Toast of the Resume Industry Awards


Registration is closed for 2020 unless you have already registered and are adding categories.

Each year, CDI hosts the resume writing industry’s most prestigious Toast of the Resume Industry™ (TORI) resume writing competition. The TORI™ Award competition is truly the resume writer’s #1 secret to explosive business growth.

CDI members are eligible and encouraged to strive for writing and creative awards, which benefit the general membership, members’ clients, CDI, and the industry as a whole.

CDI introduced the TORI™ Awards to the industry in 2000 to celebrate a new standard in excellence through rigorous criteria requirements. While award standards have always been demanding, never before has the resume writing industry embraced the concept of a standardized criteria for resume judging.

2020 offers ten (10) categories to enter! There are 50 chances to be nominated and 30 chances to win with gold, silver, and bronze awards! But you can’t wait or you could miss out

Register Now



Winning Resumes

Benefits of the TORI Competition

It is a great honor to be nominated, but a truly distinguishing accomplishment to be selected as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place TORI Award Winner in each category.

Imagine you woke up this morning, a morning seemingly like every other morning except for one considerable difference – today you’re swamped with new resume clients who are excited to have the chance to work with you and pay your rates.

So, what’s so different about today that suddenly your prospects seem to be sold before you even talk to them? Why they appear to be waiting to work with you? Why it’s suddenly so much easier to gain their buy in on the higher rates you are quoting for your services?

It’s not magic…it’s not a course to take, a certification you need to earn, or even an ad or marketing campaign you need to develop…

It’s the AWESOME power of taking home a prestigious TORI nomination or award. 

If that makes you feel skeptical, take a moment and look at the testimonials from your fellow colleagues in the right column of this page.

While winning or being nominated will change your business forever, there are big wins for ALL who enter!

Here’s the thing about the TORI Award competition — you need to throw caution to the wind and JUST DO IT! Telling yourself you are not ready, not good enough or worse, too busy, causes you to lose out on an amazing opportunity to challenge yourself, grow, learn, and even surprise yourself!

It’s a loooong 365 days between each annual competition. Do you really want to wait that long to even challenge yourself and see where you rank in an anonymous review by a panel of industry top performers?

Not sure the TORIs are for you?

Listen to this recording from 2018 to learn about:

  • Tremendous ROI of being nominated or winning (expect your business to take off overnight).

  • Valuable expert-level free member resources you can use to hone your resume writing design skills.

  • Judging process.

  • Tips on what makes a winning TORI resume.

  • Common mistakes that are made with entries and how to easily avoid them.

  • Ways to get into the mindset of a TORI resume writer.

  • Strategies for making time to enter this year.

TORI-Paths 2

Here are seven ways you can win just by entering.

  • #1

    You Win and Overnight You Become a Business Success.

    This one is a no-brainer, unless you discount just how much of a difference a TORI can make. Just read some of the testimonials below if you aren’t sure. It’s a total game-changer.

  • #2

    You Get Nominated for a TORI and Discover It’s Better Than Any Advertising You Could Ever Do.

    Believe it. You don’t have to just win an award to benefit — making the top five puts you in a class by yourself, as you will rapidly discover.

  • #3

    You Win Just by Studying Winners.

    Success doesn’t exist in a vacuum so when you prepare for the TORIs and look at former winning resumes, you help yourself see other possibilities and explore new channels for how resumes can be written and designed.

    Spend some time with the TORI winning resumes and your whole idea of wording alone can be broadened immensely. It’s like taking a culinary world tour (if resume were food)!

  • #4

    Taking a Chance Challenges You and Keeps You in the Game.

    Just like studying the winners, if you look at entering as a chance to elevate your skill, reach further, and present your best of the best, then you are winning in keeping your commitment to growing in your craft alive.

  • #5

    Being Motivated to Go to the Next Level Charges You Up.

    Ever notice when you go to a live training event you feel charged up and rejuvenated? It’s because you are learning something new and that’s exciting.

    If you dive into the TORIs, study winners, and then look at how you can take your writing to the next level, you ARE rejuvenated. Is that a win? You bet – when you aren’t tired of doing the same old thing, you are eager and alive. You and your clients win!

