Academic Awards, Achievements and Honors on Resume

Academic achievements and awards all have a commonality. They serve as types of accomplishments for resume. When you lack work experience or apply for positions that emphasize education, you need to know when to put a list of academic honors related to achievements. As you become an experienced applicant, you replace academic accomplishments with professional achievements.

Accomplishments to Put on a Resume

Before learning how to put a list of accomplishments for resume, job applicants should understand what a hiring manager or recruiter may view as one.

For entry-level applicants without enough experience — or those still in high school or college — those could range from education accomplishments like being on the honor roll to scholarships.

As we continue in this blog, you will see how this works when using an academic-driven field like the legal one compared to ones where education does not play as big of a role.

From there, you will see that accomplishments carry on passed your schooling. They turn into resume achievements. Those may include an association or membership award for an experienced applicant or an employee of the month for an entry-level one.

All of these types could go in an awards section resume, under work history, or as part of a professional summary.

How to List Honors on Resume

When listing an achievement, think of how a list of college awards and honors — or high school ones if needed — provide the big picture for your academic summary.

You include:

  • The award’s name.
  • The school or accrediting body that granted it.
  • Date received if applicable.
  • If listing multiple ones, just like with licenses and certifications, list them in reverse chronological order.

As we discussed in our education blog, many colleges and universities use the Latin terms to denote “with honor.” To document you graduated with honors, follow your school’s guideline.

The Latin distinctions are as follows:

  • Summa cum laude — the highest level; students maintained a 4.0 GPA or higher.
  • Magna cum laude — the distinction for graduates with a GPA ranging from 3.8 to 3.9.
  • Cum laude — graduates who had a GPA of 3.5 to 3.7.
Pro Tip: Some industries have stricter rules — the legal field being one. Many prospective employers look for honors in your education section. Because the examples apply to entry-level applicants, the logic makes sense. It does not fit into an objective or professional summary.

If you have multiple honors, prioritize based on the industry and/or job posting. You want them to stand out. If you list too many, the reader may not focus on the most relevant activities or honors.


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How to List Awards on Resume

Listing an award follows the same logic as mentioning an honor or achievement. For certain fields, include them in the education section.

Experienced applicants have a choice: to list them as job duties worded as accomplishments or as part of a professional summary.

Just like an honor, when you have more than one, list them in reverse chronical order. Also, include:

  • The name of the award.
  • Who gave it to you.
  • The date you received it.

Should I Include High School Achievements on My Resume

When deciding on listing high school accomplishments on your resume, a good rule to follow is the one discussed in our education blog. When you have enough work experience or graduated from college, no longer list high school or any type of awards associated with it.

For those still in high school or college — or who have recently graduated and lack skills and experience — include them. It shows a prospective hiring manager you garnered high school awards to back up skills.

Academic Achievement Examples

Certain industries place more of an emphasis on academic endeavors. Good examples include the legal profession and academia.

Those seeking attorney positions may want to consider two subheaders for each degree to include honors and activities. This format is helpful for entry-level attorneys, those that recently graduated law school or students pursuing JDs with pending graduation dates.

Consider the following examples:

Yale Law School, JD, Dec. 2019
Yale Law School, JD Candidate; Jan. 20202
Yale University, BA in Political Science, May 2016

Now, take that a couple of steps further to include honors related to academic achievements.

Under each school, list activities and honors beyond items related to GPA. See how using subheaders work under each degree:

Yale Law School; JD; Dec. 2019
Yale Law Review
American Constitution Society

Yale University, BA in Political Science, May 2012
Rhodes Scholar; 2018
Yale Daily News, Editor in Chief
Yale Women In Business
Yale Entrepreneurial Society

Honors and Awards Resume Examples

In this section, we will start with an honor and build from there.

The below contains an example when only listing the dean’s list:

BS in Economics|Florida State University|May 2018|Dean’s List|2015-2018| GPA: 3.8

Now, add an award to further build on the section. It looks as follows:

BS in Economics|Florida State University|May 2018|Dean’s List|2015-2018|GPA: 3.8
Awards: Student of the Year Award|2017-2018

Finally, look at an example of an entry-level applicant that goes from high school to college. It includes honors and awards examples, including how to put honor society on resume.

