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Case Competition on a Resume — Here’s What You Need to Know

Case Competition on a Resume — Here’s What You Need to Know

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Case competitions are competitions in which students in teams of four come up with solutions to real-life problems faced by businesses.

This type of experience is a common one in the professional world, so it’s a wonderful experience to be had years ahead of time by students or young adults. 

That said, is it a good idea to include this kind of experience on your resume?

Well, let’s find out!


“Should You Put a Case Competition on a Resume?”

Participation in a Case Competition is a great thing to include on a resume for undergraduates or very recent graduates. The experience is of a higher caliber than that of their peers, which helps it stand out. Once professional experience has been gained, this experience should be removed. 

Particularly for business and marketing students, participation in a Case Competition can give invaluable experience in problem-solving and ingenuity. Having these types of skills is a key factor in standing out, getting noticed, and even getting promoted!

Certificates of achievement are given out to the winning team, the second place, and the third-place teams.  If you happened to be on a team which placed, congratulations! This is a great achievement that can really boost your resume! 

If you hadn’t placed first, second, or third… it is still a good experience to have had, but consider including a different achievement if you have one.


When should you not include a case competition on a resume?

Case competition participation should not be included on a resume if it is irrelevant. Like many other accomplishments such as patents, unpaid internships, or other uncommon situations, case competitions are not always related to the desired job.

Don’t waste an employer’s time by including experiences outside of their industry.

An employer may not even know what a case competition is, forcing you to use precious space on the resume to explain it (because including things an employer doesn’t understand is a resume blunder).

For fields outside of marketing and business, it is usually best not to include a case competition experience, unless your ranking was extremely impressive.

The exception is if your particular case competition was relevant to the field you are applying to, such as healthcare or real estate case competitions. 


How To Include a Case Competition on a Resume

A case competition certificate is best put in the certificates/awards section on a resume. Keep it brief, and include the level of achievement and the date. If you have very little practical experience, you could include it in the experience section instead.


How to include a case competition certificate in the certifications section

When formatting an achievement for a case competition, make sure you include which case competition it comes from, as there are many held worldwide.

Capitalize the full name, including the words “Case Competition”. Include the date using the year, and list the rank that your team achieved. 

When formatted correctly, this should look like the following:


  • Global Investment Case Competition – 1st place winner (2021)
  • CALI Award for Criminal Law (2020)

If you believe that additional details are warranted, you may include an explanation about what case competitions are, and specify what type of case it was that your team worked on. This is an especially good idea if the topic is relevant to the desired job. 

An example of this would be:


    • Global Investment Case Competition – 1st place winner (2021)
  • Worked in a team to create a plan to protect growth challenges faced by investment firms in an evolving technological world 

Another example is as follows, when listed in an achievements section:


    • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt – License #123456789   (4-2021)
    • Boston Healthcare Case Competition – 2nd place winner (2020)
  • Collaborated with others to come up with a business proposal to decrease medical errors made due to mis-documentation in patient charts

Do not create a new section that only includes the case competition.

It is acceptable to be placed in either the awards, achievements, or certificates sections. Choose whichever section is already on your resume, and include it there.


How to include a case competition in the experience section

For students or new graduates who have little relevant experience, it is possible to include the case competition in place of a traditional job experience.

Include the name of the competition, the rank your team achieved, the date written as the month and year, and a description of the competition.

Items in the experience section should be detailed more thoroughly, so be sure to include details that may interest an employer. These include things such as any team-building skills, planning, research, or other tasks which were required to succeed in the competition. 

In contrast to other jobs in this section, case competitions should be listed without an end date.

They should not have a job title, as it looks cleaner to list the achievement as a bullet point below the main text.

Make sure that your experience is listed in reverse-chronological order, as using relevance-first order for this section is extremely uncommon.  

When formatted correctly, this could look like the following:


Global Investment Case Competition – (January 2021)

  • Achieved 1st place in a competition with fifty participating teams
  • Worked in a team to create a plan to protect growth challenges faced by investment firms in an evolving technological world 
  • Documented and cited research, extrapolated data into graphs and charts, and created a proposal following the given format 

Let’s look at another example of a case competition in the case of healthcare:


Boston Healthcare Case Competition – (February 2020)

  • Achieved 2nd place in a competition with eighty participating teams
  • Collaborated with others to come up with a business proposal to decrease medical errors made due to mis-documentation in patient charts
  • Acquired knowledge of medical charting methods, documentation of long-term medical residents, and inpatient/outpatient processes. 


Which skills can you include when describing a case competition?

Skills that may be gained or improved upon through participation in a case competition include the following:

  • Team-building
  • Task delegation
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Working in a fast-paced environment
  • Problem-solving
  • Data logging
  • Information extrapolation
  • Data compiling/Creation of visuals from data

Consider which field you are applying for, and describe skills that may be necessary for your desired position.

Will your company value deskwork and computer skills, or innovation and ideas?

Tailor the experience based on the future company’s needs, and the case competition will be far more impressive to an employer.