  • #6

    Solving Puzzles Builds Brain Muscles, Which Pays Off in the TORIs.

    Just like games like Soduko can challenge and stimulate your brain (and keep it fresh as you age), figuring out why you don’t win a TORI can be your brain-building business success puzzle (and magic bullet).

    IT IS A FACT that when those who don’t win sought feedback, made changes, and kept trying, they started to win at the TORIs. Many multi-time TORI winners were once entrants who previously didn’t even get nominated.

    Not getting nominated or getting nominated and winning is an exciting call to action to gear up and strive for the next level! Don’t let not winning stop you. Accept the challenge. If you do, you really can win, and win big at that!

  • #7

    There are Multiple Winners Each Year.

    Getting nominated for or winning a TORI works, plain and simple. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see the same names entering year after year (becoming nominees and winners).

    While one TORI award or nomination can (and has) made a whole career, many choose to keep pursuing those wins each year and in multiple categories.

    The beauty is that with ten categories there are 50 chances to get nominated and 30 chances to win. You’re not vying for only one coveted award — there is plenty of opportunity!

Take the advice of those who have come before you and cover your bases to win at this once-a-year career-making opportunity!

Sharon Williams

Sharon Williams shares in 90 seconds why you should want to win:

Sharon Williams

Amy Adler

The TORI was a game-changer for my business. Almost immediately, I had more engaged clients from the market that I am continually seeking to attract. In fact, many of my clients find *me* because they are seeking a resume writer whose expertise has been impartially validated. Also, I find that mentioning the TORI helps in marketing me effectively on my web site and when cold calls come in. Overall, the TORI has given me more visibility and more professional credibility than I had prior to the win.

Amy L. Adler

Five Strengths Career Transition Experts
Gayle Howard

I honestly believe winning a TORI award has been instrumental in catapulting my business to the next level.

Being nominated or winning an award says to a potential client ‘Wow this person is a cut above, I want some of that to rub off on me!’

Whether people have heard about TORIs or not is immaterial. It’s all about education. I proudly display my TORI awards on my website and TELL the client of their value by saying, ‘Hey look no further! I’m an award-winner!’ It’s one of those things that is little work for great rewards.

It takes no time to fictionalise an existing resume and provide a synopsis, but if you WIN or even if you are nominated, you have strong marketing collateral that you can repeatedly use to sing your own praises and give you that extra edge for years at no additional cost.

Gayle Howard

Top Margin Career Marketing

Thanks in part to a whole paragraph on the TORI awards I received, I landed a contract for my company to provide outplacement to 134 employees. Many of the employers are impressed that there is such a thing as resume writing awards and a body such as CDI that oversees it. The TORIs helped to elevate our credibility. In my office, I proudly display the nomination and winning certificates for all to see.

Surranna Sandy

Resume Solutions
(photo) Barb Poole

What ‘blew me away’ (about the TORIs) was the overwhelming feedback from prospective clients. I always ask in initial communications how others heard about me. I keep track. More than one third have indicated they contacted me after learning of my TORI wins. The links to find out my status varied, i.e. my own website, LinkedIn, Twitter, referrals, etc. But the message was clear; they indicated they ‘wanted the best’ and my awards cemented their trust in my capabilities to perform to this level. The TORI has been an ROI that is quite simply, phenomenal!

Barb Poole

Hire Imaging, LLC

The TORI Awards have increased my client base dramatically. Since winning the TORI for Best Technical Resume, I have had a flood of tech clients wanting their resumes written. When I asked why they have chosen my services they usually tell me that they want the best!

Jennifer Rushton


Since receiving a nomination for a prestigious TORI award in the category of Best New Graduate Resume, I received free publicity in the newspaper, and saw my business increase three-fold among college seniors seeking to put their best foot forward upon graduation. 

Susan Geary

1st Rate Resumes

Two years ago, I took the leap and decided to enter into the TORI competition after following it for several years and building my graphic design and writing skills.

I was so glad I did.

I was hoping for just one nomination and thought I stood a chance. That first year I took 5 wins, including a first place win in the hospitality category. The following year, it was a sweep: 5 first-place wins and 7 in total.

