How to List Awards on a Resume to Stand Out from the Crowd (with Examples)

Calendar Icon
August 14, 2023
Edited by
Clock Icon
min read

Crafting the perfect resume has never been easy, and in today’s competitive job market, it can feel harder than ever. 

One key element that can give your resume a distinct edge is your collection of awards and recognition. These are tangible testimonials that speak to your skills, dedication, and exceptional performance in your field, setting you apart from the rest of the applicants. 

But how can you present these awards effectively on your resume? And, more importantly, is it always necessary to do so? 

By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly why, when, and where you should add awards to your resume. 

3 key takeaways

  • Why adding awards to resumes makes your profile stronger
  • How (and when) to add awards to a resume depending on your experience 
  • Examples of awards to add to your resume

The importance of awards on a resume

Including awards on your resume has many benefits, but some applicants forget they’re even worth mentioning. Instead, they write a generic “About Me” section for their resume and leave out some of their most relevant achievements, such as awards.  

But when presented correctly, awards demonstrate your achievements and distinguish you as a high achiever. In turn, this makes you stand out to hiring managers. 

Here's why:


Awards distinguish you from other candidates, plain and simple. This is especially true when you and another candidate have similar levels of working experience. When it comes down to the wire, you need every advantage you can get to tip the balance in your favor. 

Awards endorse your abilities, and when a potential employer sees them on your resume, they also see a candidate who has gone above and beyond. 

Evidence of skills & competencies

Awards often require specific skills to achieve, be it technical knowledge, leadership skills, teamwork, or creativity. For instance, a "Salesperson of the Year" award would reflect your ability to influence and negotiate. A "Most Innovative Project" award would signal creativity and problem-solving skills. 

Even high school or college awards can show early leadership or academic prowess for new graduates entering the job market.

Relevance & resonance

Including awards relevant to the job you're applying for underscores your suitability for that specific role. Let's say you're applying for a customer service role and have an "Employee of the Month" award for outstanding customer interactions. 

This award becomes a compelling selling point to hiring managers, demonstrating that you have been recognized for skills pertinent to the role at hand. 

This is one of the reasons you should check out Teal’s AI Resume Builder

When you create an application, Teal will match it with the specific job posting. Then, Teal pulls the keywords (including hard and soft skills) so you know which terms to use throughout your resume: 

Matching awards on a resume to a job description
Use Teal to fight the right keywords to frame your awards.

With this, you can create a stronger resume and frame your awards more compellingly. Plus, you build a more ATS-friendly resume using keywords from the original job posting. 

Remember, putting awards on your resume isn’t about creating an exhaustive list but strategically selecting and presenting awards supporting your career story and the job you're targeting. 

And by using Teal’s AI Resume Builder, you can be sure your awards aren't just listed but leveraged, adding substance and strength to your resume.

When (& where) should you list awards on a resume

Understanding when and where to include awards and certifications on your resume can be tricky. Yet, their correct placement can significantly enhance your appeal to potential employers. Here's a breakdown of where you should add awards (and to what extent) according to different stages in a career.

New graduates 

Fresh out of school, your ”Work Experience” section may look a little light.

In this case, academic awards, scholarships, or recognitions from internships, research projects, or student clubs can substantiate your qualifications. Place these awards in the "Education" section or create a separate "Honors and Awards" section if you have more than one to showcase. 

Coming off a professional break 

Reentering the workforce after a break can be challenging. Awards or certifications acquired during your break or prior to it can underscore your qualifications. Any recent awards or certifications can be mentioned in a "Professional Summary" section at the top of your resume. They demonstrate your commitment to keeping your skills sharp even during your break.

Older awards can be listed in a separate "Awards and Certifications" section towards the end of your resume or within previous job descriptions if they are directly related to those roles.

Entry-level applicants 

At the entry-level stage, any awards illustrating the skills needed for the job can set you apart from the competition. These can include awards from internships, part-time jobs, volunteer work, or relevant extracurricular activities. 

