Developing a business resume is overwhelming. Where do you begin? Intelivate shows you how to start a resume in four steps that will set you up for success.

98% of job seekers are eliminated at the initial resume screening and only the ‘Top 2%’ of candidates make it to the interview…

That quote from industry expert, Robert Meier, really stood out to me in the article, “Why Only 2% of Applicants Actually Get Interviews,” by Peter Harris. In my 20+ years of professional existence, I’ve seen many resumes. I’ve laughed, cried, yawned, and many times, I don’t get past the first section.

The days of mass distribution of your resume are OVER and is why I am often asked to review resumes and they never go back without a ton of comments and redlines.

I am going to give you some very powerful and unique resume strategies to help yours stand out. The first thing you need to understand though is the purpose of your business resume.

Purpose of a Business Resume

If you don’t have a correctly defined resume goal, you’re doomed before you type the first keystroke.

Think of the best I-will-never-ever-forget-this-never-ever date you’ve gone on in the past. The best ones left you wanting to see and know more about the person – REALLY wanting to see and know more.

That’s the purpose of the resume. You want a hiring manager to say,

“I NEED to meet this person!”

Leave the hiring manager with that feeling of your best I-will-never-ever-forget-this-ever date.

Tease ‘Em. Make HR NEED to meet you.

1. Define your career future.

Once you land your perfect job, the business resume is often used for first role assignment, career progression, and project planning. It’s a baseline of information that an organization has to begin those plans.

2. Attract unknown job opportunities.

Even if you have absolutely no desire to leave your company or search for another position, by following these resume and promotion strategies, you’ll open the door for a job promotion.

Yes, that’s right. This will increase the chances that opportunities you never dreamed possible or that you never even thought of coming to YOU as opposed to you chasing them down.

Now isn’t that just a happy thought?

3. Build & promote your personal brand.

Think of a resume as a single-page website that is one paper. It should accurately showcase the value you provide and the uniqueness of your brand.

The job market today is incredibly competitive. Having skills is not enough anymore. Hiring managers want personalities that define and support a workplace culture.

With the purpose in mind, let’s dive into your business resume strategies to help you land your dream job!

Whether you are building your first resume or you are a seasoned leadership executive, these resume strategies will set you apart from the 98% of all other applicants and move you closer to landing the interview.

I will give you a lot of tools and references throughout this series.

how to start a resume intelivate career strategies
How to Start a Resume: I know you are overwhelmed at where to even begin. Follow the four steps below – especially the assessment tools – to set your business resume up for success.

Starting Your Resume and Building Your Strategy.

Don’t you dare start feverishly typing out your business resume before you’ve done a lot – a TON – of preparation. It amazes me that most people skip this step in their resume strategy.

If you skip preparation, you end up with a disconnected resume at best.

When you thoroughly prepare before you write it, you end up with a strategy.

Preparing is the most critical step of your business resume development as this is the core of your content and job strategy. Step away from your resume and keyboard and be sure to do the following before you even type the first letter.

1. Define and Organize Achievements.

For each company/position, identify your biggest 3-5 achievements in each of the following areas:

  1. People
  2. Process
  3. Technology/Systems
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For each of these areas, define the specific 3-5 business and financial impacts to the company.

In other words, how did the business benefit from you being in the role or project?

Intelivate's impact template for how to start a resume
How to Start a Resume: Defining your accomplishments and organizing them across people, process, and technology is a critical step for organizing the content for your business resume.

Why is it so critical to define your impact before you begin developing your resume?

Most job descriptions will focus on these three areas and include qualifications around people, process, and technology expertise.

You are going to use these strategically in your business resume content to keep it from showing you did ‘tasks’ (yawn) to proving that you impact business.


2. Define and Document Your Career Legacy.

Here’s how we define legacy at Intelivate:

how to start a resume define your legacy for your business resume intelivate leadership legacy poster "Your legacy will be defined by the passion and impact of the people you influence. What do you want your legacy to be?"
How to Start a Resume: Defining your legacy will give you powerful content to show a direct impact on a business resume.

This is true personally and professionally, even if you do not have a leadership ‘title.’

Don’t let the leadership title get in the way of your definition.

Please and thank you for this.

What is a career legacy?

When people (colleagues, leaders, direct reports, channel partners) think back to you in that role, what is the 2-3 sentence description that they would give about the legacy you left?

Think specifically about the impacts you had, the influence you used and the general lay of the culture of the organization or team.

How did you enhance it?

How did you positively change it?

Especially for executive leadership roles, this should be the primary highlight of the effectiveness of your influence. It is sometimes a tough definition to develop, but invaluable in the result.

Need some help?

Ask former colleagues, mentors or leaders. After all, these are likely the people you impacted and influenced.

Why is this critical?

Your legacy definition will not only provide content for key parts of your resume, but it will also help in preparing for your interview.

The more you prepare and look ahead to the next step, the more likely you are to succeed.

