Where To List Awards On Your Resume (With Examples)

By Amanda Covaleski and Experts - Jan. 13, 2021

Getting everything just perfect on your resume can be a difficult task. You need to be able to sell yourself while giving a brief look into your professional history, your skills, your career objective, and your qualities. You might get caught up in writing concise yet detailed work history, but there’s one thing you can put on your resume to give it an extra boost and stand out.

Since there are a few ways you can incorporate your awards, accolades, certificates, and accomplishments into your resume, there’s no reason not to include a few. No matter what you choose to highlight or how you go about it, including your awards and distinguishing yourself from the applicant pool is a must.

Listing your professional or relevant personal awards on your resume is a great way to catch your reader’s eye and have them take a closer look at what you have to offer. In some cases, awards can be the difference between getting asked to interview and getting passed over.

With this in mind, we’re going to walk you through where you should list your awards and honors and give you a few examples of awards you’ll want to include on your resume. Follow our tips, and you’ll be well on your way to making a great impression with your updated resume.

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What Are Awards on a Resume?

Just like you tell potential employers your skills and your work history, you can list your awards, certifications, or other honors that are relevant to your industry on your resume. If you have anything like professional certifications, school awards, scholarships, competitions, and sometimes even big promotions, you might want to add them to your resume.

You can include anything related to the job description in your awards section, and don’t be afraid to switch it up for each different job you apply to.

The great thing about awards is that there’s a whole range of them, and you can show off your hard and soft skills with the awards you choose. You’re not limited to listing technical commendations (like Best Software Programmer on your college robotics team) on your resume; in fact, it also helps to show off your soft skills (think something like Most Valuable Team Leader).

If you don’t have many official awards or certifications to highlight, that’s not a problem. Sometimes people swap out an awards section for an accomplishments section to show employers what they’ve achieved. Plus, an accomplishments section gives you a chance to show a potential employer what you value and consider your greatest successes.

No matter what you decide to put in your awards section, make sure it’s valuable to you to anyone who reads your resume. You should only include things that are relevant to the position you’re applying to, and that will make sense to a recruiter. Take a moment and think about what you want to add. Would an award for MVP on your college basketball team be relevant to a software development position you’re applying for? Maybe not, but it could be valuable if you’re applying to be a personal trainer.

You also want to make sure your awards are recent. If you’ve been in the workforce for a few years and you’re applying for mid-level jobs, you probably don’t want to include the fact that you were on your college’s Dean’s List for a few semesters. But, if you’re a recent graduate, that information is useful and relevant for hiring managers. Keep any awards or certificates within the last few years to make sure they’re timely.

Why would you go through the trouble of sorting out what awards you want to include on your resume? Well, awards can make you stand out from other applicants. Having certain recognitions for your hard work, intelligence, or other commendable skills can show an employer that you’d be a great employee. Plus, recruiters like to be impressed, so if you can show them something that will wow them, they’ll be more likely to invite you to interview.

Showing your accomplishments will also help fill in your personal and work history a bit more. Maybe you don’t have professional experience in a certain field, but you have a skill related to that industry on your resume. Adding the certification from a course you passed to master that skill will help potential employers better understand just how you got to where you are.

How to Include Awards on a Resume

Just like you should have a section of your resume for your skills, education, and work experience, you can include a section for your awards. It’s up to you to decide how much detail you want to go into about what you list. For example, there are some awards that most people will recognize and will understand the importance of, like if you participated in a Fulbright Scholar Program.

Some other awards or certifications might require a bit of explanation. Think about specific awards from school clubs you were involved in or awards from your company that people outside of your organization might not know of. These types of awards and certifications should be explained a bit if you list them.

Another way to include awards is to add them in the relevant existing sections of your resume. If you want to talk about an accomplishment from college, you can add the award or certificate to your resume’s education section. You might need to give some explanation if there’s room and show how it applies to the job you’re applying for.

No matter how you approach listing your awards, you should always use action verbs and at least name the award, the organization that awarded it to you, and the year you received it. This can help anyone looking at your resume place the award in some kind of context and give them the information they need to research it on their own if you don’t explain it. It also shows how recent and relevant your knowledge or skills are, and the more recent your awards are, the better they’ll look.

If you want to explain the award, it’s a good idea to include the scope and how the award recipients were determined. Indicating the scope of the award will let anyone who reads your resume know if you were chosen from a national, regional, state, or local pool.

Letting people know how many others were considered for an award will make you stand out even more. Similarly, including anything about how the award is awarded gives more context to the honor and shows how great you are.

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Types of Awards to Include on Resume

You can include any type of award on your resume as long as it’s relevant to your profession, industry, skillset, or the job you’re applying for. Common awards and certificates included on resumes fall under the large categories of academic, professional, industry-related, and personal.

Here are a few types of accolades you can include on your resume.

  • Dean’s list awards

  • Published work in industry publications

  • Promotions

  • Professional skills course certificates

  • Company awards

  • Grants and scholarships

  • Leadership positions

  • Community or civic awards

  • Latin honors or graduation distinctions

  • High results on standardized tests

  • Professional association awards

  • Volunteering awards

  • Language skills

  • Athletic awards

Examples of Including Awards on Your Resume

No matter how you decide to add your awards to your resume, we have a few examples for you. Just remember, it’s tempting to include all of the awards you’ve won and accomplishments you’re proud of, but make sure everything you include is relevant.

Even if you’re super proud of an award, if it doesn’t have meaning to whoever is reading your resume, it might not help you get the job. You can always bring it up in your cover letter where relevant, or mention it when you have an interview, though.

Including awards as a separate section:

AWARDS, CERTIFICATES, ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Dental Public Health Certification- National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards, 2020

  • Guest contributor- Dental Weekly Magazine, 2020

  • “Dental Care for Infants” Course- Dental Care by Crest Oral B, 2019

  • Best Dental Provider 2019- Springfield Community Board, 2019

  • Certificate for International Volunteer Service- American Dental Association, 2018

Including awards in resume sections:

EDUCATION

State University, City, State, 2015-2019
B.A. in Communications
Class President, 2018-2019
Dean’s List 2017-2019
State University Fellowship Award Recipient 2019

EXPERIENCE

  • Communications Coordinator, ABC Company

    • January 2019 – Present

    • Supporting corporate communications agendas

    • Creating company-wide weekly email updates

    • Editing external email blasts

  • Business Communication Certificate, Harvard Extension School

    • Completed March 2020

    • Key objectives: “Compose effective business communications, including proposals, presentations, and reports; Apply key communication methods—such as informational briefing, persuasive messaging, or conflict management—to meet specific objectives; Master the techniques of public speaking, including message development, content, projection, inflection, and delivery.”

  • Corporate Communications Intern, XYZ Company

    • May 2018 – August 2018

    • Created email blast lists for different employee types

    • Supported planning of corporate events, including internal awards ceremony

    • Drafted and edited employee handbooks for upcoming year

    • Won Most Valuable Intern Award 2018 for contributions to intern team, company initiatives, and creative problem-solving. One of three interns to receive this award.

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Author

Amanda Covaleski

Amanda is a writer with experience in various industries, including travel, real estate, and career advice. After taking on internships and entry-level jobs, she is familiar with the job search process and landing that crucial first job. Included in her experience is work at an employer/intern matching startup where she marketed an intern database to employers and supported college interns looking for work experience.

Expert

Don Pippin, MHRM, CPRW, CDCS

Don Pippin is an executive and HR leader for Fortune 50 and 500 companies and startups. In 2008, Don launched area|Talent with a focus on helping clients identify their brand. As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Digital Career Strategist, and Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Don guides clients through career transitions.

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