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How to Write a Self Nomination Letter

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Self-nomination, for awards, positions or some type of honor, may not come naturally to most people. There’s a perception that those who nominate themselves are narcissistic or lack humility, but the truth is that self-nomination is an effective way to get what you want and achieve your dreams. If you want something, it’s not wise to wait around for it to be handed to you, so self-nomination is a legitimate way of promoting yourself. Although writing a self-nomination letter may feel awkward at first, it’s no different than writing a letter for someone else. Highlight your accomplishments and experience, and explain why you are ideal for the honor and what you can bring to the table.

Plan What You Want to Say

Writing about yourself can be challenging, so begin by organizing your thoughts and listing examples of your best traits, which you can then use in your letter to make your case. Go through your resume or CV, and make a list of your accomplishments by category. For example, if you are nominating yourself for a service award, identify all of your accomplishments related to the type of service. Pay close attention to the nomination requirements, and choose those activities or accomplishments that best exemplify how you meet those requirements.

Writing the Letter

Begin your self-nomination letter by introducing yourself and explicitly stating that you are nominating yourself for the position in question, and why. For example, “I nominate myself, Mary Smith, for the 2017 XYZ Award for my commitment to providing excellent leadership of the ABC organization and raising awareness of the issue of child hunger in our community.” Use similar language to what was used in the initial call for nominations.

In the following paragraphs, list your positive attributes and skills, matching them to the requirements listed in the call for nominations. Incorporate the specific examples you identified from your resume or CV. Be as detailed as possible as you make your case. Be specific, providing details about the outcomes of your efforts or telling stories that illustrate your point. Aviod generic terms or vague descriptions like “hard-working” or “committed.” Don’t be modest or downplay your accomplishments, but rather make a compelling case as to why you are the best person for the honor by telling your story and supporting your claims with examples.

Finally, outline how you will meet the expectations of the honor you’re seeking. Clearly state what unique qualities you have to offer and how they meet the needs of the organization. Again, review the nomination requirements and make connections for the review committee as to why you are the best person for the award or the position. Close the letter by thanking the reviewers for their time.


One strategy for writing a self-nomination letter is to write it in the third person, as if you were writing about someone else. By doing so, you’re less likely to downplay your achievements. Once you’ve drafted the letter, you can edit the document back to first person. However, while you want to avoid being too shy about your achievements, you also do not want to come across as cocky or overconfident. Ask someone else to read your letter before you submit it, to be sure it captures the right professional tone.

Also, as with any professional document, thoroughly proofread your self-nomination letter before you submit it. Confirm that you have followed all of the instructions, and include any required supporting documentation. Again, a second set of eyes reviewing your submission can help prevent you from overlooking important details.

  • Be careful to maintain an appropriate tone. Sound confident and unapologetic, but do not excessively praise yourself.

An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer and editor, specializing in careers, business, education, and lifestyle topics. The author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), which covers everything from career and financial advice to furnishing your first apartment, her work has also appeared in Young Money, Lewiston Auburn Magazine, USA Today, and a variety of online outlets. She's also been quoted as a career expert in many newspapers and magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Parade. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.

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