- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

From the Blog: Does Your Military-to-Civilian Transition Resume Need a Face-Lift?

by Jessie Richardson, Contributing Writer

Want to give your military-to-civilian transition resume an instant facelift? Eliminate the word "responsible" from it entirely. It is used so often in military performance evaluations, job descriptions, postings and resume writing in general, that it also has a way of creeping into military resumes.

The word "responsible" is not only passive but it also signifies lower-level management candidates, not top-notch talent. The word "responsible" does not really say anything. It is much too vague, with no clear indication of what one actually does - do you perform the functions or direct them?

Replace "responsible" on your military-to-civilian transition resume with a few of these eye-catching verbs. Here are some of my favorites.

  • Accelerated - Shows you increased the rate at which a certain activity or process happened and delivered positive results. Best accompanied by a quantifiable achievement, such as an increased percentage in efficiency or specific savings of time, manpower and/or money.
  • Architected - You created, designed, developed and built something tangible or intangible from cradle to grave.
  • Catapulted - You were able to successfully launch a product, service, or technology.
  • Championed - You were the driving force behind an idea, a technology, a process improvement, a service, etc.
  • Honored - You were chosen for special recognition because you excelled at your job.
  • Leverage - You were able to favorably exploit existing relationships to strengthen or expand other business operations.
  • Orchestrated - You had the vision to put together numerous components to create a complete whole, just as you would put together all of the instruments in a symphony to create a complete orchestral piece.
  • Pioneered - You created something new and revolutionary.
  • Revitalized - You re-energized something, breathing new life back into it.

Jessie Richardson, CPRW, is director of resume services at, the military-to-civilian transition experts. She is a Naval Academy graduate and a regular commentator on job search best practices for military-experienced job seekers. Read more transition advice online at the blog.

Return to June 2009 Issue