Depending on their relevance and your resume layout, they can be placed within specific job descriptions, in an "Awards and Achievements" section, or under "Skills" if they directly emphasize a specific skill.

Mid-level applicants 

At this stage, professional awards should take precedence. These should ideally be placed in the "Work Experience" section under the relevant job descriptions to tie your achievements directly to your roles. 

You could also consider creating a separate "Awards and Achievements" section if you have multiple noteworthy recognitions. 

Still, your working history and accomplishments should take up the bulk of your resume’s space, with awards supplementing that information rather than eclipsing it. 

Senior-level applicants 

For senior roles, the emphasis should be on high-impact awards that demonstrate leadership, strategic thinking, or significant contributions to your field. High-level industry recognitions or awards for team projects you've led should be placed at the top of your resume in your “Professional Summary” section.  

Alternatively, they can be included in the relevant "Work Experience" entries.

Remember, the key is to weave your recognitions organically into your resume, making them integral pieces of your career narrative. 

How to list awards on a resume

You can list awards on a resume in many ways, but the two most common are with a resume-building tool like Teal or manually in a Google Doc or Word Doc. 

Adding awards on a resume with Teal 

Using Teal's AI Resume Builder to add awards to your resume is a straightforward process that can significantly enhance your job application. 

Here's how to do it.

Step 1. Sign up for Teal 

First, navigate to Teal’s AI Resume Builder and create an account. This will allow you to access Teal's suite of career management tools.

Step 2. Upload your resume and match the job you're applying to 

Once you've signed up and logged in, you can quickly and easily upload your existing resume; or you can import your LinkedIn profile to get a stronger baseline:

Then, simply match your resume to a specific job post:

Matching a job description to awards on a resume
Attach a job description to every resume.

This allows Teal's AI to analyze the job requirements, extract relevant keywords, and optimize your resume so it’s keyword-searchable when a recruiter searches their Applicant Tracking System (ATS). 

In addition, it identifies which awards and achievements you should highlight based on their relevance to the job.

Step 3: Add awards to your resume 

Depending on your level of experience, you might need to add information about your awards in different sections, such as your: 

  • Professional Summary
  • Work Experience 
  • Education
  • "Awards" section

Awards in your professional summary 

Navigate to the "Professional Summary" section.

Use Teal's generative AI to create a resume profile tailored to your career and the job you're applying for:

After AI generates the summary, review it and add specific information about your awards. Include the award's name, when you received it, and why. This will give hiring managers a quick snapshot of your achievements.

Awards in your work experience 

Consider integrating professional awards within the "Work Experience" section if you have professional awards. Mention each award under the relevant job role, explaining what you did to achieve it and its significance. 

This makes your work history more impressive and showcases how you've distinguished yourself in previous roles.

You can also use Teal’s generative AI to help you create professional achievements, but be sure to check the output for accuracy:

Awards in your education section (for new grads)

For recent graduates, your "Education" section is a crucial part of your resume. If you have academic awards, scholarships, or recognitions, list them here. Depending on your work experience, you can place this section either before or after the "Work Experience" section.

The good news is that with Teal, you can move these sections around with a drag and a drop: 

How to showcase awards on a resume
Position your awards anywhere on your resume.

The goal of adding awards to your resume is to reinforce your qualifications and impress the hiring manager. Make sure the awards you include are relevant, notable, and presented in a manner that complements the overall flow of your resume.

Awards in a dedicated "Awards" section

Incorporating an "Awards" section into your resume allows you to showcase your exceptional achievements and recognition within your field. These awards validate your dedication and proficiency, providing tangible evidence of your contributions and accomplishments. By highlighting these accolades, you not only emphasize your skills and expertise, but also demonstrate your commitment to excellence and your ability to stand out in a competitive professional landscape.

You can use Teal's AI Resume Builder to create an exhaustive list of your awards and scholarships and include the most relevant ones on each tailored resume.

Section for awards on a resume
Add relevant awards to your resume with Teal.

Sign up and get started with Teal’s AI Resume Builder today! 