Looking back at the sweep, I was probably ready to enter much sooner and at least grab up a nomination or two.

As to the ROI, there are a few things to note.

First is the quality of the prospects that hear about me through the TORIs. They are not out seeking the most affordable service they can find. They are looking for the best and are willing to pay for it. I am now charging over $2K for a resume, LinkedIn profile, and cover letter package.

Secondly, selling is easier no matter how the prospect comes to me. If they heard about me through the TORIs, in large part, they are already sold. They’ve scoured the list of winners and chosen me because they prefer my style. When they come to me through referrals or other efforts, the wins solidify my expertise in their minds as I share my award-winning resumes (which I’m not shy in pointing out), screen-sharing my wins with them during the consultation.

Finally, my referral business has grown considerably as the TORI wins have strengthened my profile within the industry.

Since my investment in the low hundreds of dollars, I’ve bought in at least $25K in project fees, directly attributable to the TORIs in the last couple of years. Note that this is not for a massive number of projects, but a smaller number of high-priced ones.

This return doesn’t reflect: the clients who come from referrals from those TORI-sourced clients; the many projects that have been referred to me by other writers since winning; or the amount I’ve earned in referral fees from sending prospects away who aren’t willing to way 6 – 8 weeks to get on my schedule. What I can’t estimate is the number of non-TORI prospects who I’ve converted based on my wins, which I suspect is much higher than the $25K.

Entering into the TORIs is and will continue to be a top priority for me each year. There’s no way I will let the opportunity pass me by again.

Tiffany Hardy


Initially I was too intimidated to enter the TORI competition. You see, I had studied the TORI winners since beginning my resume writing career in 2015. I didn’t feel I had what it took to compete with all the talented writers who I had been emulating for three years.

In 2018 I took the leap of faith, entered, and won third place in the New Graduate category. Winning the TORI has expanded my clientele; many clients have told me the graphic elements of my TORI entry set me apart from other writers and prompted them to give me a call. Additionally, this award has helped me gain credibility when presenting to community groups on job search topics.

So much of our work as resume writers is advocating for our clients. We work hard to show evidence of how our clients stand out from the pack and differentiate from other candidates. Winning this award is just that for me; it’s proof that I am good at what I do – achievement supported by hard data.

Paula Christensen

Strategic Career Coaches
Melissa Kelley

So I’ve had a really good problem. Just being nominated last year doubled my business on average. I’ve had to revamp my production and project management processes and am looking to bring on a subcontractor.

Melissa Kelley

Kelley Resumes and Wordsmithing

Participating within the TORI’s and having my work recognised among the vastly talented group of writers around the globe has been an absolute thrill for me. My nominations and awards continue to play a pivotal role in my marketing regime, and will allow me to continue building my credibility with both existing and potential clients, for years to come.

Annemarie Cross

Advanced Employment Concepts
Grant Cooper

Being a TORI Nominee has definitely stepped up my competitive stature within the résumé writing market. When I use the TORI Nominee logo on my outreach materials, when my clients see the certificates on my wall, and, perhaps most important of all, when I realize internally that my work has gained national recognition from my peers, I am able to command higher prices and achieve greater respect for my work.

Grant Cooper

Strategic Resumes

I won the TORIs and my business doubled.

Kimberly Robb Baker

This Little Brand
Marie Plett

I made the most lucrative marketing investment in the 14-year history of my company when I entered the 2017 TORI Awards. Since I submitted resumes for all 8 categories, I only paid $200 for all my entries. Of those 8 submissions, 6 went on to win nominations and subsequent TORI Awards.

Since then, I consistently get at least one ready-to-order client per month, willing to spend an average of $2,500 for my services. They have only heard about me through the TORI Awards and nowhere else. These clients often place online orders without any kind of phone engagement.

But let me tell you about the surprise type of customer that tends to contact me on a (roughly) quarterly basis. These are clients who have already worked with TORI-winning resume writers. Sometimes, they want to change out their existing writer for the new hot shot. Other times, they return to the website of their existing writer, see that they won a TORI Award in 2011, and then go look at the TORI Award page out of curiosity to find me, the newest winner. When they find out their writer hasn’t won an award since 2011, they call on someone who has.

