Careers Resources Writing Skills

Apply for Awards

Dec 14, 2023

Apply for awards. You may not care about getting recognized for your work. But awards have additional benefits: they make you more competitive for grants, give you leverage for negotiations and promotions, and they help other people hear about your work. That’s a lot of bang for your buck, considering award applications are usually easier to write than grant applications.

To illustrate, I received the 2022 Dorothy Booz Black Award in Counseling Health Psychology. I experienced these benefits from the award:

  • Grant writing. The award is evidence I can use to establish my expertise. For example: My expertise in counseling health psychology was recognized in 2022 with the Dorothy Booz Black Award from the Society of Counseling Psychology.
  • Negotiating raises or promotions. For my promotion to full professor packet, I can now write, I have established an international reputation. My work was recognized by the Society for Counseling Psychology in 2022 with the Dorothy Booz Black Award.
  • Helped other people hear about my work. Two colleagues wrote letters for this award. I’m close with them, but they both told me they learned about my work while writing their letters. This was true regardless of whether I received the award. And since I did receive the award, my university publicized it. Awards give others a chance to brag about you.

You may be thinking, awards only help if you win. Yes, awards are most helpful if you win. But regardless of whether you win, there are long-term benefits. People will be more likely to think of you for opportunities. Your letter writers will keep an eye out for other awards that come up. It’s easier for them to nominate you because they have a letter for you. And your application can be the foundation for your next application.

But maybe this whole conversation feels self-centered. Let me gently suggest that awards don’t have to be about you. They can also be about opening doors for your work (e.g., see grants, negotiations, and promotions benefits above).

Many people don’t apply for awards. I’ve sat on multiple award committees. You’d be surprised how few people apply to awards they could be competitive for.

So throw your hat in the ring. At worst, you lose a few days of work. To find awards, keep an eye on your professional listservs and conference communications. Most professional societies give out multiple awards each year, because they know how important awards can be for your career.

For extra credit, nominate someone else for an award. We all benefit when we help each other. That’s what this newsletter is about, after all. Thanks for reading and believing that scholars deserve support for incredible ideas. And happy holidays! “See” you in 2024.


Stay in touch: The Newsletter, Bluesky, TikTok, and The Grant Writing Guide book.

P.S. Applying for awards can be one way to hit 100 rejections in 2024!

P.P.S. If you need a last minute holiday gift, you can still get 20% off my book with the code Lai20. The code is good through the end of this year.

P.P.P.S. Have you ever tried Table Talk pies? There’s a factory near us. Mini-pies are less than 40 cents. We were so excited, we accidentally bought 24.