Awards and Achievements on Your Resume: Go Beyond Average!

Getting an award is almost always an achievement. But then again, you don’t get an award just for any achievement.

Still, both achievements and awards belong on your resume. That is, as long as they can help you get your desired job.

This guide will answer these pressing questions:

  • What is the purpose of your resume’s awards and achievements section?
  • Why put awards and achievements on your resume?
  • What kind of achievements should you mention?
  • What’s the right way to write this section?
  • Is there anything else you should know?

What is the awards and achievements section on your resume?

As the name suggests, it’s the section on your resume where you list relevant honors, achievements or awards you earned for going beyond average.

It includes scholarships, competitions, work-related awards or even promotions to leadership positions in your job.

Also, you don’t have to create a separate section for your notable achievements. You can also include them in your other sections, such as education or work experience.

On the other hand, if you want to make sure that hiring managers notice your achievements, you can create a separate section for them and name it “Awards and Achievements”or “My key achievements”.

Why list awards and achievements on your resume?

To stand out. The job market is very competitive. Anything that can help you stand out works to your benefit.

Employers prefer candidates with accomplishments. You are more likely to be invited for an interview if your resume is focused on your achievements, rather than mere responsibilities.

Think of any notable achievements that deserve recruiters’ attention. Do away with false modesty and think of at least three moments in your career that you’re really proud of.

Let’s say you’re a fresh graduate. Any past scholarships, the dean’s list, or academic awards can help you get that internship.

Or maybe you’re an experienced professional. Maybe you’ve contributed to a breakthrough that helped move your industry forward or contributed to your company’s recent revenue growth. Achievements like these will surely leave a better impression than heaps of buzzwords and worn-out phrases.

However, no matter how impressive is your achievement section, it shouldn’t be the main focus of your resume. Your experience and qualifications are the main selling point. Because of that, the ideal place to list your awards and achievements is probably inside your work experience section.

Or you can include them in different parts of your resume. Add your educational accomplishments in the education section, professional in the employment section, and so on. Either create a subsection named “Key accomplishment” or write them in bold.

What kind of awards and achievements should you mention on your resume?

First, create a list of as many of your achievements as you can think of. Think of any important moments of your academic, work or even personal life that you’re proud of.

Here’s what kind of accomplishments you can include:

  • Academic awards and achievements
  • Grants and scholarships you received
  • Dean’s lists
  • Graduation distinctions
  • Awards for specific activities or subjects (e.g. Fine Art Award)
  • Extraordinary results in examinations or tests
  • High GPA
  • Being elected a class representative
  • Industry-related awards and achievements
  • Awards from professional associations (e.g. CSS Design Award)
  • Published industry-relevant articles
  • Published books
  • Work-related awards and achievements
  • Promotions to higher positions
  • Awards like Salesperson of the Year, Employee of the Year, or Best Performer
  • Qualifications gained
  • Volunteering or personal awards and achievements
  • Awards like Volunteer of the Year
  • Completion of a marathon for charity
  • Increasing donations for a charity
  • Learning a new programming language

Now that you’ve finished your list, the next step is to tailor it to the job you’re applying for. Read the job description and ditch anything irrelevant.

If you’re a seasoned professional, you should skip your academic achievements and accomplishments that are older than 10 years. Only include irrelevant awards and achievements if they’re from very prominent institutions or companies.

How to list awards and achievements on a resume?

Either distribute them across other parts of your resume or put them in a dedicated section.

How to list awards on a resume?

First, can you mention them as as part of your education or employment history? Scholarships can be included under the education summary. Awards you received an award for something you did as a part of your job, include it under employment history. But if you were awarded for doing something outside of the usual scope of your work, however, display it proudly in your awards section.

  • Always include a date of recognition. Let an employer know you still have all the skills that earned you the prize.
  • Include the purpose of awards and accomplishment they recognize. For example: Earned Clio Music Award 2016 for Use of Music in the Best Ketchup advertisement campaign.* Significance.Are you the only one who received it? What did you have to do to accomplish it?
  • Scope of the award. Was it a regional award? National? Or even international? Be specific.

How to list achievements on a resume?

Listing your achievements on a resume is always a very effective way of catching employers’ attention. They can be divided into personal and professional achievements.

Personal achievements include high grades in studies, won competitions, volunteering, or participating in sport events.

Professional achievements include increasing job performance, saving the company money, facilitating its growth, or exceeding work targets.

This is how you can include them in your resume:

  • Consider significance. Only list achievements in a separate section if they’re notable enough.
  • Use other sections instead. Your entire resume should be about your achievements, not only one of its sections. Always try to include achievements together with your work history, education, or even hobbies.
  • Always quantify. A measured achievement is particularly impressive. Claiming that you “Cut client costs” doesn’t sound as impressive as “Cut client costs by 16 % in 12 months.” Be specific!

Awards and Achievements Piece of Advice

  • Keep it short. Avoid writing long paragraphs and use bullet points instead.
  • Prioritize. If you decide to designate an entire section to your achievements, think about which accomplishments are the most significant. Would you be impressed by it if you were a hiring manager?
  • Avoid controversy. Some awards and achievements may be too personal or controversial. Avoid listing any political or religious accomplishments.
  • Don’t exaggerate. Avoid making something up. You might be asked about your award and accomplishments in your job interview. Or they might contact your references. Lying or exaggerating can cost you a job.
  • Mention your biggest accomplishments in your resume summary. If you’re a seasoned professional with many notable achievements, they deserve to be placed on the top of your resume. A resume summary is the first thing hiring managers read. Impress them from the get-go.

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