Date posted: 11/08/2022 3 min read

5 tips for writing trophy-winning award nominations

Taking the time to write an impressive award submission that both addresses the criteria and builds an impactful story could be the only thing standing in the way of you - or the person you nominate - gaining well-deserved professional recognition.

In Brief

  • Award submissions present an opportunity for professionals to highlight their own or others’ accomplishments, and receive recognition
  • Award applications are used to provide an overview of the nominee and their achievements and demonstrate how they fit the award criteria
  • Award nominations that build an impactful story of why the nominee is deserving of the award for which they are being nominated for stand out from the crowd

To catch the eye of the judging panel, award nominations must tell a story of why the nominee deserves the award and demonstrate how they satisfy the category criteria with examples.

Here are 5 tips to help you write a trophy-worthy award-winning submission:

1. Be prepared

The first step to completing a great award submission is to understand the award itself. What behaviour or achievement does it aim to reward? Who has won in the past, and on what grounds? What elements make your submission worthy of particular consideration? To ensure your first impression is personable and targets the award criteria:

  • Read the required nomination components carefully and understand the intent and criteria of the award before applying.
  • Research the award, and the companies that support the award. Read about their history, their customers, their key personnel and their philosophy. If possible, reflect those messages in your award submission.
  • Compile all nomination materials prior to initiating the online nomination process. Although some award applications allow you to save what you've done and go back later, having all the necessary components compiled before you begin will make the process much smoother.

2. Make sure to answer the questions

Tailor every award submission, and always write to the brief. Try to avoid using one standard version that you use for every application, as it may come off as impersonal or include irrelevant details.

Use your submission to:

  • introduce yourself or who you are nominating (name)
  • outline why you are submitting an entry (the award); and
  • explain why you or the nominee fit the award criteria and are deserving of the award (here you can draw on relevant experience and achievements as examples).

Make sure to include the requirements the judges are looking for, as laid out in the award submission information.

3. Keep your story simple and specific

Many award submissions follow a common pattern. For example, they judges will likely want to know the challenge faced, the solution proposed, how the work was successfully carried out, and the results.

Tell this like a story, with a beginning, middle and end. You want to show the judges you have a clear and compelling purpose and the right attributes to deserve the award.

Remember that every sentence in your award submission counts, so it is important to be clear and concise, and avoid any generalisations that might weaken your argument.

4. Highlight achievements

Make sure you include any previous awards or recognition the nominee has received.

Highlight both professional and personal achievements of the nominee by telling the story of how they:

  • impact individuals and others within their community
  • display ongoing initiative, leadership and dedication; and
  • strive to make a difference. It is best to provide specific examples of how the nominee has met or exceeded the requirements for the award. It is not useful to offer general statements such as noting that the nominee is excellent or a hard worker.

Where possible, use facts and figures to support statements. Reinforcing the outstanding attributes of the nominee with relevant data points adds weight to the submission.

5. Get it reviewed

A trusted colleague, partner or friend are all great candidates to review the award submission before you enter.

Ideally you want someone who is not familiar with the finer details of the nominee's achievements to review your application, as they'll be able to give you honest, objective feedback about how compelling your story is.

We hope you find these award-submission tips helpful next time you go to write one for yourself, or nominate a deserving friend or colleague. Good luck!

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