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Written by Emily StokerEmily Stoker

How to list awards on a CV with examples

12 min read
How to list awards on a CV with examples
Artwork by:Katya Simacheva
Starting to gain recognition in your industry? Here are our top tips for listing awards on a CV, including how to include awards on your CV and which ones will best increase your opportunities. Read on to optimise your professional growth by including your awards on your CV.

In today's competitive job market, it’s more important than ever to stand out from the crowd and leave a lasting impression on the hiring manager. While a well-crafted resume showcases your skills, experience, and achievements, there’s no doubt that awards — when used correctly — can add an immeasurable boost to your profile. 

Including relevant awards on your CV is about more than highlighting your individual accomplishments. It presents evidence of your abilities from an external point of view. The hiring manager will take it for granted that you think you’re great. But what about other professionals in your industry?

Awards on your CV serve as a powerful testament to your expertise, signalling to hiring managers that your work has been endorsed by others. This can establish you as a standout candidate in the process. Plus, even if you haven’t won any official awards, there are plenty of ways to engineer your CV to have the same credibility as it would if you were the recipient of a prestigious award. The key is leveraging the recognition you have already received during your education and professional career.  

So how should you go about including awards on your CV? More importantly, which ones are likely to give you that competitive edge? In this blog post, we will cover:

  • Why you should list awards on your CV
  • Which awards you may wish to include
  • Where to share the awards and how to describe them
  • Examples of how to write them for optimum impact.
Rows of awards on CV
Rows of awards on CV

Should you list awards or achievements on your CV?

While both are impressive, awards and achievements are not interchangeable terms. Achievements reflect personal milestones and experiences, while awards are accolades that signify external validation and recognition of exceptional performance in a specific field. You should have examples of each on your CV where possible. However, awards on your CV demonstrate an external recognition of your efforts and achievements.

While achievements may demonstrate personal growth and experiences, awards — particularly if they’re from esteemed organisations or institutions — show that others in your industry have noticed your great work and decided it deserves praise. That’s why awards on your CV can provide an added layer of credibility and really prove your exceptional performance in your field.

Employers, clients, or collaborators often seek reassurance about your capabilities before engaging in a professional relationship with you. Awards on your CV — prestigious or not — can improve your profile in the eyes of others. It can help make hiring managers and other professionals confident that you’re the right choice and make you appear more reliable.

Overall, when they’re used right, awards can be a powerful marketing tool. What better way to distinguish you from your peers and highlight their exceptional abilities on a single piece of paper? However, if you’re ready to position yourself as an expert, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Keep reading for the best ways to use awards on your CV to position yourself as an expert in your field and increase your opportunities.

Expert tip

Achievements count too

Including achievements in addition to awards can help create a more holistic narrative of your professional development. This balance of external validation and personal growth will showcase the full scope of your expertise. Highlighting your trajectory can help you stand out as a well-rounded professional.

Which awards should you include?

If you’re a highly recognised professional, you can’t include every award you’ve ever received. In fact, you shouldn’t. When it comes to including awards on your CV, strategic selection is key. Aim to limit the number of awards to a maximum of three to four. This avoids overwhelm when the hiring manager reads to. Plus, it means you’re more likely to include only the most impactful awards on your CV.

Strategically prioritising those three to four awards will maximise their impact. To determine the relevance of an award to your desired position, firstly, align the skills demonstrated by the award with the job requirements you’re targeting. 

Your ability to prioritise awards based on their significance, recency, and relevance to the targeted job can also help to showcase the fact that you just get it. You understood the brief and can craft your communication accordingly. That’s not something that can be said of all candidates and is just another opportunity to make you stand out.

Next, consider when you received the award. Recent accolades hold more relevance as they show your ongoing commitment. Plus, older awards might give the wrong impression that you have nothing more recent of note to show the upward trajectory of your career.

