Clear thinking

Learn how to improve your proposals and win more business.


Key individual resumes

 June 27, 2017
by Paul Heron

Last week’s post explained the importance of using team selection to show understanding of the RFP requirements and the prospect’s strategic and hot button issues. Identifying the key individuals you will use provides evidence of your commitment.

Most RFPs request resumes for key individuals. Evaluators use them to confirm the proposed individuals are qualified and capable of fulfilling the contract.

This post explains how to tailor resumes so they improve your win rate.

Poor practices—what not to do

We’ve seen proposals containing resumes that:

  • Vary widely in length, format and fonts (even some with scans pasted onto the page)
  • Are formatted and written like job search resumes
  • Bury items important to the evaluator halfway down the page

These and other resume sins invite evaluators to move on to a more competent proposal.

Creating resumes that boost your chances

If an opportunity is worth bidding on, it’s worth the effort to edit your key people resumes. Begin by gathering the following information:

  1. The requirements for each role (e.g. What must the site supervisor do on this project?)
  2. For each requirement, the proposed individual's credentials and experience.
  3. The candidate’s experience in similar roles on similar projects (ideally reference projects)
  4. Additional relevant information, including years of service, recognition for performance and education.

Format resumes to highlight important information

Large issuers across North America are becoming increasingly prescriptive in the content required for resumes and project sheets. Be sure to comply with any RFP or RFQ request for specific information and organize it in the order provided.

We recommend formatting resumes a two-column table as follows:

Current title, employer and years in current role
Qualifications and profile
Proposed role Begin with a lead-in, such as: "As ROLE, NAME will be responsible for:" followed by 4-6 bullet points citing key responsiblities
Qualifications 4-6 bullet points directly relating to the requirements for this project
Profile 2-3 sentences about the individual focusing on relevant strengths
Relevant experience
Project Name: Description of candidate's role, impact, relevance to current project, customer reference
Project Name: Description of candidate's role, impact, relevance to current project, customer reference
Project Name: Description of candidate's role, impact, relevance to current project, customer reference
Education and achievements
Education Degrees and certifications in bullet point form
Achievements and other Awards, etc.

This approach—modified to suit your requirements—gives evaluators efficient access to the information they need. They’ll love you for it.

Include key person summaries in the narrative

Don’t rely on evaluators reading resumes in an appendix. Summarize key person qualifications and experience in the narrative. Many bidders use the first few rows of the table described above as their summary.

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know this is standard advice for any information in proposal appendices.

Photos or no?

Photographs are OK in principle, but in practice often end up featuring people in different dress against different backgrounds in varying lighting. One or more photos are often out of focus. Photos are especially challenging when the proposal is a joint venture or where team members have been recruited from outside for the project. 

The result is jarring. It detracts from, rather than reinforces, the idea of a team. So our recommendation is: no photographs.

Exception: You may want to include photos for strategic reasons, for example to show gender balance, diversity or maturity (or youthfulness!). If this is the case, go ahead—but consider investing in retouching (or take new photos) to create a uniform look and quality.

Prepare ahead

Knowing what you need to develop strong resumes, start now. Use the guidelines above to format the information for individuals likely to be put forward as project key people.

When the next opportunity arises, your resumes will require only minor edits to be proposal-ready.


Want to win more convincing bid responses?

Contact Complex2Clear


Photo credit

Paul Heron, MBA, is the founder and managing partner of Complex2Clear, and leads our bid response practice. LinkedIn 





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