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Coming first, beating the competition, rising above the rest. If you’re an award winner, then don’t hide your accomplishment. Our article contains examples and tips on what awards to put on a resume. Read now so that you can shine the best light on your awards and make your resume stand out.
Highlighting your awards and accolades on your resume may seem a bit like bragging, but if you don’t tell anyone about them, who will? To stand out to employers and rise above the competition, including awards on your resume is one way to do it.
Awards are proof that you have the necessary skills and experience to excel in the job opening. If it comes down to the wire and a hiring manager has to make a decision between two similarly qualified candidates to interview, highlighting an award relevant to the job opening could make all the difference. In this article we explore:
What awards should you put on your resume?
Where to put awards on your resume (with examples)
While it may be tempting to list every award you have received, from your top mark fifth grade book report to your first place finish in the 100 meter dash at college, it’s best to stick to those awards that are most relevant to the job opening. While any award deserves recognition, being selective ensures that you hit the target with your resume.
Here are some of the different types of awards you should include on your resume:
Awards achieved during your studies are a great way to highlight your academic success as well as your soft skills, such as teamwork, leadership, critical-thinking, and strong work ethic. This could include winning an annual university award or prize or earning a fellowship or scholarship for your outstanding academic achievements. If you secured a place on the honor roll, dean’s list, or participated in any honor societies, then include this information too.
Academic awards are particularly important on entry-level resumes, where showcasing your skills and achievements can alleviate any concerns over a lack of work experience. If you’re a more experienced professional, then it’s probably best to just include any notable awards, as subsequent awards in your career will be more recent and relevant.
Employee of the Month, Employee of the Year, or Top Salesperson in Q3? These are the types of accolades you should highlight on your resume. Company awards demonstrate your proven ability to excel in the workplace and are of great interest to hiring managers.
Make sure you explain why you received the award, rather than just listing the award title. For example, if you won Top Salesperson of Q3 by attracting three new clients to the business and, as a result, exceeded your sales target by 35 percent, then you should include this information.
Recognition from your chosen industry is true kudos, whether this is a personal award or for your contribution towards a team or company award. If the award was a group effort, then make sure you provide an outline of your specific role and contributions to avoid any confusion.
Examples of industry awards could include winning an award from a professional association (e.g., American Marketing Association award) or securing a place on a prestigious list, such as the Forbes “30 Under 30” or a roundup of the “Top 50….” related to your sector.
If you’ve won an extremely prestigious award, then mention it in your opening professional summary. Your summary is your initial pitch to a hiring manager and in prime position on your resume, so it makes sense to highlight any world-class awards here.
There are other awards that can be relevant to your job application but don't quite fit under the umbrella of education, company, or industry awards. Here’s some other awards options to put on your resume:
Athletic awards. Sports awards are a great way to demonstrate your teamwork, commitment, determination and leadership skills. If you’re targeting a role in health and fitness or as a PE Teacher, then they will resonate even more.
Community service or volunteering awards. Winning community awards or being recognized for contributions to a volunteer project shows hiring managers your strong sense of public service and may help you stand out in the candidate pool. If you’re targeting the non-profit sector, then definitely highlight these accolades.
Military awards. If you received any military awards during your service, then it’s worth including, whether you’re planning to return to a military role or seeking a civilian job. Stick to being strategic when deciding which awards to include. Personal or service awards are probably the best options to reflect your commitment and teamwork.
Once you’ve chosen which awards to include, the decision now is where to place them. When the hiring manager is completing the initial resume scan, you don’t want them to overlook an award that could help you move forward in the recruitment process. Here are three key sections to get your awards noticed on your resume:
Any academic honors or awards can be listed under the relevant qualification in your education section. In this section, keep the information as direct and succinct as possible, rather than going into the weeds with the finer details. Here’s an example:
Bachelor of Science (Hons.), Design Engineering, 2022 Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Dean’s List for 10 consecutive terms
Awarded the Knight Scholarship for exceptional academic achievement in high school.
Won the Roger Jones Presentation Award, 2021: Best presentation by an engineering undergraduate student (c. 150 students) on Design Engineering and Sustainability.
Highlighting awards under the relevant role in your professional experience section shows not only what you can do, but how well you can do it. While you may be a marketing superstar who connects with target audiences and boosts brand presence, winning an award in this area will go a long way in convincing the hiring manager you’re the right person for the job:
Marketing Executive | Feb 2018 - Present ABC Company, San Diego, CA
Won the Employee of the Year Award 2022 for boosting brand consideration by 35 percent over competitors via cutting-edge digital marketing approaches.
Earned the accolade of GPTW Champ and played a lead role in the delivery of the Great Place to Work, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative.
If you’ve acquired awards that don’t neatly fit into your education or work experience sections, then you can create a separate awards section on your resume. This would be placed toward the end of your resume, following the work experience and education sections. Here’s an example of an awards section ideal for a physical education teacher:
Won Volunteer Coach of the Year 2022 from Soccer Without Borders for leadership and training of the U14 soccer team to league cup success.
Awarded Best Article in Youth Sports by The Daily Times in 2021, covering the issues impacting high school sports.
Honored with a civic engagement award for contributions to building an inner city skatepark with the Kids First Community Project.
If you’re looking to rise above the rest with an impressive resume, check out Career.io’s Resume Builder to quickly and easily build your resume and land your dream job.
Including awards on your resume can help you stand out. Just make sure they are relevant to the job opportunity and will impress the hiring manager.
Highlight awards prominently in your education, work experience or a separate awards section, if necessary. Consider mentioning a particularly outstanding or prestigious award briefly in your professional summary, too.
Employers will want to know why you received the award, so it's good to provide some background. Just avoid too much technical jargon or overly-long explanations.
Be confident about your awards. It’s up to you to showcase them.
Helen is an experienced content writer, with expertise in corporate law, business, sales, marketing and education. Prior to this, she worked in recruitment and human resources, so she has a strong sense of what recruiters are looking for in terms of a potential employee. Helen loves exploring new places, writing blogs of her travel across Europe and enjoying trips to the US, Thailand and the Middle East. She is an avid reader of fiction, poetry, self-help books and factual content and also enjoys creative writing in her spare time, including poetry and children’s fiction.