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Tools to Improve Your Résumé

Just like résumé writers, who help you with the content of your résumé to improve your job search results, certain tools and services can help you make that content look amazing. And considering that someone is probably going to view your résumé on a computer screen, consider breaking away from the three possible templates available in MS Word and use any of the following.

The following services are listed in order of robustness of service, with the most complete services at the top and the simpler (think free) ones at the bottom.

Loft Résumés for the style conscious

Loft Résumés is a marketplace where designers sell their take on what a beautiful résumé should look like. Some of their patterns are stunning. If you check them out, you’ll see how one of these works of art would help you stand out from the crowd!

Prices typically hover around $99. You can browse the selection of designs, pick your colors, and then upload your now shoddy-looking MS Word–templated résumé for a complete makeover. In about two days, your new résumé is sent back to you in the style you’ve selected along with a matching cover letter template.

SplashResume to make it shiny

“Design is everything,” artistic friends will tell you. That statement is absolutely our reality. Well, the same kind of right-brained thinking holds true for résumés as well.

Whereas before, simply hiring a résumé writer for your content was enough, now you also need to think about how the design of your résumé tells your story.

One of the services offered by Splash Resumes is a graphic-design service. You send in your nicely written résumé, and you get back a work of art. Use this service to tell your story visually. You can pick a previously designed template or ask for a customized one. It’s a bit spendier, but it will tell your story.

Resunate to improve job match

According to Resunate, 72 percent of résumés never get seen, presumably because what was written in the document doesn’t correlate well with the actual job description. But Resonate provides a tool that compares your résumé with the job you’re using it to apply for and gives you a score.

It becomes a veritable sanity check so you can see the likelihood of your application getting considered. At best, you get a good score and move on. At worst, you get a crappy score and ask your best friend for a refund of the coffee you bought him to look at your résumé last week.

Rezscore for the hard truth

Unlike Resunate, Rezscore doesn’t need to compare your résumé to a job description to tell you it sucks. After uploading your document, it generates a surprisingly compete report of what you’re doing well and what needs some improvement. You may as well try it out, because it’s free.

Pongo for live résumé help

Pongo is an online tool for designing your résumé and cover letter while collaborating with live résumé writers while you work. You only pay when you print, fax, or e-mail your résumé.

Its design features are more customizable than other résumé builders’, and you can even modify the base template to your liking. This company was one of the first résumé builders, having started in 2004, and it’s put a lot of work into making the résumé-writing process easier.

MyOptimalCareer for a full package

MyOptimalCareer packages its award-winning résumé builder with other career tools, including a cover-letter builder, interview practice module, portfolio module, personal résumé-website builder, and video-résumé tool. The company has serviced over 1.5 million users through over 500 subscribing institutions that include colleges, universities, libraries, workforce boards, alumni groups, and trade associations.

The site offers the usual features for your résumé — nice templates, easy to use interface — but it also offers writing help and career guidance. Of the résumé builders you see here, MyOptimalCareer probably offers the largest variety of predesigned templates, each categorized by job role or industry. It also does the same thing for your cover letter.

This design flexibility coupled with the other job-search training tools and assistance comes at a price. At the time of writing this, a monthly membership is $19.99 but goes as low as $10 per month for an annual subscription.

ResumeBear for tracking info

ResumeBear offers a document-building tool. But it also offers features to help you track who you send the résumé to, whether they bothered to open it, and if they printed it out. This insider info can help you gauge whether or not you’ve made progress for that role. Also, the site invites employers to join the network, so you have a chance of getting seen by a recruiter member.

Jobspice to do your formatting

When you upload your résumé to Jobspice, the tool automatically puts it into a professional-looking format, which could save you hours messing around with headings, columns, and text boxes. In 15 minutes, the tool outputs a nice looking document ideal for e-mailing or printing.

CVMaker for more formatting

CVMaker is a free tool that lets you copy in elements of your résumé. You choose what format you want, and then you can download the finished product. Most of the templates are traditional yet very professional. What’s really nice about this service isn’t so much the designs but that it exports to plain text.

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