Adding awards on a resume by hand 

Creating an awards section by hand can be tedious. At the very least, you can get some help with AI tools like ChatGPT for creating a resume

Step 1: Analyze the job description 

First, you need to carefully read and analyze the job description you're applying for. Look for keywords and required skills or qualifications that align with your awards or recognitions. 

This manual analysis is necessary to make sure your resume is tailored to the job and that your awards section is relevant.

Step 2: Craft a professional summary 

After that, you'll need to write a professional summary at the top of your resume. 

This is your chance to introduce yourself and briefly highlight your key achievements, which could include your most impactful awards. It's important to word this section carefully to catch the hiring manager's attention immediately.

Step 3: List awards in your work experience 

When listing your work experience, incorporate any professional awards you've received. Under each job role, detail your tasks, accomplishments, and any awards you obtained during that time. 

This process requires careful wording and layout to ensure it's easy to read and engaging.

Step 4: Highlight academic awards in the education section 

For fresh graduates or those with academic awards, it's crucial to list these in your education section. Similar to professional awards, detail what the award was for, why you received it, and its importance.

The placement of this section depends on your level of work experience.

Step 5: Proofread and edit

Finally, you'll need to meticulously proofread your resume, looking out for typos or grammatical errors. You’ll also want to verify that all the information is accurate, especially if you used ChatGPT. 

Consider having a friend or mentor review it for a fresh perspective. If it's someone you trust, you may consider asking them for a reference; though you won't list references on your resume, this person will be prepared with what to highlight if they get a call from the hiring manager.

Manually adding awards to your resume, especially with basic tools like Google Sheets or a Word document, can be a time-consuming and tedious process. It requires great attention to detail, a deep understanding of the job requirements, and exceptional writing skills to showcase your achievements effectively.

Tools like Teal's AI Resume Builder simplify this process, guiding you each step of the way and optimizing your resume for the specific job you're applying for.

Types of awards for your resume

To help you start brainstorming which awards might be best for your resume, here is a list of the types of awards you can use and some concrete examples. 

Academic awards

  • Dean's List for high academic performance
  • Valedictorian or Salutatorian of graduating class
  • Subject-specific honors like "Mathematics Excellence Award"

Professional/Industry awards:

  • "Salesperson of the Year" for surpassing sales targets
  • "Employee of the Month" or "Employee of the Year" for outstanding overall performance
  • "Best Innovator" for introducing a game-changing idea or product

Leadership awards

  • "Team Leader of the Year" for effective team management
  • "Outstanding Contribution to Project Management" for leading successful projects
  • "Leadership Excellence Award" from a reputable organization

Community service awards

  • "Volunteer of the Year" for notable contributions to a volunteer group or community organization
  • Certificates of Appreciation for charity work
  • "Community Service Award" from a city or county council

Scholarships and fellowships

  • Merit-based scholarships such as "National Merit Scholar"
  • Research fellowships like "Fulbright Fellowship"
  • Industry-specific scholarships such as "Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship"

Professional certification and licenses

  • "Certified Public Accountant" (CPA) for accountants
  • "Project Management Professional" (PMP) for project managers
  • "Registered Nurse" (RN) certification for nurses

Creative and technical competitions

  • "First Place" in a reputable hackathon or coding competition
  • Winning or placing in a writing, art, or film contest
  • "Best Design" award in an architectural or design competition

Examples of awards for a resume (placed in various sections)

1. Awards in your "Professional Summary" section


"Award-winning Sales Manager with over 10 years of progressive experience in the technology industry. Recognized as the 'Top Regional Salesperson' for three consecutive years (2019-2021), consistently exceeding sales targets by 15% each quarter. Demonstrated ability to lead and mentor high-performing sales teams to achieve strategic objectives. Proven track record of cultivating strong client relationships and effectively managing key accounts. Committed to driving sales growth by leveraging innovative strategies and providing exceptional customer service."

This approach is particularly effective for mid-level or senior professionals who have received significant awards relevant to their field. 

