Once you pick an award and a person to nominate, use these tips to craft a letter that will help the person shine.

How to write a successful nomination letter and submit a winning awards package

Once you pick an award and you pick the person to nominate Illustration of a woman using a laptop

The best nomination packages have excellent letters of support by several people. This is encouraged, even if not required.

Ask for these letters early! When asking for nomination letters include:

  • A due date to follow. Not just any due date, but one that gives time for you up if the person has not given you the letter
  • The requirements for the award. Provide the announcement or a link to it.

When asked to write a nomination letter for someone, you should:

  • Be able to write from the heart. If you can’t, you may not be the best person to write this letter. It is okay to tell someone no.
  • It is okay to ask this person for additional information. Relevant materials such as a resume, personal statement, bullet points of achievements, skills, strengths, and success in the area that the nomination is focused.
  • Include specific example(s)-this specificity will go a long way with committees who review. It is easy to say this is a great person and not give any examples. The details and examples of why this person should receive the award will help this candidate excel over others.
When writing a nomination letter, you should:
  • Be specific on how you know this person and what capacity you have worked/know them
  • Bold, underline or italicize major points or specific parts that highlight the nomination
  • Cover all or most of the requirements of the award in the letter. For example, writing for the Values Leaders Award, try to write about the four values in the letter.
  • It doesn’t need to be pages and pages long! Being succinct with great examples will help the person shine!

Bias in Nomination Letters

When you are asked to write a nomination letter, you should:

  • Check your bias!
  • Letters for women are 2.5x as likely to make a minimal assurance (‘she can do the job’) rather than a ringing endorsement (‘she is the best for the job’).
  • There can be a focus on different words for men vs women and underrepresented minorities, focus on using adjectives based on knowledge/skills.
  • Emphasize qualifications and achievements and don’t hold back on praise for this person.
  • Good words to utilize: Successful, Excellent, Accomplished, Confident, Knowledgeable, Skilled.
  • Think twice about sharing personal/family information of the candidate.

Professional Letters

  • Letters should be on letterhead
  • Include signature and contact information for further questions if needed
  • Send to someone else to review for edits/feedback. Have this person double check for bias!

Submission Process

1. Gather and review all the documents, follow up with anyone who needed more time

2. Submit all the documents together

3. Meet the deadline