15 Tips For Writing Winning Proposal Resumes

Apr 24, 2013

Companies often undervalue the importance of resumes until they learn that they can count for 40% or more of total proposal evaluation points. Then they search for a resume specialist.

Here is how to become a proposal resume specialist in high demand:

  1. Always tailor the baseline resume to the agency, program, and customer. Never use a generic or boilerplate resume. No one size fits all.
  2. Zero in on any RFP sections pertinent to "key" (or essential) personnel. Focus on Sections C, L, and M. Read the Performance Work Statement, Award Fee Plan (if applicable), position descriptions, labor category definitions, and appendices.
  3. List key RFP terms and concepts germane to the resume under preparation.
  4. Interview key person—face to face preferably.
  5. Validate the baseline resume for accuracy and timeliness. Check dates. Be alert for gaps.
  6. From your list of key RFP terms, ask which are applicable to the job candidate.
  7. Ask the candidate for information not found in the baseline resume. You are looking for metrics, statistics, specific numbers and dollar amounts, numbers supervised, accomplishments, success stories, first-of-a kind achievements, awards, and commendations.
  8. If preparing resumes for more than one person, you may wish to establish a tracking sheet for requests and due dates.
  9. Ensure the candidate obtains permission to use another as a reference. Make sure the reference will give a great--not just a good--report card. If in doubt, ASK the reference.
  10. Avoid personal and some types of professional references. Never list a competitor as a reference. Experience suggests that using an evaluator as a reference can put your customer in a bind.
  11. Verify the adequacy, accuracy, and timeliness of data for required references. Ensure phone numbers, emails, etc., are correct.
  12. Revise the baseline resume. Include any RFP key words gathered in Step 6. Upgrade it by weaving in data obtained from Step 7.
  13. A winning resume will always read more like a list of highlights and accomplishments than a mere job description of duties and responsibilities.
  14. If the RFP prescribes a specific resume format, use it. This does not mean that the format must be boring. Unless specifically prohibited by the RFP, add some flair: inject color, include a photo, bold key words, or add a text box. But do not take liberty with font size and type, margins, and resume page limits.
  15. One last thing: Make the candidate accountable. Send the completed resume to the individual. Require he or she review the document for accuracy and sign off that the resume is complete, accurate, and ready for submission. File away the signed version, you never know if you might need to demonstrate that you were authorized to submit the resume in the first place.

You have now successfully tailored the resume. You are well on your way to becoming a resume expert. Congratulations!

graphic of a notebook and person writing

Carol Turpin

Written by Carol Turpin

Carol Turpin is a guest contributor to the Key Solutions blog. She is a Proposal Development Specialist with 25 years of experience as a proposal strategist, proposal manager, publications manager, contract negotiator, technical writer, and editor.

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