How to write a winning Federal 100 nomination (part 1)

The first step in writing a successful Federal 100 nomination is identifying an award-worthy nominee, writes FCW Insider John Monroe.

People often ask if there are any “tricks” to writing a successful Federal 100 award nomination, and indeed there are. I will write about those in coming days. But first let’s focus on step one: Identifying a nominee who truly is deserving.

Make no mistake about it: The bar is high. People do not win the award for doing their jobs. They don’t win for doing their jobs well. They could top performers and still not be award-worthy.

No, Federal 100 award winners are people who have gone above and beyond their job description. That doesn’t mean the judges are looking for folks who have set up cots in their stairwell at work so that they didn’t waste time in the commute (although one of last year’s winners did just that).

But in one way or another, they have stepped up when they saw the need, or when the opportunity was forced upon them. In some cases, you might say, people are lucky to get the opportunity, but it takes more than luck to rise to an occasion.

Award winners also tend to do work that really makes a difference. In identifying a nominee, consider how things might be different if the person had not risen to the occasion. That little game of “what if” not only helps identify potential award winners but also positions you to write a good nomination -- a point I will address in the next post.

The tricky part, in many cases, is distinguishing the effort of an individual from the work of a team. Every year I hear from people who insist that they cannot single out one person from their colleagues. It’s hard to argue with that. But it also means that it’s not a good fit for the Federal 100 awards.

Stay tuned for more tips. And remember, the nomination deadline is Dec. 17. You can fill out the online nomination form here.

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