Under the “Education” section, let’s start with the applicant being in high school. It looks as follows:


ABC High School, Youngstown, Ohio, May 2018
Activities/Honors or Awards
▪ National Honor Society, 2015-2018
▪ A Honor Roll, 2014-2018

Resumesbot Advice: In the above, activities and honors were combined. Being on the A Honor Roll helped them get into the National Honor Society.

Now, the same applicant is a junior in college. In the example, you will see how scholarships become achievements for resume. Remember, you now put college before high school.

All items listed are scholarships for students that attend Youngstown State University:

Youngstown State University, BS in Engineering, Anticipated Graduation Date May 2021

Academic Honors
▪ Dean’s List, 2018-Present

▪ Jocelyne Kollay Linsalata Scholarship, 2018-2020
▪ Frances Fabek Crowther Scholarship; 2019-Present
▪ Emanuel N. Catsoules Scholarship; 2018-Present
▪ John B. and Julia C. Sellers and Arcelean Sellers Hampton Award; 2019

The applicant could take this another step further by listing professional membership/societies that support the chosen field of study.

Professional Memberships
▪ Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; 2019-Present
▪ Eta Kappa Nu; 2018-Present


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What Awards to Put on a Resume

Awards and honors are not limited to school-based endeavors. They complement your work history and overall professional summary.

An award may go along with a license or certification. In that case, document the certification or license, the association and the award.

The below provide ways on how to list awards on resume example.

Sample 1

Licenses and Certifications

Illinois Real Estate License|Since June 2018


National Association of Realtors


2018 Global Achievement Program Award Winners; Silver Councils Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®

In this example, the company won an award. However, that does not take away from the accomplishment of the individual that helped the company win it.

Sample 2

Project Manager of the Year [Name], Chicago Commercial Real Estate Awards, March 2019

In the above example, the applicant decided to list this as part of a license. You could document this in a summary under work history. The candidate included the company name to demonstrate which property made the recipient win the award.

Sample 3

Work Experience

Property Manager, 123 Real Estate Co., Chicago, IL., June 2016 – Present

  • Contributed to company development by increasing property investments by 35%; efforts resulted in winning Project Manager of the Year at the March 2019 Chicago Commercial Real Estate Awards

The applicant could also list this type of award under a specific employer under the work history section. Remember, the candidate will list it as a measurable action that shows career achievements and not job duties.

Accomplishment Examples for Resumes

Take a look at how to use achievements and accomplishments for seasoned job seekers. For applicants with experience, recruiters want to see measurable results. Now that you know where to place those, let’s see how that translates into some examples.

The below could go under a specific employer as part of your work history. That looks as follows:

  • Maintained a customer satisfaction rating of 95% for the past two years, which led to a promotion.
  • In 2019, averaged 35% for bringing in new accounts, beating the department average of 15%.

If you cannot quantify, you still have ways to demonstrate skills rather than just listing job duties. Samples include:

  • Designed a new training program from scratch.
  • Trained 25 staff members on a new CRM system.

Now, examine why those examples work:

  • The first one shows the applicant had no help. This speaking to skills and the ability to perform the job.
  • In the second example, the applicant quantified the number of people trained. However, in the second one, when taking a closer look, the candidate could take it a step further.

The more-quantified version becomes:

“Trained 25 staff members on a new CRM system, which resulted in the most well-received training program in the company’s history; follow-up surveys averaged a 98% satisfaction rate.”

A professional achievement or accomplishment applies to volunteer work too. Consider including volunteer work when a job is:

  • Community based
  • Nonprofit

Additionally, include volunteer positions when:

  • It has transferable skills.
  • It demonstrates skills if you lack experience.

A sample looks as follows:

  • Raised $25,000 in 2018 for the American Cancer Society.

Find Meaning in Your Accomplishments at Any Job Stage

No matter what type of job you seek, you have ways to highlight your achievements at every stage of your career. Use the tips and samples provided to ensure you include accomplishments and honors that complement your chosen field.

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