Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to submit an application for a business award, and you’re starting to prepare your submission. But what kinds of documents will you need to create a winning submission?
In our experience, many of the files requested are standard from one contest to the next, but they do require careful consideration as you navigate the forms.
Here are our best suggestions to help you gather and submit all the documents required for your business award submission.
Document #1 – The rules of the contest
Always read the rules before you begin to write your submission so that you don’t have any surprises! The rules usually include many useful tips that you will need as you progress through writing your entry. The contest rules will often indicate criteria you must follow for your submission, for example, the length of the text, type of font, font size, and sometimes even the format of the document.
Avoid being overzealous and thinking that you’ll stand out by putting the document on legal size format instead of letter size – it’s best to always follow the instructions to the letter. Any discrepancy in not following the guidelines can result in your application being rejected or disqualified.
Document #2 – The Application File
The application file is the list of questions that are asked in order to determine if your entry will become a finalist or a winner. Make sure you read them all before you start writing, and stay calm while writing.
Document #3 – Financial Statements
Financial statements are very often requested in competitions. If your statements are not ready, it’s a good idea to follow up with your accountant as soon as you decide to submit an entry, so as not to find yourself at the closing date of the content without the required documents. In many competitions, financial statements are mandatory.
Sometimes the financial statements may be replaced by a letter from the bank attesting to the financial health of the company, and this information should be listed in the rules section. Again, ask for these documents in advance so that your banker has time to prepare them.
Document #4 – Letters of Recommendation
A recommendation letter is usually made by someone who has seen you grow within the company, and who knows about your accomplishments. You may choose someone within your company who can attest to your success, or the letter writer can also be your financial partner, mentor, or client. The purpose of the letter is to support your nomination application by briefly explaining why you should be a recipient of the recognition award. The letter must be succinct and signed by its sender.
Ask the person who is recommending you to avoid writing overused, general statements in the letter – the more specifically your unique talents are highlighted, the better opportunity you will have to make an impression on the jury.
Document #5 – Your Photo
A professional headshot photo, usually taken from head to shoulders and preferably on a plain background, will be used in communications from the contest organizers if you make it to the final. It can appear in newsletters, on social networks, in the gala program, etc. Make sure the photo is recent enough and really represents who you are now.
Document #6 – Your Logo
This is the easiest file to send! Make sure with your graphic designer that the logo is sent in the format(s) requested by the contest organizers.
Document #7 – Miscellaneous Documents
Many other documents can be requested, depending on the type of contest you are entering. Sometimes miscellaneous documents are required, and other times they are optional. Examples of your work such as photos, newspaper articles, testimonials, and letters of support will enhance and complete your file. Always avail yourself of the opportunity to add in these additional documents if it is allowed!
Submitting Your Documents
Nowadays, no contest organizer asks to receive printed entry submissions. No more going to Canada Post, paying for the shipment and wondering if the entry will arrive on time – all submissions are now digital.
The platforms used to submit documents are for the most part user-friendly and adding attachments is very easy to do. However, beware of excessively large documents that may stall during transmission. It happens!
The best result is when you receive an acknowledgment right after you send your file, to show you that it has entered the system. But not all platforms send an acknowledgment automatically. Sometimes the people responsible for the competition will send you an email manually, after the fact, to inform you of the receipt of the file. Be sure to check that your submission has been received!
It’s not possible to edit or change a file after it has been sent, even if the contest deadline has not yet passed. That means you need to be sure to proofread your document one last time before submitting your application.
The Next Steps
So, you’ve submitted your application – what now? It’s simple, go back to your work because you have no influence over your entry once it is sent. The result will arrive soon enough!
How did you find the process? If just reading about all of the details makes you a little wary of beginning, we have a solution for you! 1001 Pages offers Award Application Writing, specially designed for people like you, to relieve you of the many tasks involved in the preparation of business award applications and submission.
Get in touch today, and let’s talk about taking this next step together!
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