SparkResume is a better way for students to build their résumé. Content auto-formats to fit on one page, and styling can be changed with a single click. I designed/coded the front end, and you can check out the beta version at SparkResume.com.
Building a resume is a lot of work. Styling, formatting, resizing... who has time for all that? Certainly not the always-busy college student! My classmates are always complaining about how much effort it takes to create and update their resumes, so I grabbed my friend Saqif and we set out to build a better way.
My friend and I built this project as part of an independent study at Cornell, so our overarching goal was to have a minimum viable product by the end of the semester. I handled the front-end of the tool and set a few goals for how the SparkResume experience should come across to users.
Making a resume is a chore, but SparkResume should give users a friendly and lighthearted experience.
The tool shouldn't try and juggle too many balls at once. It should just be really good at making resumes.
Users should feel like instant experts! Complex actions should be condensed to simple and intuitive interactions.
How can I make the experience better than Word or Google Docs?
Resume builders aren't anything new, so the first thing I did was look into what current products existed. I surveyed a group of friends on the methods they use for making their resumes, and I was surprised to find out that one two people used a resume builder — everyone else uses Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
Differentiation is super important in such a crowded marketplace, so I worked with my friend to come up with as many potential solutions as we could think of. We pitched our ideas to our friends to get feedback. Based on what our sample user responses said, we created a plan for the basic structure/feature set our prototype would need.
This was by far the longest part of the entire process. Saqif and I spent a few weeks familiarizing ourselves with Ruby on Rails (the back end language we decided to use) and making a proof-of-concept for our web app. We hosted a few user testing sessions to improve the editing interface.
In what ways can I make the résumé building experience feel fun?
Making a résumé is usually considered a chore, so I wanted to create an experience that flipped that assumption on its head. My goal was for our brand to be vibrant and lighthearted, in contrast to the very dull and lifeless resume builders out there.
I created a little mascot for SparkResume to further reinforce SparkResume's casual and approachable vibe.