From TJ Magazine: What makes a winning entry?

With six weeks to go until the closing date for the TJ Awards 2019, Debbie Carter offers some tips on how to write an outstanding entry.

Reading time: 3 minutes.

I am pleased to note that many of you have started your submissions for the TJ Awards 2019 and some have already been completed. For those of you who haven’t yet got started, there is still plenty of time to do so and I hope that I can encourage you to take a little time out of your already busy schedules to submit an entry. 

So why should you spend time on an exercise that may not lead to an award? Because reflecting on your work is a great way to improve.

Taking a really close look at what you’ve achieved can provide an excellent opportunity to recognise your strengths or weaknesses, while being shortlisted can bring that extra recognition you need to make an impression on senior management – take a look at my leader on page 4 to get an idea of just how important that is for you and your team!

Once you’ve decided on the programme or the initiative you want to enter, start your nomination online here. You can enter that work into three categories if you wish – something you should try to do as this cross-application process will greatly increase your chances of being shortlisted or winning a Gold, Silver or Bronze award in December. 

You must look for your strongest evidence to demonstrate you meet the requirements.

At this point, look at the online application carefully. It has been simplified this year into just three sections: context, strategy and implementation and, finally, results. The total word count must not exceed 1,000 words and each section has a limit too, so note those. The criteria for each category are also on each application so, again, note these.

Once you have the information, write your submission in Word using the sections as sub-headings. Be sure to show that you meet the criteria in what you write – it is a tight word count but you must look for your strongest evidence to demonstrate you meet the requirements.

Use the Word document to tell the story of your initiative as this makes it a more compelling and focused entry for the judges. Avoid jargon and language that outsiders may not understand – once you’ve completed the submission, get someone outside your department and if possible outside the business to ensure it makes sense.

When you are happy with your written submission, cut and paste the three sections into the online form and submit. You can go into your nomination and make changes right up to the deadline on 12 June. 

Webinars for extra insight

To support entrants, the TJ Awards webinars have been featuring experts in awards writing, past winners and judges – providing valuable insights into the TJ Awards process.

Recordings of the last two are online at and if you have questions that need answering, don’t miss our next webinar: How to Maximise Your Chances of Success in the TJ Awards 2019 on 17 May.

Sponsorship opportunities

Sponsorship of the TJ Awards 2019 will put your brand in front of the biggest names in the field of learning and development. Sponsorship of an award gives you an unequalled opportunity to engage with L&D leaders in print, online and face-to-face while positioning your organisation as a thought leader in your category of choice.

This is not just on the evening of the awards, but throughout the marketing campaign – which runs to the Gala Dinner on 3 December and beyond.

TJ has a variety of sponsorship packages to suit all budgets and marketing needs and we can tailor your package to ensure all your particular objectives are met. With 14 categories there is sure to be one that best resonates with your company and your business objectives, so do get in touch today.

For sponsorship opportunities, please email


About the author

Debbie Carter is editor-in-chief of TJ.


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