8 Times You Should (or Shouldn’t) Include an Award on Your Resume

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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
May 23, 2024 at 7:14AM UTC
If you have awards under your belt, it's no surprise that you probably want to include them on your resume. There are times when you should and shouldn't include awards on your resume, however. 

What are 5 times you should include your awards on your resume?

Here are five times when you should include awards on your resume.

1. The award is relevant to your industry.

If the award given to you is well recognized within your industry, it may be worth including it on your resume. After all, hiring managers within the industry will see the award and understand it's significance.

2. The award is relevant to your job.

If the award given to you is a prestigious one within your industry and for your specific job (or for the job for which you're applying), it's absolutely worth including it in your resume. You never know the difference it can make in separating you from other candidates with other similar experiences but who haven't been given the same award for their work.

3. The award was recently given.

If the award was recently given to you, it's likely relevant enough to include in your resume. Unless you're totally switching industries (which you can totally do!), if the award is a new decoration of yours, it can hold a lot of weight.

4. The award was from the company for which you're applying.

If the company for which you're applying gave you the award, you'll definitely want to mention that on your resume! Whether they recognized you for your work, for your charity efforts or for something else, they've shown respect for you. You want to remind the company that they've "chosen" you before, so they should choose you again.

5. The award is extremely difficult to earn.

If the award is extremely difficult to earn (maybe it's only given to a handful of people or just one winner out of thousands of candidates), you'll want to include it on your resume. Whether or not it's relevant to your industry, job or the company at all, it shows that you're a hard worker deserving of recognition.

What are 3 times when you shouldn't include your awards on your resume?

Here are three times when you shouldn't include your awards on your resume.

1. The award is totally irrelevant to the industry.

If the award doesn't relate at all to the industry for which you're applying, it's likely that hiring managers aren't going to think twice about it. Unless the award is one that they'll recognize and that holds prestige within the industry, including it probably won't help you get a job.

2. The award was given to you ages ago.

You might be wondering, 'Should I include high school awards on resume?' The answer is no. If you're out of high school and applying for jobs, in most cases, you shouldn't include anything from high school on your resume. Likewise, if you've been out of college for some time, awards that were given to you then are no longer necessary to include on your resume.

3. The award doesn't say much about your capabilities as a professional.

If the award doesn't tell hiring managers who you are as a professional, it won't matter to them. Maybe you won an award for the best dish at a cook-out or an award for raising the most money for a charity, but if you're applying for jobs in editorial or fitness or marketing or some other totally different industry, hiring managers are not going to care.

How to include your awards on your resume.

How do you write accomplishments on a resume, anyway? Here are three simple ways to do just that.

1. Create an awards section.

Create a section on your resume that's specifically for your awards and recognitions. This would be separate from your experiences section and your skills section. It could come before or after your skills, but make sure that, if your awards are really credible and could seriously impact hiring decisions, you make them as visible as possible on your resume.

2. List your award in your job description.

If you don't have a whole list of awards but, rather, just one or two awards to include with a specific job, include it in that job's description. Instead of creating a whole section for them then, you can just share that you've won awards for your work in that specific role. Be sure to share the significance of the award and the work you did to achieve it, as well!

3. Introduce yourself as an award-winner.

If you include a statement at the top of your resume, you can introduce yourself as an award-winning professional and name drop the award in that opening line. This works well if it's a prestige award that most industry insiders will recognize — and if there's only one major award that you want to highlight right off the bat.

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.

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