How to Word a Certificate of Recognition

by Jackie Lohrey; Updated September 26, 2017

Public recognition is essential to giving your workforce or volunteers the credit they deserve. It also can increase productivity and improve morale. While gestures as small as a simple “thank you” can make a big difference, a formal recognition program can have an even more positive effect.

Although awards and certificates are common and integral components of any successful recognition program, wording can increase or decrease their effect. Each one should speak to the recipient personally and at the same time inspire others to achieve that degree of success. A formula for finding the most appropriate words to recognize achievements and contributions isn’t as difficult as you might think.

Getting Started

Awarding You, a national engraving company, recommends that you start with basic facts. Once you have these, use an online word bank or thesaurus to find words with powerful and motivational meanings. Examples include “champion,” “courageous,” “innovative,” “outstanding” and “phenomenal.”

Add and Arrange Words

It’s also important to arrange facts and words in the proper order. For example, start by naming your company, the award and the recipient. Identify the recipient by his first and last name. To make the certificate even more personal, use his first name, a nickname in quotation marks and his last name. For example, start with these three lines:

  • Acme Landscaping
  • Employee of the Quarter
  • John “Guy” Doe

Follow this with a sincere recognition statement. Go beyond the basic “Thank you for your contributions,” and use more descriptive statements such as:

  • “In grateful recognition for your enduring commitment to exceptional customer service”
  • “Thank you for your dedication. Your outstanding efforts have made the difference between just being good and being great.”
  • "With deep appreciation for your visionary guidance and exemplary leadership skills."


Finish by identifying the time frame and year the certificate covers. For example, use a simple statement such as “First Quarter 2015.”

About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.