As a bonus, you will probably find out impacts and influence that you had not thought of to leverage in your resume strategy.


Because it comes naturally to you, so it does not seem like anything unique or special. To others, you seem brilliant. To you, it’s ‘simple’ to them it’s ‘impossible.’

I write about the concepts of easy versus simple in this article.

3. Get a Dedicated Phone Number & Email Address.

There are too many reasons why you need to have a dedicated phone number and email address attached to your resume. This number should be used ONLY for your business resume, online presence, recruiting and hiring.

It will give you an entirely dedicated space for your resume, job, and overall career strategy.

  • What if you forgot to pay your wireless bill?
  • Alternatively, you cannot pay your wireless bill?
  • What if your current mobile number is owned and controlled by your current employer?
  • Are you on a family plan with someone you went out with twice and you think it is going to be forever?

Although I hope it is forever, let’s plan for the worst.

Google Voice

Google Voice has an entirely free VoIP service that lets you select a number. You can even port your current number to the service for a one-time fee.

The great thing about Google Voice is that you can make and receive phone calls from any device (including the iPhone). It also has sophisticated call routing so you can forward

It also has advanced call routing so you can forward a call to particular phones or devices – you can even specify routing rules based on the incoming number, time of day, or the day of the week.

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There is a fully functioning SMS/MMS integration through Google Hangouts as well.

Also, it is free. Did I mention that?

I will not go into all the specifics of how to set it up, but if you need any help once you try, let me know!

Google for Work

You will need a Gmail or Google for Work email address to signup and utilize the service. Especially if you are a more senior executive and if you already have a personally branded website, I would go ahead and get a Google for Work account as you can use a custom domain instead of

It adds more personalization and keeps your career strategy and personal branding components all in one sandboxed space.

Plus you get access to a wealth of other features including all the Google Apps, enhanced domain control, security through a unique admin panel. Google for Work starts at $5/month for 30GB of storage. The unlimited storage plan is $10/month.

how to start a resume - intelivate career strategies kris fannin
How to Start a Resume: You will learn in upcoming chapters how to track your business resume analytics using dedicated tools such as a phone number and email address.

4. Use Career & Personality Assessment Tools.

One of the secrets to happiness and success is truly being self-aware.

One of the most useful assessment tools for developing self-awareness is self-assessment.

Early in college, I took several of these industry-grade assessments and all of them together really helped me understand my ‘quirks’ as well as natural strengths and weaknesses.

Knowing my strengths and weaknesses has been a critical factor in helping me continue to be aware of those areas that I should leverage myself versus really leverage others.

If it is a natural weakness and I don’t find value in learning it, it’s going to take me 5x as long to do something that someone else who excels and loves it – and they are going to do it better.

Our partners at Truity provide a portfolio of brilliant scientific personality assessment tools with a real focus around self-awareness of connecting your personality to work and career.

They have a vast offering of both free and premium assessment.


Diagram depicting personality type quadrants - How to start a resume assessment tools
How to Start a Resume: Assessment tools are a great way of giving you both content and self-confidence when developing your business resume.

How to take self-assessments & use the results.

When you use assessment tools, you want the results to be accurate.

Make sure you are in a time and place that you can focus, take it as quickly as possible so that you do not overthink your answers and respond with the first instinct you have. That ensures you get an incredibly accurate assessment.

One of their premium assessment tools is the Typefinder®Personality Test and is based on the original 16 personality types created by Isabel Briggs Myers.

The results alone are always fascinating and truly powerful in helping you understand your personal strengths and potential.

The results of these assessment tools are invaluable to not only guide you to your natural focus but to also highlight your personality and strengths for your resume strategy and overall career path.

The TypeFinder Personality Test (Premium)

The TypeFinder is the scientifically validated personality type test that anyone can use. Learn your four-letter type, such as ENFP or ISTJ, and find out what it means for you in life and work. Plus, discover your personal strengths so that you can plan a life that sets you up for success.

Take the Truity Type Finder Test now!

Career Surveyor (Premium)

The Career Surveyor™ is a comprehensive, scientifically validated career test that will help you discover the best career path for you. You’ll discover:

  • The best careers for your unique interest profile
  • The top earning and fastest growing careers that suit you
  • How to stay motivated by choosing a career that excites you
  • How to harness your natural talents to achieve success

Take the Truity Career Surveryor test now!

Need some inspiration to get you started? Take a look at this model resume that landed a person his dream job.

After you have finished preparing to develop your business resume, it’s time to start one of the most missed development strategies – resume keywords and analysis.

Need one of our experts to review your resume?

Resume Development Guide Sections

How to Make the Perfect Resume

Part 2: Resume Analysis and How to Choose Keywords for a Resume

Part 3: Resume Verification and How to List Resume References

Part 4: Resume Sections and What to Put on a Resume

Part 5: How to Make a CV Stand Out Visually