keywords and phrases, this one isn’t for you. But if you already have the content ready to go, this will be one of the fastest sites to use.
When you begin building your resume, you’ll notice a note at the top letting you know that you can download your resume, but unless you sign up for a paid membership, you won’t be able to save your work. You should plan a half hour or so to do your resume in one sitting.
The dashboard is straightforward to follow. You don’t have to use every section listed on the left hand side. But you should at least complete Basic Information, Work Experience, and Education.
Once you’ve completed your work, visit the bar of options on the top right and do a Quick preview.
If you are satisfied with your work, go ahead and Download your resume to your computer as a PDF.
CakeResume has more of a LinkedIn feel to it. You first create a profile, and they will let you upload an existing resume to start working with. The PDF download of your LinkedIn profile works great for this.
After uploading (or manually creating) your profile, you will be asked a few simple questions. Bear in mind that Cake Resume will actually help you with your job search, if you are interested in a paid membership.
Once you’ve created your profile, you should see an option near the top to “Export Resume.” Select that option to begin building your resume. As a point of clarification, even after creating your profile, Cake Resume will only convert your profile into a resume if you pay to Subscribe. Otherwise, you will need to build it using their free non-subscriber tool.
If you choose the free option, select the middle button, “Make resume from scratch.”
From here, you will build your resume almost as though you were building it on Microsoft Word. This design dashboard will be enjoyable for those that like to design. If designing your resume from scratch is not for you, you may prefer to use one of the other four options in this article.
Once you’ve built your resume as you like it, go to the top left and select Publish or PDF. You can download your resume to your computer or share it.
Canva can be used to build resumes along with a wide range of other documents. You can create your designs from scratch or select a pre-designed templates to help design your resume
While some of its unique templates come at a price, there are a number of outstanding resume templates available for free.
Canva’s eye-catching templates go beyond the typical resume layout while keeping a professional appearance. It also allows users to access their resumes online or through the mobile app, available for both iOS and Android.
I hope you’ve found this guide to actual, free resume builder sites helpful. Don’t forget to take advantage of Jobscan’s free keyword optimizer tool. Also, consider creating an infographic resume in addition to your traditional resume.
And don’t be afraid to continually update your resume as you begin your job search. These tips will help you keep your resume refreshed.