Tips for a Top-Notch Awards of Excellence Submission
I have been a member of the judging team for Career Professionals of Canada’s Awards of Excellence (AoE) program for 10 years now. It is always an exciting and interesting experience. It’s inspiring to see the résumés submitted by talented writers and to learn about the exceptional client-focused work being done by outstanding career development practitioners nominated in the professional categories. The July 1st deadline for submissions to the 2022 awards may seem a long way off, but it will be here before we know it. To encourage and hopefully help members who would like to enter this year’s contest, I’d like to share my tips for how to put together a top-notch Awards of Excellence submission.
10 Tips for a Top-Notch Awards of Excellence Submission
1) Read the Awards Submission Guidelines carefully. And then read them again. It may help to print the guidelines out so that you can use them as a checklist before finalizing and sending in your submission(s). If you don’t understand something, or would like to ask a question for clarification, just ask! We’re happy to help clear things up for you.
2) Follow the category rules and instructions. For example, if a category specifies a maximum of 5 pages for supporting documents, stick to that. More is not always better. If there are 2 equally strong entries in a category, the ability of one applicant over another to follow directions may just be the deciding factor!
3) Make each entry unique. If entering in multiple categories, avoid a “shotgun approach” by submitting identical packages. Each category is unique — just like you and your work – so demonstrate how you’ve given careful thought to targeting the focus of the category.
4) Take advantage of the “real estate” offered to support your submission. If a category instructs you to include a 500-word strategy statement explaining your rationale, take advantage of that! A 30-word or 2-line strategy statement will likely not provide much insight. A lot of careful thought went into your work, so help the judges understand the strategy you pursued.
5) Refer to trusted resources. Especially for the résumé categories, have trusted, authoritative reference material close at hand, such as The Canadian Résumé Strategist eGuide. It never hurts to double-check if you’re following current best practices.
6) Think strategically. For example, if you’re entering a résumé for a new graduate with little-to-no work experience, should the document really be 3 text-heavy pages?
7) Check your writing for consistency. For example, ensure consistency in how you present numbers. Don’t mention “5 years’ experience” immediately followed with “renewed six lucrative contracts.” If you’ve used serial commas in some places, use them throughout your work.
8) Proofread, proofread, proofread. Is your language set to English (CAN) in Word? Did you run your work through the Spelling and Grammar checker in Word? Do you have any cases of faulty parallelism that should be fixed?
9) Enlist proofreading help (not writing or wordsmithing). A second and third pair of eyes can be very useful. Find friends, colleagues, or family members you know to be good writers with keen attention to detail and ask them to review your work. And don’t forget to read it again after you’ve incorporated their proofing edits as you may have inserted a typo or two in the process. The submission must be your own work and not theirs.
10) Watch your deadline. There’s still 4 months to go before the Awards of Excellence submission deadline of midnight, July 1st. But why wait? Start working on your entries now and fine-tune them over the next few weeks. Time has a way of creeping up on us. You don’t want to wait until the 11th hour and find yourself in a rush situation where mistakes are bound to happen. I’m really looking forward to reading your top-notch awards submissions, so start planning now!
4 Winning Awards of Excellence Submissions from 2021’s Competition
Take a look at these four winning entries! They offer great examples of top-notch submissions, demonstrating what it takes to create your own outstanding Awards of Excellence package in 2022. You can do it!
Cathy Milton, after a long career in the telecommunications industry, embarked on the path to become a résumé writer. She has been a member of CPC for 10 years now, and has earned the MCRS, MCIS, MCCS, MCES, and MCWS designations. Cathy is an advisor for CPC and the association’s Communications Manager. She is an avid sailor, a fairly decent cook, and active “pack member” in her pet menagerie.