That’s right – you can’t rest on your laurels. Discerning executive job seekers want the newest and hottest champions. Each and every year.

These ‘TORI-snob’ clients have opened another steady revenue stream. Again – I don’t need to pitch them. They see the awards and the samples, and they are ready to order.

My $200 investment has already made me tens of thousands of dollars from customers who are already excited and ready to buy my services – no sales pitch needed. I can’t even calculate how many sales my TORI Awards have generated by convincing on-the-fence prospects to invest thousands of dollars for my services.

Marie Plett

Aspirations Career Services, Inc.
Marie Plett

Part Two:

So after 10 years of my primary or total income coming from contract writing, I’ve now had to completely end all of my treasured contract relationships because contractors cannot pay me nearly as much as my direct clients. This is because of the TORIs.

I just got off the phone with a client who was elated that I was willing to take the job. This was tough to squeeze in though, as I am extremely busy. This is because of the TORIs.

All the other resume writers this client contacted (all TORI winners) were too overwhelmed with work to accept his assignment. This is because of the TORIs.

He’s hoping I can make his resume as good as his wife’s resume, which is being developed by Tiffany Hardy, who she found through the TORIs.

The biggest problem I currently have is managing all the clients who learn about me through the TORIs, and then also squeezing in the extra time needed to prepare samples for the 2019 TORIs.

This is the catch-22 of the TORIs.

Marie Plett

Aspirations Career Services, Inc.
Arnold Boldt

I received more press coverage for the NOMINATION than I have received for virtually any other publicity over the course of my first 11 years in business. I can only speculate what kind of media attention winning a TORI would have garnered.

Arnie Boldt

Arnold-Smith Associates

Winning my first TORI was a watershed event for me. I know I’m a good writer and I know I can produce high-caliber resumes but winning a TORI Award lets customers and colleagues know the same. That little icon says a lot. Yes, my business has grown and the TORI serves as my personal affirmation and instills the boldness I need to quote premium prices – that my service is worth it. My TORI also reminds me that I have taken a place among the elite, best of the best resume writers on the market. No one can take away that accomplishment.

Pete Lavelle

Rez Builder Resume and Job Service

Want to Learn How to Improve Your Chances When Entering?

Access resume writing tutorials by winners.

CDI members have access to a growing library of video lessons from top TORI winners.

Winners have credited these lessons for giving their design and writing skills the necessary boost.

From resume magic tricks in MS Word to story-based branding, these tools set you up for success.

Here are 10 TORI-winning tips in 10 minutes.

Award Categories

Each year, the TORI Awards Director, in tandem with the CDI Board of Advisors, selects the most applicable categories which best reflect current market trends. CDI members are welcome to contribute one (1) entry to each category.

The TORI Awards Director will ensure all submissions appear anonymous to the panel of judges so that fair and equitable judging can take place.

The first tier of judges are all certified resume writers, members of CDI’s resume certification committee, and many former TORI winners. They are responsible for selecting five nominees in each category. A second similar panel of highly-qualified and certified resume writers will then select the first, second, and third place winners in each category, leading to 50 nominees, and 30 total winners.

The 2020 TORI categories are:

Marketing encompasses so many areas of company productivity and growth for the organization (or that of the client). These may include, but not be limited to: social media marketing, digital/disruptive marketing, brand marketing, experiential marketing, field marketing, event marketing/planning, marketing analysis, advertising, e-commerce marketing, web producers, revenue officers, public relations, and even customer officers (CCO).

We’ve all seen clients needing guidance through challenging transitions. This covers any level of professional who is facing a major transitional career challenge such as: reentering a profession they haven’t worked in for 10-20 years; taking positions in a variety of different fields and using them to successfully target a whole new profession; overcoming major gaps in their career transition; or targeting a quality of life change that includes a lower-level position than previously held.

It’s a gig economy out there and the side hustle (job on the side) has morphed into a portfolio career. This individual won’t have one employer but several; they are thought leaders who like to get out there and be involved. This chameleon could be at any level of their profession and may have a mix of contract work, consulting work, adjunct professorships, board roles, and more. The purpose of this resume is solely to get more gigs – not to land one combined perfect position.

