Does this belong on a resume?
November 24, 2010 6:29 AM   Subscribe

Should I list this honor on my resume? If so, how?

I was involved with a national organization in my home country for over a decade. The organization selects and trains the national team for a well-respected extra-curricular activity (let's call it spelunking, although we're not talking about a sport, really), holds national spelunking competitions for students, conducts spelunking clinics for students, and conducts clinics for spelunking coaches and judges. I was solely or jointly responsible for organizing and/or conducting one or more events of each of those types. I was also on the national spelunking team (which did really well in the international competition) when I was a high school student.

My involvement with the organization, and the roles I was in, are on my resume already. Awards I received as a competitor, national and international, are not.

My country has a history of doing well in high-school and university level spelunking competitions, but people in other countries who aren't involved with international competitions would probably not be aware of or expect that.

A couple of years ago, after I had stopped being so active in the organization, the national award for best individual competitor was named after me. Since then, each year, the student who performs best individually in the national competition receives the "AnonymousMefite Best Spelunker of the Year" trophy.

I have a history of not recognizing which of my accomplishments are thought of as a big deal by other people. I was pretty embarrassed by the award being named after me, but it occurred to me today that this might be something that potential employers would find of value, given that I would am seeking work in the training of this activity or something related to it. I'm not in my home country anymore, but the activity itself is high status (as extracurricular activities go) worldwide.

So, the questions are:
a) should I list this on my resume?
b) if this at all belongs, how would one word something like this without sounding hopelessly conceited?

Anonymous because I find the whole process of listing my own accomplishments painfully embarrassing.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It depends in large part on what job you want and what the activity is. You are anonymous, so the whole "spelunking" thing just strikes me as being coy (or funny, which isn't what AskMe is for). If you tell the mods what the activity is and what your industry is and have them supplement the question you'll get better answers -- or at least I'll be able to give you a better answer if you happen to be in my industry.
posted by The Bellman at 6:33 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd say yes, it shows you go all out for something.
posted by Blake at 6:38 AM on November 24, 2010

Agree with the Bellman about being coy. But as someone who has reviewed a lot of resumes, I think that this would be salient information only for spelunking-related employers. Moreover, in my experience, nothing extracurricular has probative value the hirings I've seen--so whether you made a short film, were a championship snorkler, or published a book of well-received villanelles, it doesn't make much of a difference in hiring.

That said, it can make for a livelier conversation if someone is interested, and getting people on your side is valuable. But whether "spelunking" translates into an interpersonal connection is pure chance.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:44 AM on November 24, 2010

Normally, yes, one lists volunteer activities that demonstrate a relevant professional skill on the resume. Honors earned in those activities are included. Generally, you list them in an "activities" or "professional associations" section, as you would a job: Group, Title/Role, Years, description.

On my resume, I included my pro bono lawyering activities, as well as my charity board memberships, because my current practice experience wasn't as relevant as the pro bono work and because in the legal profession, every hiring manager wants you as "connected" as possible (that's how you bring in business). So if this activity has any relevance to your job (you manage people, logistics, money--for instance--in both) or any additional professional value (it brings you into close personal contact with potential clients), list it without embarrassment. But when you list it, make sure it's clear that you have listed it because it is relevant to your professional job skills/value.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:45 AM on November 24, 2010

This question really can't be answered as it is presented. Your being coy does us no favors in trying to figure out whether this is worthy of inclusion in a resume.

To the extent that one can make a general statement about awards and such, it depends on the job and the industry and the relevance of the award to your place in life and what you want to do.

So, let me be more specific here: I've interviewed college students and recent college graduates for positions, and they have included awards not relevant to the job for which they were applying, and this was fine.

I have also interviewed older candidates, who have also included on their resumes awards that they won in high school and college, and these items cluttered up their resume.

Long story short: if you have a short work history and are just out of school, by all means include these awards. If you have a longer work history the people interviewing you likely are less interested in extracurricular things like awards and more interested in what your skills are and how your previous positions have prepared you for the current one you're interviewing for.
posted by dfriedman at 7:03 AM on November 24, 2010

I would say that for positions in spelunking training or spelunking-related training activities, all this would absolutely be relevant. Your own awards and titles can fairly straightforwardly be listed under a heading like "Activities, Awards and Achievements". The naming of the award in your honor is a bit trickier. I'd try something like:

2007 National Spelunking Organization establishes "Anonymous Mefite Best Spelunker of the Year" award for best performance in the national spelunking competition.
posted by SomeTrickPony at 7:14 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yes, include it!

