Should you use a resume builder as a resource for job applications?

Creating a resume is an important task in a professional’s life, but it can also be an extremely overwhelming one in which you make a slew of decisions. What font should I use? How many pages should my resume be? Should I include my college internship? Should I use a resume builder? The answer to this last question can be tricky. Steve Saah, executive director for Robert Half finance and accounting, helped Ladders figure out if candidates should be using resume builders when crafting their applications.

What is a resume builder?

A resume builder is a tool that often constitutes an automated process in which you follow a template and input your information. The builder will ask you a series of questions and then take the information that you provide to generate a resume for you.

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Should you use a resume builder?

At the end of the day, Saah doesn’t discourage using resume builders but encourages candidates to make each resume specific to each job to which they submit an application.

“I think it can reflect poorly on an individual if they don’t take the time to really tweak it for a specific job or company that they’re applying to,” Saah said.

By reading the job description, researching the company, and including industry vernacular, candidates will be able to make their resume stand out for specific job applications. So, if you can do that with a resume builder, go ahead and do that. But often, especially for candidates just entering the workforce, it’s hard to create a unique and interesting resume with a resume builder.

“The problem with resume builders that I’ve seen over the years is that if you use that as an end all be all, you end up with a finished product that looks very generic,” Saah said.

A resume that is specifically crafted for a specific position and company will be way more successful than a “plug and play type document” that candidates send out to any company they can find.

In general, using a resume builder creates a product that doesn’t look extremely polished, professional and doesn’t differentiate your skills from any other resume that was done in that manner.

“I think resume builders can be a tremendous tool that helps you start the process, but ultimately I would encourage people to sit down with someone in your industry who can help walk you through the process of how to differentiate yourself,” Saah said.

When meeting with an industry professional or recruiter, Saah recommends asking how you can make a resume that stands out, is well constructed, and best fits specific positions.

The biggest mistakes people make on resumes

Grammatical errors are the most common resume mistakes that Saah notices, and these mistakes are way more common recently than in the past, he said. Taking the time to rid your resume of any grammatical mistakes will help your resume stand out against ones with obvious errors.

Listing responsibilities instead of accomplishments is the second most common mistake that Saah sees on resumes.

“Today you have a lot of people that are probably performing the same functional job, but its the accomplishments over the course of your career that can really set you apart from others,” Saah said. “So taking the time to really line up your accomplishments with the job or company you’re applying for…that can be a huge plus.”

Not listing hard and soft skills are the third most common mistake that Saah notices on resumes. Most people know they should list hard skills on their resume, but often they pick a solid list of five and leave that set each time they apply to a job. Tailoring a specific list containing a mix of hard and soft skills will greatly increase your chances of landing an interview for that job.

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