So many companies are dependent on technology now and it can encompass so many areas (some of which are emerging every day). This is very open-ended and includes levels from the tech to the executive in areas such as: digital transformation, machine learning, scientists, data scientists, cloud architects, network engineers, CTOs, big data specialists, project managers, app developers, web developers, telecom, engineers, and more.

In hospitality it’s all about guest focus, satisfaction, and the outcome ROI. This can include any level of hospitality position from entry to executive to owner. Areas could include: travel agents, cruise line staff, hotel/resort staff, tour guides, tourism company staff, event managers, food and beverage personnel, casino personnel, chefs, banquet/catering staff, restaurant personnel through owners, and bar staff/owners.

These professionals come in all shapes, sizes, and specialties with a bigger-than-ever focus on patients as consumers and an emphasis on the bottom line. They may have careers such as medical technician, doctor, surgeon, medical transcriptionist, laboratory staff, administrator, pharma, nurse, clinical researcher, PA, psychiatrist, psychologist, dental professionals, EMT, physical therapist, etc.

Powerful success starts at the top and these are the individuals that drive productivity, profits, company brand, and shareholder value. Roles include any executive-level position from Vice President and up in any industry.

Keep this to your new grads! It can include any discipline or industry as long as the focus is on leveraging a recent degree or diploma for a candidate who is just launching their career. NOTE: This is not for a mature professional with a 20-year background making a transition. The average candidate has been in the world of work with part-time, full-time, internships, etc., for no more than 8 years.

Companies need accounting and finance professionals who can analyze, report with accuracy, and make the numbers work in a ever-changing economy. Positions could include any level of: stock broker, investment manager, clerk, CPA, finance manager, financial analyst, controller, private equity analyst, hedge fund analyst, auditors, and CFO.

For most companies, it’s all about the money. Top sales producers are worth their weight in gold. This can encompass any level of sales, business development, account management, customer service roles, or producing sales management to the executive level. Bring on the metrics, awards, and accolades!

Just Three Easy Steps to Get Started

Important Rule: TORI entries must be created solely through your own efforts and the input of your client. However, utilizing a third-person proofreader is acceptable.

  1. Select what categories you plan to enter from the 2020 category list above.
  2. Register online for the number of TORIs you plan to submit. You can start with one in order to receive the submission rules, and then add more categories before the deadline.
  3. Once registered you will receive instructions for fictionalizing, Client permissions, naming, saving, and submitting your resume(s) via email.

As of 2019 you can now submit entries in A4 size! You can also opt to use any English style you wish as we are no longer going to recommend US style.

Refunds will not be issued should you opt not to enter a purchased category after registering or submit after the deadline.

Nominations and winners will be announced via Facebook Live once all judging is completed (Dates TBA Oct-Dec).

Important TORI Deadlines

Registration for 2020 is now closed for new entrants. Existing registrants have until August 4, 2020 to purchase and submit additional categories. (See the orange box below to add categories).

  • Registration opened for 2020 as of 3/13/2020.
  • The registration deadline to receive entry instructions was Thursday, July 16, 2020. (OK, really it's the 17th since it is open until 3 AM Eastern / 12 AM Pacific time).
  • The entry submission deadline for those already registered is Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at 5 PM Eastern / 2 PM Pacific time.


Registration for 2020 is now closed for new entrants. Existing registrants have until August 4, 2020 to purchase and submit additional categories. (See the orange box below to add categories).

TORIs are only open to CDI members. Each entry is $25-40 depending on quantity of categories entered. Not a member? Learn more about membership.

For initial annual TORI purchases made at any one time*:

You can save, and increase your chances to win, when you purchase multiple category entries at one time! 

  • When you buy 1-3 total categories = $40 US each
  • When you buy 4-7 total categories = $30 US each
  • When you buy 8-10 total categories = $25 US each

Cart will automatically calculate the discount based on number entered. Please remember there are only eight categories.

Already purchased categories this year?

Use this option if you are adding additional categories after previously registering this year. $35 US each.