Conducting a job search today has become increasingly complex - especially when writing or revising a resume. There is so much advice about the best format, how to pass the Applicant Tracking System criteria, what to include, what to leave off - the task is daunting. The subject of whether to include Honors, Awards or Achievements is an ongoing discussion. Some recruiters are less interested in awards, while for others, listing a few relevant awards helps them build a better picture of the candidate.
For those who have received several Awards and Achievements during their careers, the question of how to include that information onto the resume presents itself. It is best to limit any awards to those only received within the last ten years. A recruiter is not interested in your achievements from your early life, and that irrelevant information will take up space on the resume, best used for important background experience. So listing early awards or high school achievements should not be added. Those listed should only have direct relevance to the job. The goal in providing information about Awards, Honors and Achievements is to let the hiring manager know more about your relevance, and the energy you will bring, for their specific job.
If the Awards or Achievements are a result of activities outside of the workplace, then many recruiters suggest creating an “Achievements” section at the bottom of the resume, which may highlight specific accomplishments in the community, or other areas not specific to any prior job. However, these awards will only add value if you include a brief description, and how they might relate to the skills required for the job to which you are applying. As an example:
Here the recruiter will recognize your leadership skills, your financial acumen and your empathy for other individuals, as well.
If you are an entry-level candidate with limited experience, then any accolades you may have received might be better placed at the beginning of the resume, to attract the attention of the recruiter and highlight the skills that match the position to which you are applying.
If you received special recognition during your recent academic career, it would be better to add that information under the specific school/college/university, in the Education section of the resume, so that the recruiter will immediately see your level of accomplishment while at school. You might initially think that you should not include academic awards or graduation honors, but these achievements show the hiring manager that you are a hard worker and seek improvement. There are many ways to list Education on the resume. Always list the name of the institution, the year of attendance a/o graduation, and the area of concentration. Then add in any relevant course work and awards, as appropriate.
When adding your career information, it is preferable to add the Honor or Award under the specific job or role you completed; and only include the most relevant or recent awards. Just listing the award is not sufficient; you must also describe the impact of the award and quantify the results. In this way, for an employer who does not recognize a specific award, they will understand better the context within which it was earned. For example:
The supportive information demonstrates to the hiring manager the level of importance for this specific achievement and, more importantly, how your efforts in gaining this recognition will benefit a potential new employer. In addition to the required skills on the job description, the company is always interested in assessing how you might be of value as it relates to work ethic, culture and other soft skills.
All Awards and Achievements should include a date, the title of the award and the recognition for which it was awarded. All awards should be listed in the same format to present a consistent and organized document. You should add only awards that directly match the requirements listed on the job description. Incorporating words from the job description to describe your achievements will advance the possibility that your resume will past the ATS software and set you up for an interview. Including action words such as, “awarded”; “achieved”; “recognized for”, is language that will help your resume stand out.
A partial list of awards to add to your resume, if they are relevant to the job, include: