Awards and achievements on a resume elevate your CV by showcasing your successes. Including this section will make your resume stand out and ensure you’ll be well ahead of your competition.
The thing is, most job seekers outline their past experiences, responsibilities, and duties in detail — while forgetting to showcase how well they performed. Achievements and awards in a resume fulfill this purpose.
So without further ado, let’s show you how to list awards on resume, describe your academic achievements, and how to put scholarships on your resume to make it stand out.
This guide will show you:
- What is the awards and achievements section on your resume?
- Why list achievements and awards in your resume?
- Where to list awards and achievements in a resume?
- How to list awards and achievements on a resume?
- How to put scholarships on resume.
- Awards and achievements examples for different professions.
- Achievements and awards in resume examples.
- And more.
What is the awards and achievements section on your resume?
As the name suggests, awards and achievements on a resume is a separate section where you list relevant honors, achievements, awards, and acknowledgements you earned for going beyond average.
It can include scholarships, competitions, work-related awards, or even promotions to leadership positions in your job.
The name of this section is usually based on the contents of the specific awards or achievements you earned. And, even though these two terms are often used interchangeably, there's a distinction between the two.
So, what's the difference between awards and achievements?
- Awards are presented to individuals or groups by academic institutions, managers, businesses, or external bodies. Hence, they provide a third-party recognition of your value. If you win an award, you'll also get an official document validating it.
- Example: Gold Award for Leadership
- Achievements demonstrate how you've gone out of your way to benefit the company. They illustrate how you've exceeded expectations, excelled and added value on top of your regular duties. Achievements are usually quantifiable and they don’t require an official document.
- Example: Exceeded sales goals by 20% by bringing in 50 new clients.
Hence, you can name the section as "Awards", "Awards and achievements", "Achievements", etc. depending on what you want to include.
Finally, you don’t always have to create a separate awards and acknowledgements section for your resume. Instead, you can also incorporate them into your other sections, such as professional summary, education, or work experience.
But more on that later.
Why list achievements and awards in your resume?
- To stand out. The job market is very competitive. Anything that can help you stand out works to your benefit. You're more likely to be invited for an interview if your resume is focused on your achievements, rather than mere responsibilities.
- To distract from lack of relevant work experience. Let’s say you’re a fresh graduate without much past work experience. Any past scholarships, dean’s list mentions, or academic awards can help you secure that internship or entry-level job.
- To highlight your value. As an experienced professional you’ve perhaps contributed to a breakthrough that helped move your industry forward or added to your company’s recent revenue growth. In cases like this, simply listing your responsibilities is playing yourself down.
Listing achievements like these will surely leave a better impression than heaps of buzzwords and worn-out generic phrases describing your daily duties.
However, keep in mind that your experience and qualifications are the main selling point. So no matter how impressive your achievement section is, it shouldn’t be the main focus of your resume.
Where to list awards and achievements in a resume?
There are generally two ways to include your accomplishments in your resume. You can either:
- Distribute them across other parts of your resume. Do this if the award you were given isn't widely recognized within the industry or it's an award/achievement you were given as a part of your job or within the company. Additionally, do this if you want to include less than three awards/achievements.
- Create a separate section on your resume. Do this if you were awarded for doing something outside of the usual scope of your work, you were recognized by a notable and reputable institution, or you simply want to highlight it. Moreover, create a separate section if you have 3 or more awards/achievements to highlight.
Regarding the placement of the Awards and achievements section within your resume, it's really up to you. Though not wrong, people often place it towards the end of the document which can sometimes take away from its importance.
Hence, consider putting the Awards and achievements section above the Work experience section if the achievement is highly notable and you want it in the spotlight. Alternatively, place the section after Work experience.
HR expert advice
“Sometimes, having a Key Achievements section above Work History is OK, because it helps recruiters to see immediately what your accomplishments are if they are significant. Otherwise, I'd say incorporate achievements in the work descriptions. That's where they’re the most relevant and where the context of your achievements is, so it makes more sense to the reader. But you can also mention anything particularly awesome in your summary. Something like “Award-winning sales person” will immediately catch the attention of recruiters. Then you can mention the specific award/s in the job descriptions.” — Christy Morgan, Kickresume's Resident HR Expert
How to list awards and achievements on a resume?
Listing your achievements on a resume is always a very effective way of catching employers’ attention. But, how to write the awards section in resume?
You should follow certain rules to ensure you include your accomplishments in an ATS-friendly and professional way.
Here's how to do that:
- Consider significance. Only list achievements in a separate section if they’re relevant and notable enough. If they're not, either exclude them completely or use other sections instead.
- Three or more rule. If you only have one or two awards/achievements, it's best to incorporate them into other sections rather than create a separate section.
- Quantify your achievements. A measured achievement is particularly impressive. Claiming that you “Cut client costs” doesn’t sound as impressive as “Cut client costs by 16 % in 12 months.” Be specific!
- Include the date of recognition. Including the date you earned the award or achieved something is considered the norm. Let an employer know you still have all the skills that earned you the prize.
- Describe the purpose of the award. For example: Earned Clio Music Award 2016 for Use of Music in the Best Ketchup advertisement campaign.