My experience is that including meaningful extra-curriculars that you've devoted a lot of effort to and/or received significant distinction in is sometimes helpful and not harmful, as long as it doesn't look like resume padding or convey some kind of really quirky impression. Some will pay no attention to it, but others will be interested.

I find that younger candidates (e.g., early - mid 20s) applying for more general-skill/entry level jobs can credibly include more extra-curriculars that are removed from the job you're applying for than older candidates (30s and above). This is because by the time you're in your 30s your actual work experience should differentiate you, but in your 20s you have less experience so extra-curriculars provide more of a window into your personality and characteristics.

Also, your role in training and organizing spelunking competitions could be really relevant to many jobs. It demonstrates many potentially relevant skills -- project management, managing teams, attention to detail, public speaking/training ability...

That said, I think a long list of every trophy you won would be off-putting and too much detail. Also, it belongs in the "interests" section of your resume at the bottom, not the main body. [However, if there's one discrete big thing you won, then I would list that in the honors section up front as well.] You'll need to condense it somehow, maybe like this:

Interests: Country X National Champion Spelunker. Spelunked for X years as a member of the national team member, organizer, and trainer [plus any big titles, like President of Spelunking Association]. Won several titles, including [list 2/3 most impressive.] Organized events, including [describe 2/3 of the biggest events]. In recognition of my contributions, the Association named the Individual Best Competitor Trophy for me."
posted by yarly at 7:14 AM on November 24, 2010

Oh, I like SomeTrickPony's formulation of the award named after you better, but turned into sentence form: "In 2007 National Spelunking Organization established "Anonymous Mefite Best Spelunker of the Year" award for best performance in the national spelunking competition."
posted by yarly at 7:15 AM on November 24, 2010

Mod note: From the OP:
I'm sorry for appearing coy or jokey. That was not my intention.

To clarify.

a) The activity is debate.
b) I am not just starting my career.

c) The honour I'm asking about listing is specifically that the national individual best speaker's trophy is named after me. The honour is not about my achievements as a speaker, but about my contributions as an adult to debate education, etc.

So, should my resume say something about this trophy being named after me? If I should list it, how would it be appropriate to word that on a resume?

Once again, I apologize for being too opaque the first time around.

posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:25 AM on November 24, 2010

If you are listing other spelunking achievements on your resume, then yes, I'd definitely list it. I'd simply say something like 'From 20xx, the award for best speaker in XX National Competition was renamed the Anonymous Spelunker Trophy in my honour.'
posted by tavegyl at 7:34 AM on November 24, 2010

But I like complete sentences in resumes. YMMV.
posted by tavegyl at 7:34 AM on November 24, 2010

The clarification changes the question entirely. Speakers are very sought after in so many fields, and the fact that the award in debate is named after you is an honor that I believe many employers would find very valuable.
posted by xingcat at 7:37 AM on November 24, 2010

I would list it as "Inaugural Winner of the John Doe Trophy for Debate" (or whatever it’s called). Depending on how much information you have on your resume, I would include it. I think it’s good to have something that will make you stand out or become a conversation starter during your interview.
posted by iscavenger at 7:39 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Alternatively, you can also put it in your cover letter with a description of your contributions as an adult to debate education.
posted by rhapsodie at 8:10 AM on November 24, 2010

I agree with xingcat--debating is not spelunking, it's relevant to a host of professions. You still don't mention your industry, but if it involves managing people or advocacy of any kind (or critical thinking or a host of other things) your debate skills are going to matter. I'm a lawyer and responsible, in part, for hiring other lawyers. I guess it's obvious, but it's certainly a skill set relevant to my profession.

