How To List Honors On Your Resume

Adding honors to your resume helps job seekers make an impression. It shows transferable skills. Here’s how to do that with a few examples to get started

9 months ago   •   5 min read

By Resume Worded Editorial Team
Table of contents

The job hunt is hard. It’s even harder when you struggle with standing out from other applicants. One way to boost your job search, and your resume, is by listing honors on your resume.

Should You List Honors On Your Resume?

A resume serves as a snapshot of your strengths and experiences for prospective employers. This includes times when you went above and beyond, and were commended for it. Depending on the honors, they can emphasize your intelligence, leadership skills, or dedication to a project.

In your resume, always include any information that is relevant to the prospective job and your experience. This includes putting honors on your resume. However, just like any other piece of information on your resume, it is all about placement and relevance.

It is often recommended to only include the last 15 years of employment history or jobs relevant to the prospective job on your resume. The same goes for including honors. Some honors always hold relevance in the job search. On the other hand, you might need to leave others off.

A good way to find out if you have listed honors relevant to the job or if you need to leave them off, is to upload your resume to the tool below - it’ll scan it and let you know what you need to add or remove from your resume and give you suggestions on how to improve other aspects of your resume.

What Honors Should You Include On Your Resume?

There are a lot of honors that might go on a resume. Some of these honors include degree honors, cumulative GPA, and awards.

To make it simple, let’s break them down into two groups. Honors that always have relevance and honors that you can leave off as time goes on.

Honors To Include On Your Resume

Honors that always have relevance on a resume are the ones that can help you land a job. They help you stand out or may help to form a connection with the hiring manager.

The following have always have a place on your resume:

Honors To Include:

  • Academic Greek Societies
  • Standing Within An Organization (President, Vice President)
  • College Degree Honors (Cum laude, Magna cum laude, etc.)
  • High Cumulative GPA

These honors make you stand out from the crowd. Academic Greek societies are often field-specific. A hiring manager might belong to the same one. College degree honors show that you are a hard worker and are skilled in your field. Retaining the title of President or Vice President in a student organization shows leadership--a quality most employers desire.

Only include your cumulative GPA if it is over 3.5. In addition, it is best to include it with the grading scale. Since different institutions have different grading scales, this gives the employer a better frame of reference.

Honors To Exclude From Your Resume

The types of honors to exclude is tricky. When first starting out in your career, it is best to include these on your resume. However, once you’ve progressed beyond entry level, feel free to eventually exclude these honors.

Honors To Eventually Exclude:

  • Low Cumulative GPA
  • Honor Roll Distinctions
  • Awards Or Prizes

While these are wonderful honors, they lose relevance over time.

If you have five years of experience in the field, your performance in college is less relevant. Making the Dean’s List is a great accomplishment, but again, loses relevance as you progress in your career. Unless the award or prize is field-specific--winning a STEM award and you’re an engineer--it is not as relevant as you think.

You might have noticed that cumulative GPA is included in both sections. That’s because if your GPA is under 3.5, you should not include it at all.

There are exceptions to every rule. When deciding what to include, ask yourself, how relevant is this to my field, my current experience, and the job I’m applying for?

Additional Honors To Include On Your Resume

Each job seeker is different. This includes the types of honors they’ve received. To help a wide range of job seekers attain their goal of employment, this next section covers honors like publications.

Depending on schooling and field, some applicants may have conducted research or had an article published in a journal. These types of honors are always relevant. They demonstrate your ability to research, think critically and often, work with a team.

Always include publications in a separate section. Often, those who have publications choose to structure their resume into a CV.

However, it is still easy enough to add in a publications section after the education section on your resume. If your publications are more recent than your degree, put them above the education section. It shows a real-world application of your degree, and has more relevance to your current experience.

How To List Honors On Your Resume?

Understanding the best way to list honors on your resume is equally as important as knowing which ones to include. Consider grouping specific honors with the section in which they hold the most relevance.

For example, the education section is the best place to put your cumulative GPA. This provides context for the information.

See an example below:

Sample resume showing cumulative GPA and academic awards under the “education” section.
Sample resume showing cumulative GPA and academic awards under the “education” section. ‌‌

Another issue you might find is formatting the specific honor. Here is a great guide from Purdue Owl on formatting these sentences on your resume.

With so many different types of academic honors, it can be difficult to know where to place all of them, or which to include. Let’s look at another type of academic honor, awards.

How To List Awards On Your Resume?

Remember to only include awards on your resume if they are either relevant to your field or if they emphasize a specific aspect of your experience.

For example, if you were awarded a teachership fellow award or graduated in the top 5% or 10% of your class, place it in the education section. Again, this makes it easy to read. It also highlights what you accomplished during school.

See an example below of an education section of a resume, that highlights awards:

Resume Worded University     January 2012
Master of Engineering
• Awards: Resume Worded Teaching Fellow (only 5 awarded to class), Dean's List 2012 (Top 10%)Sample resume showing awards placed under education subsection.

What If I Have Limited Job Experience?

When developing your resume, you might run into the problem of having limited job experience. If this is the case, consider beefing up the extracurriculars and honors section of your resume. Often, these skills are transferable to jobs and emphasize your abilities.

In this scenario, adding in an extracurriculars or honors section to your resume is beneficial. Start by listing out any organizations you belong to or volunteer experience you have. Then, much like you would with jobs, list your responsibilities. Write each blurb in an active voice to make yourself stand out.

If you have limited work experience, you should aim to show transferable skills and hard skills relevant to the job you’re applying for — use the skills search tool below to search for the right skills.

Closing Thoughts

Job applicants can easily get discouraged when they don’t hear back from potential employers. They question their resume. They question if they’re good enough. You are good enough. And, a few small tweaks to your resume can result in landing an interview or a job.

By including honors in your resume, you stand out. Honors on a resume can catch a hiring manager’s eye. They help you make an impression.

Resume building is tough. Outside feedback is never a bad idea. A quick way to do that is to run your resume through our free assessment tool, Score My Resume. It scans your resume and gives you immediate feedback on how to improve it.

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