Resumes & Cover Letters

4 Steps To Highlight Your Achievements on a Resume

August 10, 2021

Creating a professional resume is an important step in the job application process. While many resumes focus on responsibilities and daily tasks, including your achievements on your resume can differentiate you from other candidates and impress potential employers. If you're applying for jobs, learning how to highlight your achievements on a resume can help it become more effective. In this article, we discuss the proper ways to include your achievements on a resume, discuss the awards you can include, and review some best practices to help you create a professional resume.

Related: How To Write a Resume

How to highlight your achievements on a resume

Consider these steps when including awards and achievements on your resume:

1. Make a specific list of your relevant awards and accomplishments

Once you know the position you're applying for, consider the job requirements and the industry you're entering. Begin by making a list of all your awards and honours and then gradually refine it. Ensure your list only includes the most relevant achievements you plan to include on your resume and serves a purpose to aid your application and interview efforts. These are the ones that are the most valuable to the specific position you're applying for.

Read more: How To Include Your Accomplishments on a Resume

2. Create an awards section

Create a specific section for your awards and accomplishments. This can highlight your honours and awards by making them easy to find and understand. Consider using bullet points to format this section. This can help hiring managers and recruiters review your awards quickly and help them notice your achievements.

3. List the most relevant awards on your resume

Now that you know which awards to include and have made an awards section on your resume, begin listing each award. Be sure to include the date of the accomplishment, along with its purpose, significance, and scope. The more specific you are in this section, the better.

4. Include facts and statistics

Try to include facts and statistics to support your main achievements. Providing a way for hiring managers to measure and assess your accomplishments can make them more tangible and impressive. For example, instead of saying you won an award for customer satisfaction in your previous job role, you could say you were "awarded for increasing customer satisfaction by 25% within the first month of employment at Surge Enterprises." Some measurements you might focus on include:

  • Timeframe: Consider how long it took you to earn the achievement or how many times you completed a specific task before being recognized for it.
  • Scale: Share how many people you worked with or managed, how large the budget was for a successful project you oversaw, or how many customers you served.
  • Results: Focus on key deliverables, such as return on investment, increase in revenue, or improved customer retention. You can use specific numbers, financial information, percentages, or statistics to convey these results.

Where do awards go on a resume?

List your awards under the awards and accomplishments section of your resume. You can also include them under a personal achievements section if you would prefer to use that instead. Awards sections are typically at the end of your resume and formatted as a list.

Related: What Is the Right Resume Length?

What types of awards can you list on a resume?

When creating your resume, it's important to include the awards, honours, and accomplishments that pertain to the role you're applying for. For example, if you're applying for a graphic design position, include awards for design or illustration. In this case, an award you received in your high school chemistry class may be impressive, but irrelevant to the hiring manager. Try to choose awards that show how you've done more than what's required instead of awards that demonstrate how you've simply met expectations.

Here are some examples of achievements or awards categories:

  • Academic awards (specific academic honours, grades, or placement on the Dean's List)
  • Scholarships
  • Athletic awards
  • Job-related awards
  • Leadership positions at your school
  • Promotions to leadership positions
  • Volunteer-related awards

What details can you include for each award?

As you create the awards section of your resume, it's important that you include the following details for each listed accomplishment:

  • The date of your award or honour: This can let potential employers know how long it's been since you've displayed these skills or for how long you've been skilled in this particular area.
  • The purpose and significance of your award: This lets hiring managers know what you received the award for. For example, you can say, "First Place Award for Best Arts Feature in 2018 by the Washington Press."
  • The scope of the award: It is important to mention whether this award is regional, national, or international. This can help hiring managers understand how competitive a specific award is to win.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Functional Resumes

Best practices for your resume awards section

Besides knowing what awards to include on your resume, it's important to follow these best practices when listing your accomplishments:

  • Be professional. Use professional language and a positive tone when discussing your achievements and awards. This can help you make a good impression with hiring managers and recruiters.
  • Be specific. Use clear, concise language to share the most important details for each award. Include specific dates, the name of the award or achievement, and the name of the organization you received it from.
  • Be consistent. Make sure the awards you list align with other details you've included in your resume, such as your skills or previous occupations. Proofread your resume carefully and ensure it matches any professional profiles you've created that hiring managers may also review.
  • Include recent awards. Make sure you earned the awards you include on your resume within a reasonable time period that aligns with your listed employment and education history.

Examples of how to list achievements on a resume

Here are some examples of how to list achievements on a resume:

Sales professional

A sales professional may choose to list achievements that showcase their communication and customer service skills. Some examples include:

  • Exceeded sales goals by 45% in June, July, and August 2020
  • Cold called 30+ potential customers each day with a closing rate of 25%
  • Received the Customer Service Award of the Month from APB Logistics in March 2020

Office manager

An office manager might highlight achievements that focus on their leadership, organization, and communication skills. Some examples include:

  • Negotiated new deals with office supply vendors and reduced annual supply costs by 15%
  • Onboarded over 20 employees while working at Matrix Co.
  • Received a Top 30 Under 30 award from Thunder Bay Professionals for my leadership skills

Financial analyst

A financial analyst may share achievements that focus on their ability to implement new processes effectively, maintain accurate budgets, and reduce costs. Here are some examples:

  • Increased operational efficiencies at West Bank by 10% after implementing new management practices
  • Managed an annual budget of $1,550,000 for an international corporation
  • Reduced material costs by 8% in my first year of employment at Northern Finance

Project manager

A project manager may choose to highlight achievements that focus on their leadership, critical thinking, and time management skills. Some examples include:

  • Completed 12 successful digital integration projects over the last two years, generating over $900,000 in revenue
  • Received the PMI Fellow Award from the Project Management Institute for excellent leadership strategies
  • Implemented new software to support the marketing department at Innovation X Industries, resulting in a 20% increase in ROI

Digital marketing specialist

Marketing professionals may choose to share achievements that focus on their creativity, strategic thinking, and communication skills. Some examples include:

  • Received the Gold Award from the International Marketing Institute for most innovative advertising campaign in 2019
  • Managed a $50,000 monthly ad budget for EA Enterprises while maintaining a consistent ad spend ROI of 2.6
  • Increased Data Central's monthly website traffic from zero to 300,000 within my first year of employment

Teacher

A teacher may select achievements that focus on their organizational skills, education experience, and creativity. Here are some examples:

  • Improved the standardized test scores of my class by 40% in my first year of teaching at JPL Elementary
  • Published six research papers in peer-reviewed journals over the last two years
  • Won the Ruby Apple award for most innovative classroom management practices in 2018

Student

Students may choose awards that highlight their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, or community involvement. Some examples include:

  • Maintained an average GPA of 3.8
  • Nominated class president in 2019 and 2020
  • Earned a gold award from the Young Innovators League in 2020 for most innovative product design

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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