As anticipated, I love this. Your use of a real example was a great idea! Like you, I also noticed how interesting the marine veteran aspect could have been if not added as a vague part of a regurgitated list. And speaking of regurgitation, I bet I could write a program that automatically generates a resume. “Attention to detail, self-motivated, able to work under tight deadlines, excellent communication skills, out-of-the-box thinker…” Blah, blah, blah. These things are required by almost any job, so putting them in a resume is like saying, “Able to effectively metabolize food into usable energy to empower brain functionality.”
Your rewrite was excellent. Even with the common phrases, the fact that you made them applicable to his being a veteran brought so much more life and verity into them. Suddenly, I’m not just glossing over the words. Now I know he means what he says. Now it’s like saying my above example, but underneath a line about the individual being a marathoner or fitness buff.
And what you said about resumes being a last resort to you is valuable information. I hate that networking is so important (it seems fake to me), but it really, really is. I don’t know how it is across the board, but the recent Stack Overflow survey shows that most developers (28.3%) got their job by a referral from a friend! (http://stackoverflow.com/research/developer-survey-2016) It’s all in who you know. And, of course, it’s all about being you.