I am currently writing my first CV to apply for grad school. While doing so, I am confused about how to write about some competitions. I tried to find this on internet, but the answer seemed not really uniform. I am particularly looking for the usual case in US, and field of applied math / CS.

Say a competition awards '1st prize' for one person, '2nd prize' for 3 people (2-4) and I got "3rd prize" with 8th rank in performance (awarded to 5-9). In this case, am I supposed to write '3rd prize' or '8th place (3rd prize)' or something else? It would have been easier if the award itself had some distinct name (such as bronze medal) but it officially does not. In these cases, what will be the usual way to write about this?

  • Are the names of the prizes translations? Aug 17, 2021 at 16:09
  • And in which country were they awarded? Aug 17, 2021 at 16:10
  • @Azor Title of prize is (quite literally) '1st prize' and so on. Competition is in my home country (not US).
    – 72G
    Aug 21, 2021 at 13:26
  • Which country was that? Aug 21, 2021 at 15:18
  • 1
    And because I'm not familiar with this kind of award system, so someone who knows Korean academia will have a better answer for you than someone who's only familiar with American. Aug 22, 2021 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


I'd generally prefer mentioning "TOP 8 out of NNN competitors". This gives some leeway in case you don't know if you've placed 8th or 7th, and makes clear whether or not you have been ahead of a lot of people.

Saying you've got a "Bronze medal" in a math olympiad might look for an outsider that you were placed 3rd, while you might have been 200th out of a thousand competitors (still not a minor feat).

Consider that most of these prizes are usually not that relevant in a resume, that nobody should hire you just because of this, and if the interviewer believes this is relevant, he/she should ask for more details during an interview, where you can provide all necessary clarifications.

Keep in mind that you should be honest and not misleading, both in the resume and on the interview, and that a two or one-page piece of paper is never going to be a faithful representation of a candidate.

  • 2
    Thanks for advice. I agree that it will not be relevant but still I was curious. As you mentioned, I was also wondering if it will be misleading if I wrote so. I think I will follow your advice :)
    – 72G
    Aug 17, 2021 at 2:25

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