Of course, arguably, the most important consideration is that the chosen awards are relevant to your specific job or industry. Highlight only the awards that showcase your expertise in the desired field or demonstrate your ability to excel in areas crucial to the role.

This could also be an opportunity to do some extra research and really tailor your awards to the specific job application. Do you have any awards or official accolades linked to an association you know the company you’re applying to partner with, is funded by, or generally respects? Those should be in your top three to four awards you include!

Awards examples to include in your CV

Educational award examples for your CV

Firstly, consider educational awards. Educational awards on your CV demonstrate your commitment to learning and can showcase your academic achievements. This is especially important if you’re working in a field such as science, academia, or a vocational field where your studies are integral to your day-to-day duties.

  • Scholarships
  • Fellowships
  • Academic honours
  • School leadership roles
  • Faculty award for academic efforts
  • Excellent exam results
  • University society leadership position and/or prizes

Work award examples for your CV

Work-related awards on your CV can be a great addition. These often refer to recognition internally within your previous roles. It may focus on your technical skills or your soft skills. Either way, it’s a great way to show that you have been a valued employee in the past.

  • Employee of the month award
  • Best performer award
  • Company awards recognising your performance
  • Qualifications and certifications

Industry award examples for your CV

Industry-based awards are also worth considering. These awards demonstrate your expertise in your field and can showcase your commitment to staying up-to-date with industry trends and best practices.

  • Industry press coverage
  • Industry association awards
  • Published books or articles
  • Successful securing of funding

Other award examples for your CV

There are other types of awards that could be worth mentioning on your CV, too. Depending on the role, you want to make sure that the inclusion of the following points back to the desired skill sets of a job. However, if the following cross over with your professional sector and the technical skills it requires, or alternatively if you are applying for a job requiring many soft skills, other awards and recognitions are worth mentioning.

  • Community involvement
  • Volunteer work
  • Arts and culture awards
  • Sporting awards
  • Press mentions of your work
Expert tip

No awards yet? No problem!

If you don't have any awards to mention, don't worry! Think of any recognitions from external associations that you could include. For example, were you selected for a one-day field trip you had to apply for during your time at university? Did you win a place on an industry course? These could help you achieve a similar objective.

How to display awards on your CV

There are several areas where your awards can be mentioned to optimise their impact on the hiring manager who is reading. Try to limit the mention of each particular award on your CV to one spot only to make the most of that precious CV real estate. That is, unless you want to include a brief mention of a particularly prestigious award in your CV summary and expand later in the document.

The other places you may choose to mention your award are your previous employment section or your education section. In most CVs, the previous employment one is the most important, and it’s the section that the hiring manager will look at most closely. If an award is relevant to your time in a particular position, include it as one of the bullet points underneath the subheading detailing that role. If you’re not sure how make sure you’re up to date with the basics of how to write a CV

You can adopt a similar approach if you decide to mention the award in your education section. However, if you have multiple awards, you may want to include creating a dedicated awards and accolades section. Here you can list those three to four most pertinent recognitions in reverse chronological order. Just make sure that whatever approach you choose, you remember to include the following essential information:

  • The name of the award
  • The year the award was received
  • Which organisation offered you the award
  • What you personally did (not your team or boss) to deserve the award
  • Any essential context to understand the relevance of the award

Remember to keep it as short and sweet as possible. If appropriate, quantify your achievement by mentioning details like how many people you beat to get the award and its impact. Anything that makes the award sound even more impressive is an added win, provided it’s true.

Key takeaways

  1. Awards on your CV are a powerful marketing tool that can differentiate you from other candidates.
  2. You should aim to include a maximum of three to four awards on your CV.
  3. Prioritise the most relevant awards to the job or industry and consider how the skills demonstrated align with the job requirements.
  4. Award mentions should include the basic who, what, and when of being received. Don’t forget to include relevant contextual information.
  5. Even if you don't have any awards, you can mention other recognitions from external associations that could accomplish a similar objective.
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