Highlighting these awards in the summary draws immediate attention to their achievements and sets the tone for the rest of the resume. It underscores their success in the field and reaffirms their capability and expertise. 

This method is especially valuable for those looking to advance in their career or transition into a role with greater responsibility.

2. Awards in your "Work Experience" section


Senior Product Designer | XYZ Corp | 2018 - Present

  • Managed a team of five dynamic designers, leading initiatives to develop user-friendly software interfaces.
  • Successfully boosted user engagement by a substantial 15% as a direct result of our team's intuitive interface designs.
  • Recognized for outstanding innovation with the 'Innovator of the Year’ award in 2020.
  • Developed and implemented a new design process that improved project completion rates by 20%, contributing to XYZ Corp's increased product launch speed.

Integrating awards within your work experience is especially effective for professionals at any level who have received awards directly related to their roles.

This method ties the award to specific work experience, solidifying its relevance to potential employers.

3. Awards under your "Education" Section


"Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, ABC University (2017-2021)

  • Graduated Summa Cum Laude
  • Recipient of the 'Outstanding Student in Computer Science' award in 2023..."

New graduates or individuals who have recently completed an academic program would find it beneficial to include awards under their education. It can compensate for limited work experience by highlighting academic excellence and dedication.

4. Awards as a separate section


"Awards and Achievements:

  • 'Salesperson of the Year' – XYZ Corp, 2022
  • 'Top Performer in Customer Satisfaction' – XYZ Corp, 2021
  • 'Best New Talent' – ABC Industry Awards, 2020"

Having a dedicated section for awards is a versatile approach suitable for all levels of professionals, especially if they have multiple recognitions. It provides a clear, concise way for hiring managers to see your achievements at a glance.

That said, for higher-level roles, you should prioritize measurable resume accomplishments and only mention awards directly related to your field and the job in question. 

Use Teal's AI Resume Builder to create an exhaustive list of awards to pick and choose from as they relate to the job you're applying for.

Creating a list of awards on a resume
Create a dedicated Awards section.

Final thoughts

Awards highlight your dedication, capability to excel, and potential to bring remarkable performance to your future role. However, it’s not merely about listing awards; it's about presenting them in a way that complements your career narrative and resonates with prospective employers.

In this light, every award you've earned becomes a golden opportunity to illustrate your unique value proposition. 

But capitalizing on this opportunity can be hard when juggling multiple job applications or operating under time constraints. 

This is where Teal's AI Resume Builder comes into play. 

By leveraging this powerful tool, you can create tailored, impactful resumes that highlight your awards, matching them seamlessly with specific job descriptions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I format scholarships on my resume to make them stand out?

To make scholarships stand out on your resume, list them under the education section or in a separate "Awards and Honors" section. Use a clear and concise format, starting with the name of the scholarship, followed by the institution that awarded it, and the date you received it. If space allows, include a brief description of the scholarship's significance or the selection criteria to highlight its prestige and relevance to your career goals.

Can I include high school awards on my professional resume?

High school awards can be included on a professional resume if they are recent and relevant to the job you're applying for. However, as you gain more experience and higher education, it's best to prioritize college-level and professional achievements. If you choose to list high school awards, place them in a separate section and be selective, focusing on those that showcase leadership, excellence, or skills pertinent to the role.

Should I list awards on my resume that are unrelated to the job I'm applying for?

It's important to tailor your resume to each job application, so only include awards that demonstrate transferable skills or qualities that are valuable to the employer. If an award is not directly related but showcases attributes like leadership, dedication, or innovation, it can still be worth mentioning. Be strategic and limit the number of unrelated awards to avoid diluting the impact of your more relevant accomplishments.

Nathan Thompson

Nathan is a professional content marketer who's been lucky enough to write for some of the best SaaS brands on the planet, including Twilio, Trello, OptinMonster, TrustPulse, and more. When he's not obsessing over performance metrics, Nathan spends most of his time wrestling around with his kids.

We help you find
the career dream.