Want to give your resume an instant facelift? Eliminate the word “responsible” from it entirely. It is used so frequently in military performance evaluations, as well as in job descriptions, postings and resume writing in general, that it has a way of creeping into military resumes. This word is so overused that I’ve made it a rule at MilitaryResumes.com to avoid it altogether.

The word “responsible” is not only passive, but it signifies lower level management candidates, not top notch talent. When you think about it, “responsible” doesn’t really say anything; it’s too vague. It doesn’t give a clear indication of what you actually do. Do you perform the functions or direct them? Replace “responsible” with eye-catching verbs. The following are some of my favorites.

  • Accelerated: Signifies you were able to speed up the rate at which a certain activity or process happened and, in turn, deliver positive results. Best accompanied by a quantifiable achievement (i.e. by how much efficiency increased and/or how much time, manpower and money was saved).
  • Architected: You created, designed, developed and built something (either something tangible or intangible like a process or vision) from cradle to grave.
  • Catapulted: You were able to 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.
  • Imagined: You thought of something new that brought about positive change and results. Creativity is a difficult to instill in someone via traditional training methods. Therefore, exploiting this trait may add value to your resume.
  • Leveraged: You were able to favorably “exploit” existing relationships 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 to breathe life back into it.


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