Seven apps to level up your resume
Make your job applications stand out.
When you apply for a new job, you want to put your best foot forward. To do that, you should display your work experience, strengths, and accomplishments in an eye-catching resume. If you want to add some sparkle and professionalism to this document, apps can help. These seven options come with templates and tools to make your CV the best it can be.
You can use Canva for all kinds of design projects, and one of its greatest applications is putting together a fantastic-looking resume. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a graphic designer, this app gives you maximum visual impact for minimal effort. You’ll be amazed at what you can produce—we’d recommend trying out Canva before any other app on the list.
Once you opt to create a new design, just say you’re looking to build a resume, and Canva will present a host of gorgeous templates. You need to pay for some of them, but many options come free. Pick one, then edit the preloaded text with your own details. You can easily add shapes and images, change the background, and tweak the appearance in other ways.
Canva works equally well on the web or as mobile app for both iOS and Android. It’s free, although you can buy a premium subscription that provides easier collaboration and more export options—but you don’t really need its features to build a CV.
When you’re designing a resume, VisualCV’s what-you-see-is-what-you-get interface will help you make it look as good as possible. Based on our experience with the app, you can put together a very professional and compelling CV in just a few minutes.
Choose from one of many high-quality templates, or start from a blank page if you prefer. Then drop in text boxes, shapes, and images as needed. The process of editing text and moving objects around the page is very straightforward and intuitive. When you’re happy with the resulting resume, you can export it as a PDF or receive a link that lets you share it on the web.
This web app works right in your browser, so it’s extremely convenient. If there’s one disappointment about VisualCV, it’s that some of the best templates hide behind a $12 a month Pro subscription. If you do pony up for it, you’ll receive access to analytics that tell you how often your CV has been viewed, among other bonuses. We recommend that you give the free version a try first to see if VisualCV suits your needs.
VisualCV on the web, free with a $12 per month subscription option
CakeResume is hard to top: It features a beautifully-designed interface that’s easy to learn how to use, offers a ton of great templates, and comes with features that let you connect directly to employers.
Rather than starting out with templates, CakeResume begins by asking you a few questions about your areas of expertise and the types of roles you’re looking for—it will use this information to fill out your CV later. Then, you can drag and drop different elements—images, divider lines, image blocks, and more—into position. Finally, you can link out to examples of your work, social media channels, or any other website. When you’re done, either share the finished document as a webpage or save it as a PDF.
While we would like to see more templates from this app, we like CakeResume’s ease of use and its mix of an online personal landing page with a more traditional CV. If you upgrade to a subscription account for $8 to $16 a month, you can access more advanced layout options and track your resume’s analytics.
CakeResume on the web, free with $8 to $16 per month subscription options
4. CV Engineer
If you’d prefer to compile your resume on your phone, then CV Engineer is one of the best mobile options. Its layouts aren’t exactly the most advanced, but they’re simple to put together on a handset, and will still organize your information well.
Your first step is to fill out the various sections—skills, interests, references, education, and so on. For each section, CV Engineer will provide little advice snippets recommending the sorts of subjects to cover and providing some examples. After you’ve entered your information, the app puts everything together for you. Then you save the finished product to your Google Drive account as a PDF, or send it to someone as an email attachment.
Payment works on the honor system: You can use everything for free, but if the resume you build with CV Engineer lands you a job, you can tip the developer £2 (about $2.50) or £5 (about $6.30). That’s better than many resume-building mobile apps, which won’t let you export your documents until you’ve coughed up some cash.
This web app certainly nabbed the right URL, and it gets just about every other aspect of resume-building right as well. If you want to prepare a good-looking document in minutes, it’s one of the best choices out there.
Just pick one of many neatly-designed templates, which range from reserved to colorful, and add your personal details when prompted. You have full control over the headings and descriptions, and can reorder sections or completely cut out the ones that don’t apply to you. It also features a handy LinkedIn profile importer, so it can automatically fill out your information based on the details you’ve uploaded to LinkedIn. Once you finish, you can share the document online, save it as a Microsoft Word document, or export it as a PDF.
However, once you select a template, you don’t have much artistic control over how your document looks—colors, fonts, and so on. In other words, if you want to make more detailed visual edits, look elsewhere. Still, Resume.com is very fast and completely free, so you can always try it out before moving on to a different web app.
Resume.com on the web, free
6. Google Slides
When you sit down to craft a resume, Google Slides might not be the first tool you think of. Think again: It’s free, gives you full control over your layouts, and lets you share your resume online in an interactive format.
Either stick with one slide and combine images, text, and shapes on a single page, or set up several slides to display experience, education, and other details on stand-alone pages. If you don’t want to start from scratch, Google Slides offers a handful of professional-looking templates. Because it’s a slideshow app, Slides lets you include animations—you might make your employment history fade into view, one role at a time—in the online display. When you’re done, you can publish the slideshow to the web and then just email the link to recruiters, or you can save it as a Microsoft PowerPoint file or a static PDF.
This option might take a bit more time, but the result will stand out from your competitors’ still, unmoving CVs. And it’s free, so you won’t waste money if you test it out but then ultimately opt for another app.
7. Microsoft Word
You might dismiss Microsoft Word because you don’t think it’s capable of producing eye-catching layouts—or you simply don’t want to pay for it. Still, it’s worth considering for two reasons: It does actually have good layout tools, and it offers dozens of templates for you to play with.
That means you can pull up a template and take a huge step toward a very good-looking resume. Just edit the text already in the template, and you’re good to go. And if you want to make adjustments or even start from scratch, Word lets you combine images, text, tables, and shapes very easily.
Although you can find free versions of Word on the web and as mobile apps, you’ll want access to all the templates to create your resume. For that, you need to buy the desktop version for $70 a year (which gets you continual updates) or a one-time fee of $150 (which doesn’t cover updates). That might seem too steep, but bear in mind that price also covers the rest of Microsoft Office.