Gold stars, blue ribbons, and trophies are all awards we might receive when we’re growing up. And though we may outgrow the gold stars, as adults, we still receive recognition for the excellent work we do on the job or at school.
Mentioning your “gold stars” on your resume may seem like overkill or that you’re bragging. However, including awards, scholarships, and other outstanding achievements on your resume can help your application rise to the top of the hiring manager’s “must interview” pile.
Why You Should Add Awards and Scholarships to Your Resume
No matter the field or job market, your resume helps make the case why the hiring manager should pick you over the other applicants. If it comes down to you and one other candidate, having awards and scholarships on your resume can give you the edge you need to land the job offer.
Beyond being impressive, awards and scholarships help demonstrate that you have the skills and qualifications to do the job. Instead of claiming you can do X or Y, awards and scholarships prove that someone else agrees you can do X or Y so well that they gave you an award for it!
Which Ones to Include
As proud as you should be of all of your accomplishments, you shouldn’t include every single one on your resume. Not only does it take up a lot of space, but it’s also unlikely your perfect attendance award from third grade will help you get the job!
Only include the awards or scholarships that are relevant to the role and prove that you have the skills for the job. The exceptions are if you’re a recent graduate and have general scholarships you want to highlight or the award is well-known and prestigious (like an Oscar).
Likewise, the awards you include on your resume when you’re right out of high school or college are very different from the awards you might add when you’re mid-career. Getting a four-year paid scholarship to college is impressive but may not be relevant 20 years later when you’re applying for a C-suite position.
Below are some examples of the different types of awards and scholarships you may want to consider adding to your resume.
- Honor roll
- Department award
- Honor society membership
- Top performer
- Leadership award
- Mentorship award
- Peer award
- Well-known and respected awards for your industry
- Inclusion on a round-up list (30 Under 30, for example)
- Association awards
- Athletic awards
- Community service or volunteer awards
- Military awards or commendations
- Well-known awards (Eagle Scout)
How to List Awards or Scholarships on Your Resume
To get the most out of your awards and scholarships, include on your resume the relevant information that gives context and meaning to your achievements.
List the name of the award or scholarship exactly as it appears elsewhere (online, official documentation, etc.).
In addition to the year, note how often the award is given (monthly, quarterly, or even yearly, if you know).
Who Awarded It
List the name of the awarding body, particularly if it’s not obvious from the award name. That said, depending on the entity that gives the award, you may want to leave the specific name out and use something more general. Saying “state political party” is more neutral than saying which political party gave you the award.
Why the Award is Given
This information is optional, but if it’s not apparent from the award name (Volunteer of the Year), describe what the award is for or what it recognizes.
How many people were you up against for this award? Was this nationwide or your department? If you can quantify how large the pool was, include that information so the reader understands how competitive the award is.
Why You Won
Though this is an optional section, including why you won can help quantify your achievement. For example, if you won for Best Advertorial, explain what you did or why your campaign won.
Where to List Awards or Scholarships on Your Resume
You can include your awards or scholarships in several sections of your resume. However, consistency is key. Highlight your awards on only one section of your resume instead of sprinkling them throughout.
Here’s what formatted award information looks like for each resume section.
List the award as a bullet point under a job title:
- Top Sales Associate 2017, 2018, 2019: One of five sales associates nationally (total of 200 associates) to rank in top 10% of sales
An award or scholarship is a bullet point under the degree information:
- Dean’s List: Fall 2018 – Spring 2021 (all 8 semesters)
- Outstanding Senior, 2018: Awarded to one graduating senior for excellent grades and commitment to the school community
- President’s Scholarship: Full tuition scholarship awarded for academic excellence
Depending on your situation, a dedicated awards section may make more sense. Format this section similar to the work history section, though you may not need as many bullet points. For example:
Volunteer of the Year for [Name of Organization]: 2020
- Awarded to one volunteer out of 3,000 statewide for consistent and dedicated commitment to the organization
- Volunteered for over [X hours] per month
- [Information about the specifics of the work]
It may make sense to include the award information in the summary of qualifications statement. This ensures it’s at the top of your resume and is likely one of the first things a recruiter sees when they review your resume:
Dedicated and award-winning customer service professional and three-time winner of the Most 5-Star Customer Reviews Award.
Take Pride In Your Achievements
Think of adding relevant awards and scholarships to your resume this way: you’re providing third-party proof that you have the skills and abilities to get the job done!
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