Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Professional Touch: Enhancing Your Candidacy with Honors & Awards

by Darlene Zambruski, ResumeEdge.com Managing Editor, CPRW, SME

In a competitive job market many candidates find themselves lost in the shuffle, especially when other applicants have similar professional and academic histories.

One way to make certain that you get noticed is to showcase, within the first half of your resume, your Professional and/or Academic Honors and Awards.

You can emphasize industry or academic recognition of your work by:

1. Including it in your Qualifications Summary
2. Presenting it in a special “Awards and Honors” section
3. Placing it in your “Career Accomplishments” section beneath the subheading of “Awards and Honors.” You can further subdivide it by indicating whether it is Professional Recognition or School-Related.

The idea is to provide hiring managers with specific and well-organized data


Although mention of your Awards and Honors can enhance your candidacy for a position, its impact will be significantly strengthened by providing the hiring manager with specific details. These include:

1. Dates you received the award or honor
2. Significance of award (eg: is it given to everyone in your office/school or are you one of a select few?)
3. Purpose of award – (eg: an academic or sports scholarship; one given to top journalism student at the school; recognition for being the #1 salesperson in a territory, etc.)
4. Scope of the award – is it national, regional, or local?


Honors & Awards: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

· I’ve won many awards during my IT career, but I’m now transitioning to financial services where my experience is nil. Do I still mention my IT awards? If so, where?

Because past achievement is so often indicative of future performance, mention of your repeated recognition in the IT field will indicate your degree of capability to a hiring manager. This can be very important for someone with little to no experience in a new industry. Although it’s not necessary to list all of your IT awards up front, listing your most stellar and current IT accomplishment in the Qualifications Summary provides the hiring manager with a glimpse of your potential. If your transition to the new field is accompanied by stellar academic work, that can also be used to enhance your candidacy. For example:

Currently Enrolled in the Honors Banking & Finance Program

at the American Banking Institute
Bachelor of Arts in Business & Management with an Accounting Major, GPA 4.0
Additional Coursework in Accounting at New York State College of Business

Articulate, results-oriented professional with an academic base in accounting, banking, and finance, augmented by comprehensive knowledge of information systems and significant business experience. Background includes receiving the IT Professional 2001 Award for an information systems improvement that increased growth at Trent Industries 28% over a two-year period. Possesses strong attention to detail, excellent organization/time management, and proven capabilities in problem-solving. Self-starter with a background of assuming responsibility to get the job done accurately and within tight time constraints.

· Should I include my employment awards in a resume that’s being sent for admission to business school?

Yes. Business school resumes are no different than resumes submitted to employers. School admissions directors need to know if candidates for their programs are committed to the educational process and if they will be assets to the school. Industry-specific awards that indicate excellence in the field only enhance an applicant’s candidacy.
· Rather than honors or awards, I have only performance evaluations that I consider quite good. Is it acceptable for me to use them in a resume?

Any data that enhances your candidacy is acceptable. To showcase your performance evaluation data, you may want to list it in a special section and include direct quotes from satisfied clients or management.

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