What Awards Should I Put on My Resume?

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Frank Hackett

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Frank Hackett is a professional resume writer and career consultant with over eight years of experience. As the lead editor at a boutique career consulting firm, Frank developed an innovative approach to resume writing that empowers job seekers to tell their professional stories. His approach involves creating accomplishment-driven documents that balance keyword optimization with personal branding. Frank is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PAWRCC).

Job seekers often question what awards are important to include when building a resume. The answer is that the value of an award is based on your target industry and when you received it. For instance, if you’re a professional with ten years of experience, you probably wouldn’t want to feature an award you achieved during high school. Over the course of this guide, we’ll provide insights to help you determine what awards are important for you and what details you can omit from your resume.

Include Academic Awards Early in Your Career

If you’re at the entry-level looking for your first job, you’ll want to incorporate academic awards to fill out space on your resume. Academic achievements will also provide you with content you can feature instead of professional experience within your industry. Once you’ve acquired five or more years of experience, you can safely omit these awards from your resume in most cases. That said, there are exceptions to every rule. For example, if you were pursuing a position as a professor of literary criticism, you’d probably want to include that you were nominated for the English award during your undergrad. In this section, you could also mention Dean’s List, scholarships, or associated grants.

Why Should I Include Awards on My Resume?

In certain circumstances, it may not be appropriate for a job seeker to include awards. Nevertheless, if the information is relevant to your industry, it may provide an opportunity to initiate a conversation with the hiring manager. Don’t be afraid to feature recognition on your resume, as you want to market yourself as a top talent who goes above and beyond expectations. When determining the relevance of an award, be sure to ask yourself if the information helps showcase who you are as a professional. If it isn’t pertinent, you should omit the information, as the last thing you want to do is pad your resume with irrelevant details.

Put Industry Awards on Your Resume

Industry awards have longer staying power than academic awards for most industries. For example, if the President’s Club for sales acknowledged you, this is important to feature even if the award is from years back. That being said, you want to try and prioritize your most recent recognition as much as possible if they match your target industry. Although you should never prioritize an award over your work experience section, highlighting the accolades you’ve garnered in the past can go a long way in establishing your credibility as a top talent in your field.

Feature Community Service and Volunteer Awards if Applicable

If an organization has recognized you for your community service, you should include these while pursuing opportunities within the nonprofit sector. Prospective employers within these industries value candidates with a strong commitment to public service, and these types of awards may help differentiate you from other applicants during your job search. If you’re pursuing a role outside of this industry, these can still help showcase different aspects of you as a professional, but they aren’t mandatory to feature.

Include Leadership Awards on Your Resume

Leadership accolades are relevant regardless of your target industry, as companies are always looking to acquire candidates who excel in people management. For example, if you have been recognized as manager of the year, you will likely want to include this information in your document. If you were a part of a committee that provided leadership development coaching and mentorship to employees, this is also useful to showcase on your resume. Hiring managers value job seekers with impressive leadership backgrounds, and these awards will help showcase your ability to lead and develop organizations.

Create a Separate Section for Patents

If you have been awarded any patents in the past or currently have a patent pending, you should consider creating a separate section to highlight them on your resume. Although these are different from receiving an industry award, they can go a long way in demonstrating your industry expertise. Being awarded a patent for a product design or feature is an outstanding achievement and may help to generate job opportunities in the open market. When creating a patent section, specify the status of the patent and the number associated with it on your resume.

How to List Awards on Your Resume

When including awards, you want to ensure that your information is correctly formatted on your resume. Start with the name of the award, the company you received it from, and the date you earned each recognition. If the award’s title lacks clarity, you may consider incorporating a one-line bullet point explaining what it was and how you achieved it. This is especially important if you’re changing industries. The hiring manager would be less likely to be familiar with the award if you earned it while working in a different field. Below, you’ll find a list of examples to help you build your awards section on your resume.

How to List Academic Awards on Your Resume

  • Dean’s List, Columbia University, Awarded 2017-2021 
  • Summa Cum Laude, Columbia University, Awarded 2021
  • University English Award, Columbia University, Awarded 2020 

How to List Industry Awards on Your Resume

  • Innovative Design Award, San Francisco Robotics Conference, Awarded 2020
  • Technology Innovation Award, Excelsior Technologies, Awarded 2019 
  • Robotics Research Grant, University of San Francisco, Awarded 2018

How to List Community Service Awards on Your Resume

  • Outstanding Service, Philadelphia Poverty Relief Foundation, Awarded 2021
  • Community Outreach Team Award, South Philly Non-Profit, Awarded 2020
  • National Daily Point of Light Award, Awarded 2019 

How to List Leadership Awards on Your Resume

  • Manager of the Year Award, Salesforce.com, Awarded 2022
  • Mentorship Award, Toastmasters International, Awarded 2021
  • Organizational Leadership Award, Oracle, Awarded 2020