- Mention the scope of the award. Was it a regional, national, or an international award? Are you the only one who received it? What did you have to do to accomplish it?
And what if you got a scholarship?
How to put scholarships on resume
A scholarship is a grant or payment made to support a student's education and is awarded on the basis of an academic or other achievement. Hence, it belongs on a resume!
Here's a few tips on how to list scholarships on a resume:
- Include the name of the scholarship
- The organization that awarded it
- The date it was awarded to you
- Why it was awarded to you or what you did to get it
- (Optional) The dollar amount
You can include your awards or scholarships in several sections of your resume.
Include a scholarship in a separate "Awards and achievements" section on a resume if it was awarded by a reputable organization or there are multiple scholarships, not only one.
On the other hand, if the scholarship is awarded by your university, you should include it in the education section.
However, it's really up to you. You can list your scholarship in either of these two sections and still be correct. For instance, check the sample below.
How to list scholarships on resume example
Awards and achievements examples for different professions
Are you still not quite sure which achievements and awards belong in a resume? Or perhaps you're unsure which awards are obtainable in your industry?
Here’s what kind of awards and accomplishments you can include:
- Academic awards and achievements example
- Grants and scholarships you received (E.g, Vivienne Camp College Scholarship)
- Dean’s list mentions (E.g. Dean's list 2015/6)
- Graduation distinctions (E.g. Magna Cum Laude)
- Awards for specific activities or subjects (e.g. Fine Art Award)
- High GPA (E.g. 3.6 GPA)
- IT and Programming awards and achievements example
- Maurice Wilkes Award for outstanding contribution to computer architecture
- Software Process Achievement Award for innovative contributions to the field of software quality
- Computer Entrepreneur Award
- Sales awards and achievements example
- Employee of the Year Award
- Sold 600 products per month
- Received a 90% positive customer survey results
- Raised revenue by 15%
- Education and teaching awards and achievements example
- NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence
- Teacher of The Year 2017 award
- Managed to maintain an average exam score above 70% in GG302 course in the last 4 academic years
- Supervised 6 MA theses, and 2 PhD dissertations
- Science awards and achievements example
- Published over 30 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Science and Nature
- Batchelor prize for an outstanding research in fluid dynamics
- Royal Society of Chemistry Award
- My article, "An optical innovation for meteorology at the quantum limit of predictive precision" was published by Nature.com
- Graphic design awards and achievements example
- Designed a customer site that won a Shopify Ecommerce Design Award in 2020
- Leibowitz Branding & Design Award
- AGDA Best Design Award
- Developed 200+ templates for infographics creation
- Volunteering or personal awards and achievements example
- Awards like Volunteer of the Year
- Completion of a marathon for charity
- Increasing donations for a charity
- Learning a new programming language
Achievements and awards in resume examples
Since sometimes one picture is worth a thousand words, here are some examples of awards and achievements sections from resumes belonging to real people who got hired by well-known companies like Amazon or Maersk.
These people created their well-crafted resumes by using Kickresume’s Resume Builder.
Awards and achievements in resume example #1
Awards in resume example #2
Achievements in resume example #3
It goes without saying, but read the job description carefully and ditch anything irrelevant.
For instance, if you’re a seasoned professional, you should skip your academic achievements and accomplishments.
Additionally, you should only include irrelevant awards and achievements if they’re from very prominent institutions or companies.
Final piece of advice: Awards and achievements on a resume
- Keep it short. Avoid writing long paragraphs and use bullet points instead.
- Prioritize. If you decide to designate an entire section to your achievements, think about which accomplishments are the most significant. Would you be impressed by it if you were a hiring manager?
- Avoid controversy. Some awards and achievements may be too personal or controversial. Avoid listing any political or religious accomplishments.
- Don’t exaggerate. Avoid making something up. You might be asked about your award and accomplishments in your job interview. Or they might contact your references. Lying or exaggerating can cost you a job.
- Mention your biggest accomplishments in your resume summary. If you’re a seasoned professional with many notable achievements, they deserve to be placed at the top of your resume. Impress hiring managers from the get-go.
FAQ Awards and achievements on a resume
How to put scholarships on resume?
You should include the name of the scholarship, the organization that awarded it, the date it was awarded, why it was awarded to you, and the dollar amount. You can either include it in the education section or in a separate awards section.
What can I put for awards and achievements on a resume?
In this separate section, you list relevant honors, achievements, awards, and acknowledgements you earned for going beyond average. It can include scholarships, competitions, work-related awards or even promotions to leadership positions in your job.
What type of awards should you put on a resume?
You can include academic awards, industry-related awards, work-related awards, volunteering or personal awards.
What are 3 accomplishments?
An accomplishment should include a verb in the beginning and a numeric value. For instance:
- Boosted quality measures by X%.
- Improved revenue by X%.
- Trained X employees in Z.
How do you put academic achievements on a resume?
When putting each award or achievement on your resume, include the name of the award, the name of the University, the date it was awarded, why it was awarded to you. In regards to academic accomplishments, you should use numeric values to quantify these.
This article was recently updated. The original article was written by Nikoleta Žišková in 2021.