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Honors and Activities Section

Media File: Honors and Activities Section

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What's the best way for you to approach your honors and activities section? Read below for some options.

What is an honors and activities section?

This section of the résumé highlights the relevant activities you have been involved with and the honors you have received that you could discuss with your prospective employer. You also want to communicate how these activities and honors might make you an asset to the organization.

An honors and activities section might include the following.

  • Academic awards and scholarships
  • Membership in campus, national, or international organizations
  • Leadership positions held in campus, national, or international organizations
  • University and community service positions
  • Work-related awards or honors
  • Date of award or dates of involvement in an activity

Samples:

  • Firstar Outstanding Student Scholarship 2007
  • Copy Editor, Purdue University's student newspaper August 2005-December 2006
  • Coach, local middle school soccer team August 2004-December 2005
  • Vice President, Golden Key National Honor Society August 2003-May 2004

Why write an honors and activities section?

  • To customize your résumé for specific positions
  • To provide evidence of your qualifications
  • To demonstrate that your work has been recognized as of a high quality by others
  • To provide evidence that you are a well-rounded person
  • To stand out and show how unique of an individual you are
  • To reflect your values and commitment

Where should you place this section?

The honors and activities section is generally placed after the education and experience sections of the résumé. Since this section is usually the last one on the résumé, you can include as many or as few honors and activities as space permits.

How to build your honors and activities section

It is best to brainstorm a list of all your honors and activities before you write the honors section of the résumé. Then you can choose the most relevant and recent honors and activities from your list. Remember that this section is supposed to help you stand out from the crowd and demonstrate your qualifications for a position; consequently, you may not need or want to include all of the honors and activities from you list on the résumé.

Content to consider

Samples:

Scholarships

  • Robert C. Byrd Four-year Academic Scholarship 2004-2008
  • Alfred H. Nolle Scholarship by the Alpha Chi National Honor Society 2004-2006

Academic Honors

  • Dean's List 2004-present
  • Who's Who Among College and University Students 2006
  • Leadership Positions
  • Phi Kappa Delta (International Speech Honor Society) Vice-President 2004-2006
  • Secretary of Correspondence of Purdue University's Chapter of the Golden Key Honor Society 2005-2007

Membership in Professional Organizations

  • Eta Kappa Nu (Electrical Engineering Honor Society) 2004-present
  • University Service Positions
  • Freshmen Engineering Academic Counseling 2004-2006
  • Residence Hall Freshmen Council 2006-2008

Community Service Positions

  • Boy Scouts of America Assistant Scoutmaster 2005-present
  • Tippecanoe County Adult Reading Program Tutor 2006-present

Questions to ask

About you

  • What activities have you been involved with in the past and in the present?
  • What kinds of activities and honors are valued most highly in your field?
  • Which of your activities and honors are most closely associated with your career goals?
  • Which of your activities and honors will the company to which you are applying consider most valuable?
  • What does your involvement in activities, related and unrelated to your career goals, reveal about you and your values? How can you "sell" these activities to an employer?

About the company or organization

  • What are the values considered most important by the company you are applying to or by the field in general?

Tailoring for your audience

The activities and honors section of the résumé is a great place to tailor it for specific positions, companies, and organizations. This section can become customized for specific positions since you will probably not include all of your activities and honors but only those that make your résumé stronger. To tailor this section for your audience, you should apply the same principles that you used in tailoring the experience section of your résumé.

You should:

  1. Select and include only your most relevant experiences: Based upon your career goals and the qualifications desired by the company, you will likely find that certain activities and honors are less relevant for specific positions. For example, if you are applying for a mechanical engineering position, your role as a youth leader in a local group may not interest your audience. If you are applying for a teaching position, however, this same activity might be very relevant.
  2. Place your most relevant experiences first: Since readers are most likely to read information closer to the top of the page, place your most impressive experiences first.
  3. Appeal to your company's values: If the company values problem solving, for example, or taking the initiative or being a team player, then be sure to include activities and honors from your list that demonstrate that you possess those skills.

Click on the link at the top of this resource for a sample résumé.

For more information, please see the Interactive Résumé.

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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.