So: put it on the resume, mention one or two high-profile awards, and I like the "Inaugural Winner" formulation. If the interviewer is curious, he or she can ask. I wouldn't go into detail about organizing activities or the like unless your field is strongly related to that.
posted by The Bellman at 8:30 AM on November 24, 2010

Go for it. Resumes are about being different, and this will stand out. Also potential employers want depth as opposed to breadth. You got this....
posted by ao680 at 8:43 AM on November 24, 2010

Absolutely add it in. I do a fair amount of interviewing (as the interviewer). The way I see it, there are two questions that have to be answered in any interview: (1) is the interviewee capable of doing the job; and (b) do I want to have to be around this person day in and day out at work. Where the majority of a resume goes towards awswering the first question, something like this gives the interviewer something to discuss to figure out the second.
posted by rtimmel at 9:11 AM on November 24, 2010

That's a pretty big positive for a resume. As many have said, being a good debater isn't exactly unrelated to most jobs. Perhaps cast it as demonstrable evidence of good communication skills.

When reviewing resumes, this would stand out for me. Assuming acceptable other qualifications, it would definitely put you on the interview list.
posted by bonehead at 10:34 AM on November 24, 2010

If you're in a field where people sometimes organize resumes around skills or areas of expertise, that gives you another good way to work this in. You should have some section on a resume like that where this will fit: "Leadership" or "Training and teaching" or "Communications" or "Advocacy" or whatever. And then you can get all
  • Top-ABCing manager in REGION DEF during years MMMM-NNNN.
  • Honored by ORGANIZATION PQR for lifetime service to high school debate.
with it, without needing to carve out a special "Honors" section that might wind up looking kind of bullshitty in some fields.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:27 AM on November 24, 2010

'From 20xx, the award for best speaker in XX National Competition was renamed the Anonymous Spelunker Trophy in my honour.'

Something like this makes sense to me too, except I'd probably change the ending to say 'to honour my contributions as an adult to debate education'. This probably could be written better, but what I'm getting at is the distinction between the awards you won when you were participating directly and the naming of this award which honours your contributions as a trainer/mentor etc. Those are two different types of contribution to the organisation and two different sets of skills, one as a debater your self and one teaching others, and I think it's worth letting people know that.

The 'inaugural winner' thing doesn't' make any sense to me at all. You didn't win this award right? And the award is given to someone for being good at debating whereas it was named after you for being a teacher of debating, so they're two different things. The ongoing commitment and ability to mentor others that you've demonstrated are important skills in their own right regardless of how good you are at the actual activity, don't let that get lost.
posted by shelleycat at 11:45 AM on November 24, 2010

OneTrickPony's suggestion is the right one, mas o menos, if your eponymous award was not awarded to you but simply named in your honor.

If you were the inaugural winner of your eponymous award, then lscavenger's formulation is quite good.

I mean, you're a word person, so you'll tinker with it.

In other news, if you did win your eponymous award, please let me know so that I can add you to my list of people who have won their eponymous awards.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:58 PM on November 24, 2010

No reason to be so humble here... There's probably a reason the award was named after you - and don't tell me it's because you were the only candidate. Mention it, along with any specific experience / expertise you have in the field. When applying with specific employers, be specific as to how this award / your experience creates an asset.
posted by chrisinseoul at 10:35 AM on November 25, 2010

SomeTrickPony has the right answer... and lookee there, managed to do so without the OP reveal.

For what it's worth, OP, I had guessed debate before you shared it (debate nerds represent!).

You are anonymous, so the whole "spelunking" thing just strikes me as being coy (or funny, which isn't what AskMe is for). If you tell the mods what the activity is and what your industry is and have them supplement the question you'll get better answers -- or at least I'll be able to give you a better answer if you happen to be in my industry.

I don't agree that you were off-base by using spelunking as your stand-in. Not only would it now be fairly easy to suss out your real identity, it obviously wasn't necessary for answering of the question.

You were an expert and acclaimed student spelunker, and now you're applying for a position in a spelunking-related industry, both of which you made clear in your original post, and which are the two most germane details. We were given all the information we needed to make a relevant suggestion. I'm sorry that you were pressured into revealing something you didn't feel comfortable with.

I mean, you're a word person, so you'll tinker with it.

Just as a point of order, debater ≠ strong writer, in some cases.
posted by pineapple at 11:20 AM on November 25, 2010

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