Debating between using resume builders or a resume-writing service? Let us help you make an informed decision.

If you're in the process of creating or updating your resume, you could choose to write it alone. However, in a world where resume-writing resources are readily available and affordable, getting help with your resume is easier than ever. Many are turning to online resume builders, while others are turning to professional resume-writing services to support their efforts.

While both have the same goal of delivering an impressive resume that results in a successful job search, each method has a different way of reaching that goal and its own list of pros and cons.

Online resume builders

There are numerous online resume builders available, with some of the most well-known being Zety,, ResumeGenius, VisualCV, ResumeHelp, and ResumeNow. Though each resume builder is unique in how the user builds resumes within the platform, the concept behind each is essentially the same, with similar core offerings between each of them: pre-designed templates, pre-written content, resume-writing tips, cover letter creation, and various downloadable formats to choose from. Let us break it down further:

  • Pre-designed templates: Each resume builder offers different resume templates to choose from. For example, Zety and ResumeHelp both provide more than 20 different templates. The templates are relatively easy and quick to populate, allowing you to fill in the blanks on each page or via tabs broken down by sections.

  • Pre-written content: Many resume builders also come with pre-written, customizable content that you can use to populate your resume.

  • Resume-writing tips: The majority of reputable resume builders offer resume-writing tips. Some will also do a check once your resume is complete to provide you with recommendations on how to improve your document or indicate if you've missed a critical section.

  • Cover letter creation: Many resume builders also offer a cover letter writing service. This option allows you to create a cover letter that's formatted similarly to your resume to make it easier for you to keep everything consistent.

  • Various downloadable formats: Lastly, many resume builders online will allow you to download your completed resume in multiple formats, including Word, PDF, and Google Doc files.

While the core offerings of these resume builders can seem like positives — especially in the way that they outline what you need to know about writing your resume — there are also some cons to using resume builders.

  • The pre-designed templates have limited-to-no customizable designs, which means you don't have much freedom when editing the design of the template you choose. You can hope to find a template with a layout that meets your needs, personality, and industry, but it all depends on what the builder has.

  • A resume builder cannot guide you and draw the pertinent information out of your career history that will help your resume stand out.

Enter professional resume-writing services.

Professional resume-writing services

Professional resume-writing services offer several benefits that online resume builders do not. With a professional writing service, resumes are personalized, proofread, edited, and written with expertise to incorporate best resume practices and other industry trends. As a result, you get a professional and high-quality product to support your job search. Let us break it down even further:

  • Personalized touch: We often struggle when writing about ourselves — especially our accomplishments and successes. Unfortunately, doing so is necessary to include if you want your resume to stand out. A professional resume writer can draw out essential and pertinent details to include on your resume so that it truly represents you at your best. A writer can also help you determine the best layout and sections to include, so your resume highlights you, your industry, and your personality while also impressing prospective hiring managers.

  • Knowledge of industry and recruiting trends: A professional resume-writing service has knowledge of industry trends from a recruiting perspective, which can be incorporated into your resume to better serve you and your job search. This is extremely beneficial, especially with the rise of applicant tracking systems (ATS) screening (and tossing) most resumes before they even get into the hands of a hiring manager. A professional writing service will incorporate relevant keywords and make sure that your resume is formatted correctly so that it passes through the ATS unscathed.

  • Polished product: Unlike the majority of job seekers, resume writers are experts at writing resumes. Hiring a resume writer means you get a clean, professional, proofread, and error-free document you can feel confident about submitting with your job applications.

A professionally written resume is also more likely to help you land the job quicker and earn more in the process, according to this TopResume survey. The study concluded that job seekers using a professionally written resume had a 32 percent higher rate of landing the job over a job seeker who wrote their resume themselves. Plus, those job seekers were valued at seven percent more than their DIY counterparts.

Choosing between a resume builder and resume-writing service

When considering resume builders versus resume-writing services, it's a personal choice. One of the most alluring appeals of resume builders is that they allow you to create a decent-looking resume in a short amount of time. However, they can't offer you the personalized touch that a resume-writing service can. You want to feel confident that your resume represents you and your goals to the fullest, while also adhering to industry trends and passing the ATS, which a resume-writing service can help you do. Many resume-writing services also offer quick-turnaround times if that's a requirement for your circumstances.

On the surface, it can appear that resume builders are the less expensive way to go. However, though many of the online resume builders offer “free” services, you can rarely download a usable format for free. Also, as stated above, a professionally written resume can actually help you earn more. This, coupled with the peace of mind of knowing you have a professionally written resume to support your efforts, definitely offsets the cost differential between resume builders and resume-writing services.

So what will you choose?

When it comes to resumes, our expert writers know exactly what you need to succeed. Learn more about our resume services today!

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