Putting your name forward for an industry award is a lot like applying for a job. The effort you put in to it shows and the same principles apply – address the criteria, don’t have any spelling mistakes and make sure you are telling a good story.
With a view to helping those of you who are considering whether they should enter this year’s RCSA Awards, we have put together our top seven tips for how to complete and submit your awards application.
1. Make sure you qualify
Have a close look at the selection criteria before you start your application. Do you actually meet ALL the criteria set down to be eligible for a particular award?
Aspirational applications may be good for your self-esteem, but otherwise they are a waste of your time and that of judges. If you are not sure if you meet the criteria, run the idea past a trusted peer to see if they agree.
If you do not meet the criteria for a particular award, look for other awards where you are eligible. Or, make a note of what steps you need to take to be eligible to apply for the award next year.
2. Stick to the criteria
We cannot stress this enough – read the criteria for the award and stick to it. If you want your application to stand out, don’t let it be for the wrong reasons such as telling a great story which has nothing to do with the awards criteria.
When an industry body sets awards criteria, it is not done haphazardly. The criteria has been set for a reason. If the judges are to judge your application against others, you will have no chance if you have gleefully disregarded the criteria which is clearly stated.
3. Check you grammar and spelling
This is where you need to follow your own advice to jobseekers. How many times have you stressed to candidates the importance of clean applications, resumes and cover letters with no spelling or grammatical mistakes?
The same applies to those entering industry awards. Award applications riddled with spelling errors are treated in the same way job applications with the same errors would be; the content of the application is lost behind the mistakes and the application is immediately discounted.
4. Stick to word limits
If the application criteria asks you to answer a question in 250 words or less, do not exceed that limit.
Judges are looking at a lot of applications and those which ignore the rules by including too much information will be binned. It’s that simple.
5. Answer EVERY question