The job hunt is hard. It’s even harder to stand out from other equally qualified applicants. One easy way to boost your job search is by listing honors on your resume.
Should you list honors on your resume?
Yes! If you're a recent graduate, academic honors absolutely belong on your resume. Including honors on your resume allows you to:
- Demonstrate your work ethic and commitment
- Illustrate that you turn in high quality work and get results
- Provide evidence of your achievements and academic qualifications
- Customize your resume for a specific job
- Stand out from a sea of other applicants with similar qualifications and experience
And the best news is, it only takes a few minutes. Here's how!
How to put honors on your resume
- Brainstorm all of your honors and activities. These can be extracurricular or part of your degree program.
- Scan the job description to see if you have any obvious matches. For example, if you're applying for a job as an accountant, definitely include your position as a society treasurer.
- Also include any particularly prestigious honors or awards (scroll down for help choosing the best ones).
- List your most relevant and/or impressive honors first. Aim to include 1-5 honors in total.
- Add as much information as necessary, including the name of the honor, where you got it from, and when.
We'll take a look at some examples of how to list honors on your resume later, but first, here's a short list of the honors that do — and don't — belong on 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. These can help you stand out or form a connection with the hiring manager.
The following have always have a place on your resume:
- Standing within an organization (e.g. President, Vice President)
- Academic fraternities and Greek societies (e.g. Phi Beta Kappa)
- Latin honors (e.g. cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude)
- Professional honors and work-related awards
These are all prestigious honors that will stand the test of time and can stay on your resume, especially if they only take up a line or two.
Honors to exclude from your resume
In general, more common or less prestigious honors have less of a place on your resume. If you're just starting out in your career, you can include more of these than usual, but once you have a little more experience under your belt, you can safely start removing them.
You should eventually remove honors like:
- Club membership (including membership in campus, national, international, or community service organizations)
- High cumulative GPA (3.5 or above)
- Honor Roll Distinctions (e.g. Dean's List)
- Academic awards and prizes
Of course, 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?
Where to put honors on a resume (with examples)
You can choose to list honors in a few different places on your resume:
- In the education section
- In a separate awards section
- In your work experience section
- In an additional information section
Below, we've included resume examples for you to follow and tips on the best place for different types of honors.
How to list honors in your education section
The education section of your resume is the best place for academic honors and cumulative GPA. You can list these below your degree and major, along with extracurricular activities, study abroad, and relevant coursework.
When: If you're a current student or recent graduate with a longer than usual education section.
How: Having issues with formatting? Here's a great guide from Purdue Owl on how to format honors on your resume.
Here's a text-based example for you to copy and paste:
Resume Worded University January 2012
Master of Engineering
• Awards: Resume Worded Teaching Fellow (only 5 awarded to class), Dean's List 2012 (Top 10%)
Listing honors in a separate awards section
If you have a lot of honors or awards, you might be best served by creating a separate resume section to list them.
When: If you want to shine a spotlight on any particularly impressive honors.
How: Create a separate 'Awards' section underneath your work experience. List the name and date of the award as well as any other pertinent information.
Highlighting honors in your work experience
Hiring managers care most about your work experience, which means that anything you definitely want them to notice should go in that section.
When: If you have work-related honors or awards.
How: Include it as a separate bullet point underneath your employer and job title.
Briefly listing honors in an additional information section
Want to keep honors on your resume without taking up a lot of space? Consider moving older awards to an additional section at the bottom of your resume.
When: If you have older honors you still want to include on your resume.
How: Include honors or awards on a single line with an 'Awards' subheading.
When to include (and remove) honors on your resume
A resume serves as a snapshot of your strengths and experiences for prospective employers. In your resume, always include any information that is relevant to the 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.
The 15 year rule
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 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.
Don't get discouraged. Job hunting is tough, especially when you're just starting out. Sometimes, all you need is a few small tweaks to your resume — not a complete overhaul.
Including honors on your resume helps you to stand out. Relevant or prestigious honors can catch a hiring manager’s eye and help you make an impression.
Remove honors from your resume over time. What's relevant as a recent graduate will become less important once you have a few years of experience. Hiring managers will always care more about work-based accomplishments than educational honors.
Get feedback on your resume. 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.