CPC Awards of Excellence: So Much More Than Recognition

Scrabble tiles spelling out "Why Not Try"

After receiving a gentle nudge, I decided to submit my résumé work for consideration in CPC’s prestigious Awards of Excellence program last year. Previous résumé award recipients include Canada’s top résumé writers so, as someone fairly new to the profession, my expectations were not high. I figured I had nothing to lose and got busy preparing my submission. Through the process, I discovered benefits that went beyond recognition, and the experience helped me become a better résumé writer. No matter what category of award you submit an entry in, I’m confident that you, too, will gain so much more than the potential of recognition. 

Like me, here’s what you may gain by submitting a résumé for award consideration;

Strengthen Skills by Re-reading The Canadian Résumé Strategist Certification Study Guide

It’s my goal to deliver high-level quality services to my clients so it’s essential I stay informed of emerging trends, practices, and advances within the profession. These same standards are an absolute necessity when preparing an award submission.

I studied CPC’s The Canadian Résumé Strategist Certification Study Guide (CRS Study Guide) inside out before applying for my Certified Résumé Strategist (CRS) credential but had not taken the time to re-examine the updated guide until preparing my award submission package. (CRS’s receive the annual update free of charge. Anyone can purchase the guide online.)

Re-reading the guide was an amazing refresher and helped me ensure my submission incorporated key concepts of résumé development. I was reminded to be deliberate with brand identity, value proposition, headline fundamentals, and so much more when preparing career documents.

Improve Focus on Structure, Spelling, and Grammar

At one time, I presented regularly to groups. I’ve always been jittery with public speaking, but the nerves went up a notch when presenting to staff at my own organization. Presenting to your peers can feel intimidating.

The Awards of Excellence judges are members of CPC, part of our community, and our peers. So yes, it was important that I present my work to them — error-free.

Typos, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors can greatly diminish client success and give hiring managers and award judges a poor first impression. The CRS Study Guide dedicates an entire chapter to spelling and grammar emphasizing that the most common errors occur with faulty parallelism and passive voice sentence construction. These are avoidable, so I invested time to minimize these mistakes.

I used all my proofreading tricks: breaking between writing and reviewing, reading printed versions, reviewing backwards, watching for my common mistakes including practice (noun)/practise (verb), and repeat. Proofing my submission translated into improved focus on structure, spelling, and grammar with client documents.

Practise Writing About Strategy

Do you ever operate on auto-pilot? That can be me when it comes to being strategic with client résumés. I’m not saying it’s easy, but experience and CPC training has helped me learn how to position and promote client strengths, mitigate career obstacles such as age, and ensure résumé readability.

The award submission must include a statement detailing (in 500 words or less) the rationalization used in developing the résumé. Preparing the statement forced me to reflect on and write why I incorporated different features and techniques in the submission résumé. Documenting the strategy provided me with more practise writing concisely and helped me better articulate my rationale for incorporating specific techniques when speaking with clients about their résumés.

Minimize Imposter Syndrome

Clients and job seekers do not hold the rights to imposter syndrome; résumé writers can also experience those nasty feelings of self-doubt. Cathy Milton’s CPC article on Imposter Syndrome includes several strategies to break the cycle.

Preparing a résumé award submission is one way to interrupt imposter syndrome and give yourself a pat on the back. I found the process of examining past work, selecting the best résumés, and giving those documents a final review and polish, validating. I was able to reframe my self-view as a professional résumé writer much more positively and better recognize the value I provide to clients.

Career Professionals of Canada states “that recognizing outstanding individuals in our profession is one of our most important activities.” Qualifying submissions receive Nominee, Honourable Mention, or Winner award.

Call to Action

I’ve met some incredible career development professionals through our CPC membership and CPC Facebook and LinkedIn groups. I believe each of us offers something unique and special. Give yourself the recognition you deserve and submit your name and work for an Award of Excellence. You’ll receive much more than an award through the experience.

Barb Penney is a master certified and award-winning résumé strategist, a certified work-life strategist, and ferocious learner of all things career-related. She values her CPC membership and has become a dedicated volunteer. Support from a career professional early in her human resources career inspired her to help others as an independent career consultant and résumé writer working under the banner of Winning Resumes Career Solutions. Barb and her husband are 9X Ironman finishers and are always training for their next race.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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Thanks Barb for this thoughtfully written article and sharing your experience. You are absolutely on point about the value that the Awards of Excellence brings other than recognition. It will increase your credibility, confidence, skill set and, add to your personal Brand reputation. Yes, I agree, that no matter what category of award you submit an entry in, you will gain so much more than the potential of recognition – SO GO FOR IT. 

Thanks Erika. I appreciate the work that you and other Awards Committee Volunteers do to support members like me.