Give Your Military Resume a Human Voice

I recently stumbled upon a Yahoo! Hotjobs blog post by Liz Ryan, a 25-year HR veteran and former Fortune 500 VP, entitled, “10 Boilerplate Phrases that Kill Resumes”. In it she explains that one of the biggest shifts in the job market from years gone by is what constitutes an attention-grabbing resume. The following is an excerpt:

“You can make your resume more compelling and human-sounding by rooting out and replacing the boring corporate-speak phrases that litter it, and replacing them with human language — things that people like you or I would actually say.

Here are the worst 10 boilerplate phrases — the ones to seek out and destroy in your resume as soon as possible:

• Results-oriented professional
• Cross-functional teams
• More than [x] years of progressively responsible experience
• Superior (or excellent) communication skills
• Strong work ethic
• Met or exceeded expectations
• Proven track record of success
• Works well with all levels of staff
• Team player
• Bottom-line orientation…”

Ryan goes on to demonstrate how adding “the human voice” to a resume could look. Many military job seekers seek out the advice of professional military resume writers to supplement the advice they receive through TAP/ACAP programs. At, one of our military resume writers might replace stale phrases with the following:

“I’m a loyal, military-trained electronics technician with the drive and technical expertise to troubleshoot complex, interoperable systems through root-cause analysis. While deployed overseas, I prided myself on successfully executing emergent repairs to critical navigation and communications systems consistently when others could not, and saving over $700K in tax payers’ money by preventing the need for outside assistance…”

Overused catch phrases aren’t necessarily deal-breakers, but they may elicit an eye-rolling response from seasoned hiring managers and HR professionals.  With this in mind, why take the risk?  A more dynamic, “humanized” summary will grab the reader’s attention when strategically placed near the top of your resume.  Think about the traditional placement of the antiquated, yet ever-popular “objective” statement.  Then consider substituting a boilerplate phrase-free narrative like the one above to make your military resume really shine.