Here’s How to Get Accolades and Build Credibility

A colleague recently asked Dear Katie, “Are you willing to share how you get accolades such as 40 under 40 and top 50 Women in Accounting?

These are accolades that you can share in your email signature, on your blog and virtually everywhere else you can add it.

These accolades help me to establish authority and trust with my peers and clients, and while there’s no exact science to getting awards like these, I’m confident that the four steps below can help:

1. Understand the Qualifications

First, what are the qualifications for the accolade that you want to secure? Don’t leave it up to some random chance that you get an award out of the blue. Instead, you need to dig in and learn:

  • Where to apply?
  • Timeline to apply?
  • What qualifications are required?

Accolades have clear qualifications you have to meet to have a chance to win. There’s no point to spend a lot of time applying for these accolades if you lack the qualifications.


You’ll be wasting your and the other person’s time by not reading the qualifications. If you read through everything and are confident that you tick off all of the requirements, you can apply.

When you apply, don’t be afraid to brag on yourself. This isn’t the time to be humble. Have others read through the application for you. Having an extra set of eyes read over everything for you will help you find areas to improve upon and catch mistakes you may make.

Once you’re confident with your application, it’s time to begin establishing yourself as an authority.

2. Establish Yourself as an Authority

It’s never a bad time to establish yourself as an authority. If you’re at the top of your industry and craft, you’ll be the expert everyone wants to:

  • Work with
  • Hire
  • Give awards to

You can intentionally use social media for this purpose. How? It’s simple. You can make yourself a visible expert in your craft and industry.

Let’s say you want to be on the list next year for CPA Practice Advisor’s 40 under 40. You could be the best 35-year-old CPA doing all the progressive things, but if you aren’t showing up in places making it visible, how can you expect to be rewarded for doing so? You don’t want to be the world’s best-kept secret. 

But how? I recommend the following:

  1. Begin posting on social media, adding in your own unique points and experiences. But be sure to avoid ChatGPT and the like because it won’t help. You have unique knowledge and experience that you need to share.
  2. Start or be a guest on other people’s podcasts. I have an entire guide on how to get on Podcasts in 5 easy steps that will help.
  3. Attend meet-ups and conferences that are relevant to your niche.
  4. Speak at events (I know it’s intimidating).
  5. Pitch articles to associated publications.
  6. Share insights and resources that will help others overcome some of the biggest challenges they face in the industry.

Networking with others is a must to establish authority.

3. Network with Others

Another important aspect of getting accolades is ensuring you have a strong network in the industry you’re trying to receive an accolade. Remember, the goal is to be visible everywhere, so you don’t want to be the industry’s best-kept secret.

If you want to be a networking rockstar, you’ll have to do more than just attend events and collect business cards. The goal should be to build genuine relationships. 

How do you achieve this?

One of the simplest ways to start building relationships is to connect with these people on social media. An estimated 40% of people network more online than in person, so this is an easy and popular way to build professional relationships.

  • Share and comment on their posts
  • Send direct messages to check in on them
  • Make your messages personal – for example, ask how they’re handling the busy season

Often, we tend to overcomplicate things and never wind up taking action. Connecting on social media is a simple way to start building these essential relationships that will support your application for an accolade.

Another easy way to network is to join groups. Say what you want about Facebook groups, but they can be a really effective way to engage and network with others. Spend just 15 minutes a day answering your peers’ questions and contributing to conversations. Over the next year, you’ll find that you’ve built up a huge and solid network.

4. Be Okay With Not Getting a “Yes”

Even if you do all of the right things, there’s a chance you may not win the accolade you appl for this year. Don’t be discouraged by this! It’s important to remember that you’re up against many other applicants, and only a certain number of people can be selected for accolades.

Be okay with not getting a “yes,” and in the meantime, continue to follow the steps above and build up your authority. I can promise you that you’ll see amazing returns from doing so. Apart from positioning yourself to win accolades, you’ll build trust with potential clients and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. As you build a platform and community, you’ll increase your influence, impact and income.

And, that’s a wrap on this Dear Katie question.


Now I want to hear from you. Do you have a question? 

Submit it here

Until next time, cheers to your success!


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