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What Honors or Awards Should I Put on My Resume?

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Your resume is one of the most important tools you have at your disposal during a job hunt. It's the first contact that potential employers will have with you, and it is what they use to decide whether to give you an interview or not. When writing a resume, tailor it to the job at hand to show how you will add value to your potential employer's organization. Honors and awards are a key element of showing value, but use the right ones.

Academic Awards

Academic awards are objective proof of your academic prowess. If you made dean's list or earned a scholarship, include these on your resume. These elements of your resume should be listed under the education section; they bolster your degree by showing that you are exceptional.

Professional Awards

Professional awards are useful because they act as an easy reference for your ability. If, for example, you are a designer and you won a Best Young Designer Award soon after graduating, include this award on your resume -- if you are applying for a design job. People aren't going to hire you on your awards alone, but the awards will help if they can indicate your value to your potential employer.

Separate Honors

Some honors are neither professional nor academic. If you have more than a few of these, they should be listed in their own section or with hobbies and activities. If you make a separate section for just one or two extra awards, you will highlight how few you have.

Award Avoidance

When writing a resume, it is tempting to include every award you've ever gotten. This is not a good idea. If you won a creative writing award in the 11th grade and are currently applying for a job at the age of 28, this will highlight how long you have gone without winning another award. Every award you include should be at most three years old.

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About the Author

Sam Grover began writing in 2005, also having worked as a behavior therapist and teacher. His work has appeared in New Zealand publications "Critic" and "Logic," where he covered political and educational issues. Grover graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Arts in history.