How to write a winning submission

Having won Best Exhibition at the Event Industry Awards in 2016, 2018 and 2019 for our gradireland Graduate Careers Fair, we asked Fiona Doherty our Senior Marketing Executive in gradireland for her tips for writing a winning submission.

Get organised

First things first, read the submission guidelines, read it again…. and again. Once you have read the guidelines a few times make a couple of notes:

  • What is being asked?
  • Who has the information to answer this; is it myself or another member of the team? 
  • Who needs to review the full submission before it’s submitted?
  • What is the marking scheme?
  • When is the closing date?

Asking yourself these questions helps to identify the information needed, who holds that information, what information is important and when you need to have it all by.

Map out a timeline

It’s imperative to map out your timeline for writing your submission and set key milestones. This is especially important if you are entering more than one category and/or if you are going to include supporting materials.

Review your calendar and block out time for any research you need to carry out, send calendar invites to people within your team you will need support or information from, draw up briefs for any supporting materials you will need from design and reminders for the submission deadlines.

If you need input from other departments giving deadlines will help minimise your stress levels (they can get pretty high) and will also help to make sure you receive the information you are looking for when you require it.

Starting to write

Before putting pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard, review each section of the submission guidelines, the word count and the marking scheme if provided.

This helps to ensure you are allocating the time and words to the sections that are worth the highest marks. It seems obvious, but often you can get swept up writing about something that you think is interesting or important and the reality is it’s not what was asked for. 

Don’t forget to show results, submit relevant metrics, data and evidence of performance to prove and justify success in the judging year.

Make it easy for the reader

When writing your submission, always keep the judges in mind; is my submission easy to read, have I made it clear I am answering their question, am I using terminology they will understand, am I showing the results?

You want to make it as easy as possible for a judge to mark your submission so structure your answer accordingly (If a marking scheme is provided, tick each score off as you answer it), use bold or italics to highlight key parts of your submission that answer the question provided. 

Lest you forget

Proofread, proofread, proofread. Ask two to three different people to do this for you:

  • A colleague who has strong grammatical and written skills
  • Someone not on your team and who wouldn’t know much on the topic you are writing on to make sure it’s easy to understand and can give an impartial opinion
  • A team member that might be able to add something great that you may have forgotten to include

Also, make sure you have formatted your submission correctly, again this is to make it easy for anyone reading your submission to mark it correctly so, pick a font size and type and use this throughout the document.

Finally, use the online submission portal carefully. Make sure you submit your entry into the correct Award category.

The gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards take place on Thursday, 30 April 2020. The deadline for entries is Friday 21 February 2020 and full details on awards categories can be found here.

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