Employers often receive dozens to hundreds of applications for a single open position. Having awards and accomplishments on your resume is one of the ways that you can make your application stand out, but where and how do you list them? In this article, we examine the value of including awards and accomplishments on your resume, the common types of awards to include and how to include awards on your resume to impress potential employers (with examples).
What are awards on a resume?
When applying for a job, it is acceptable and often recommended, to highlight awards or honors you've received for your work or academic excellence. Whether you just graduated high school or college or worked in the professional space for years, showcasing your achievements will help you stand out in the hiring process.
While every employer has a list of required technical skills, also known as "hard skills," they also look for valuable soft skills. Awards can help demonstrate soft skills like teamwork, creativity and problem-solving abilities and are also great to include if you have little work experience and need to prove your abilities on an entry-level resume.
How to include awards on a resume
Here's how to properly include awards on your resume:
- List awards under the right sections.
- Include significant awards only.
- Quantify your accomplishments.
- Include award title, recognition level and date.
- Choose action-oriented verbs.
- Explain the achievement's impact.
1. List awards under the right sections
When listing your awards and accomplishments, you usually want to put them under their respective education or employment history sections. If the award is part of your education history, include it under your education summary. If it is relevant to past work experience, include it with your employment history. If the award is outside your scope of work and particularly impressive, such as an annual civic award, then include it in a separate awards section to highlight it.
2. Include significant awards only
Consider the significance of each of your achievements. Only include awards relevant to your current career goals and job search. For example, you would only list an award for playing the piano if you were applying for a job playing or teaching piano.
3. Quantify your accomplishments
Make your awards more meaningful by quantifying the actual accomplishment of receiving it. If you were chosen from a large pool of applicants to receive a scholarship, you may want to include those details to show how excellent your award is.
4. Include award title, recognition level, date and purpose
When putting each award or accomplishment on your resume, always include the official title of the award, the level of recognition (national, international, state, industry-specific) and the date of recognition. Also include the purpose of the award and what accomplishments it specifically recognizes.
For example: "Awarded the 2018 National High School Musical Theatre Award for Best Performance by an Actress".
5. Choose action-oriented verbs
When describing your achievements use impressive verbs such as "Awarded the ...," "Recognized as ...," or "Achieved recognition for...". This draws more attention to your honors and presents them in a more prestigious way.
6. Explain the achievement's impact
For any accomplishments that had a particular impact, explain in detail what influence your actions had. For example, if you lead a fund-raising program and raised $250,000 for a local hospital, you would explain how that money was used to improve the lives and medical care of the patients.
Types of awards to include on a resume
Here is a list of common awards to include on a resume. Remember, the accomplishments you include should remain relevant to your current career goals.
- Academic or athletic awards
- Awards of excellence in voluntary activities
- Academic achievements
- Job-related awards
- Dean's list or honor roll
- School leadership positions
- Best performer awards
- Employee of the month
- Community and civic awards
- Professional association awards
Sports awards and recognition can show your ability to lead, be a team player and be coached.
Scholarships can impress hiring managers and demonstrate a variety of your strengths that might be ideal for the position you're applying to. Explain the details of what the scholarship was for, how many students applied and what you received.
These could include accomplishments such as Outstanding Student of the Year, Valedictorian or holding a position in your school's office. Academic awards are great for entry-level resumes, to help show your skills and abilities without extensive job experience. Dean's list or honor roll awards may also positively affect a resume's impact on a hiring manager.
Related: How to Write an Entry-Level Resume
Best performer awards
Awards for having excellent performance in their area of work, such as the highest sales for the year, can show you are a valuable asset to an organization and that you take your job responsibilities seriously. Make sure to explain what you did to receive the award in detail and how you were recognized for it.
Employee of the month
If you consistently won an employee of the month award, take pride and include this on your resume. This type of award shows your commitment to your work and the ability to continually put forth your best effort.
Community and civic awards
These types of awards recognize you for your involvement in the community and show your tenacity to stick with a project long-term. Hiring managers like to see applicants active in their community and making a positive impact.
Professional awards and achievements
Professional awards from colleagues or management may include certifications, honors and other achievements for your job accomplishments. Including professional awards on your resume, relevant to the job you are applying for, is important when you have sufficient work experience and your academic achievements are not as significant. Examples include notably increasing sales or surpassing lofty career goals.
Examples of including awards on your resume
Here are some samples of how awards may look in different sections of your resume:
Listing academic awards in the education section
Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 2010-2014
National Merit Scholar Finalist
Listing professional awards in the work experience section
Inside Sales Specialist
Digital Inc., Milwaukee, WI 05/2014-06/2016
- Generated a 40% increase in new customer base over the course of a year through direct, network and >social marketing
- Directly responsible for managing vendor and customer relations
- Developed and implemented marketing plans through marketing analysis, that enhanced sales by 125% over >the course of 6 months
- 2015 Employee of the Year
Listing other relevant awards in the achievements section
- Top 50 Health Blogs and Websites to Follow in 2019
- For website.com, Awarded by Business/Media Name
- Best Wellness Websites of 2018: 25 Must-Reads for Health Professionals