What Does a Proposal Writer Do?
Proposal writers craft proposals and bid responses that effectively convey a company’s strengths and qualifications to potential clients. Their goal is to ensure that proposals are accurate, compliant, and competitive by working collaboratively with sales and business development teams. Most of these writers are employed by consulting, engineering, and construction companies.
A successful proposal writer needs excellent writing and editing skills, as well as the ability to clearly and concisely communicate complex ideas. Furthermore, they must have strong project management skills and be capable of managing multiple proposals at the same time while meeting strict deadlines. It is important for proposal writers to know industry standards, best practices, and how to tailor their proposals to specific client requirements.
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National Average Salary
Proposal writer salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for a Proposal Writer is:
Proposal Writer Job Descriptions
Crafting the perfect job description may be the key to finding an exceptional proposal writer. To help you with your recruiting search, our team has put together some examples from past openings.
We are searching for a proposal writer to join our team of writers at [Your Company Name] in creating engaging and persuasive proposals. A proposal writer is responsible for gathering information, formatting each proposal according to company guidelines, and obtaining approval before sending proposals out to sources. You must have excellent organizational skills, work well under deadlines, and be able to communicate effectively in writing. The perfect candidate for this position cares about facts and details as well as writing in a convincing manner.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Attend kickoff meetings to determine project scope
- Help create project schedules and deadlines
- Conduct research
- Edit documents for accuracy and clarity
- Incorporate feedback and revisions
- Collaborate with graphic designers during layout
- Present proposals to potential investors and business partners
Education and experience
This position requires a bachelor’s degree in journalism, english, mass communications, or a related field.
Required skills and qualifications
- Strong attention to detail
- Ability to adhere to brand voice, tone, and style guidelines
- Excellent organization and communication skills
- Solid background in Microsoft Word and Excel
- Strong interpersonal and presentation skills
- Ability to work on tight deadlines
- 8+ years of prior relevant experience
- Exceptional written and oral communication skills
The proposal writer is responsible for developing winning proposals through strategic messaging, ensuring we’re articulating the best story and value to clients in compelling and differentiated ways, developing innovative deliverables to visually tell that story, and strong project management.
Are you a match?
- You are endlessly curious – Don’t know something? You Google it. Meet someone in a completely foreign profession? You ask questions until you know every aspect of what it’s like. Your ultimate research topic? Developing skills to live to your fullest potential
- You are extremely resourceful – You believe answers are just lying in wait and so you look under every proverbial rock
- You adore crafting a great story and you speak human – You see how facts and figures can come together to be compelling and persuasive. You strongly dislike the word “utilize” and love it when you get to write in a more conversational style
- You think two minds are better than one – while you take pride and ownership of your work, you love it when collaborating improves the end result
- You catch the details – You aren’t one of those people who sees one question in an email, but misses the other two. You check your list. In fact, you check it twice
- You are “all over it” – You self-start. Even if you can’t do something right away, you’ll email the person to let them know you’ll be on it very soon. You know how to lead the horse to water and you kill it with stellar communication and a well-thought out plan
- Word is your friend – You know all the ins and outs and lovingly work around every glitch
- You are an adrenaline junkie – Pressure? That only makes you focus better
Essential duties and responsibilities
- Proposal strategy and writing – With limited supervision or guidance, help pursuit teams identify winning strategies by understanding the buyer’s needs, challenging the status quo, and creating proposals that are customized and tailored to the decision maker
- Proposal management – Own project management by creating timelines/responsibility assignments and driving continuous communication. Identify and remove barriers of progress, escalating issues as needed to theStudio Leader
- Collaboration – Help facilitate a high level of collaboration between multiple stakeholders. When needed, work directly with theStudio’s content leader and national industry marketing leaders to help refine content strategy/messaging to best position the firm to win
- Innovation and Creativity – Develop innovative and creative proposal presentations (digital presentations/videos/interactive PPs and PDFs) to increase our likelihood of winning proposals
- Communication – Participate and play an active role in regular meetings to share best practices, information, problem solving, etc., with other team members. The proposal writer is expected to be a generator of best-in-class proposals and best practices that can serve as a model for other members of the team
- Tracking – Comply and use CRM database to track all proposal information required to develop weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports. Ensure data is accurate and updated real-time
- Training and sharing best practices. Serve as a training resource and brand ambassador sharing approaches and learnings from pursuits. Actively share best practices
- Other duties as assigned
We are looking for a creative, outgoing, out-of-the-box thinker to join our marketing team! The Proposal Writer will partner with internal and external Executives, Project Managers, and Business Development Leads to prepare compliant winning RFQ /RFP responses as well as activities that support our growth initiatives.
- Coordinate, write, edit, and produce responses to Solicitations, SOQs, RFQs, RFPs, ITBs; this includes research, technical content, graphics, page layout, and design
- Ability to work with multiple department leads to assemble materials and manage the entire proposal process from start to delivery
- Read and analyze Solicitations, SOQs, RFQs, RFPs, ITBs, and edit proposal content for spelling, grammar, consistency, and compliance with requirement
- Prepare PowerPoint presentations, leave-behinds, and handouts for interviews with prospective clients
- Assist with tracking and inputting opportunities into Cosential and weekly meetings
- Schedule and participate in strategy meetings
- Attend pre-proposal meetings and debriefings as needed
- Assist with other business development/marketing functions, as necessary
- Update & maintain the marketing department’s documentation and databases (i.e. resumes, project portfolios, photos, references, licenses and certifications, project history, etc.)
Communication skills required
Must have excellent project and time management skills with keen attention to detail while being highly organized. Excellent writing and proof-reading skills. Ability to multitask and handle multiple deadlines and assignments.
2+ years of experience providing proposal and presentation coordination and marketing support in the A/E/C industry.
We are currently seeking a Proposal Writer to join our highly motivated and experienced Federal Proposal team.
Work you’ll do
- Support bid opportunities for new business pursuits
- Write executive summaries and pursuit materials that articulate our strategic messaging in a compelling and persuasive manner
- Capture, shape, and synthesize information to reflect a cohesive message, written in one voice
- Translate technical information and business jargon into clear, consistent, and grammatically correct content
- Demonstrate a finely-tuned ability to sift through a discussion, extracting the most significant information and action items
- Collaborate with graphic designers, project managers, pursuit coaches, and client service teams to build creative and innovative material
- As part of company’s growth efforts, candidate from time to time participates in coding and design challenges to build working prototypes
- Undergraduate degree in English, journalism, communications, humanities, computer science, or related disciplines
- 2+ years of prior relevant experience
- Exceptional written and oral communication skills
- A quasi-journalistic ability to quickly grasp specialist knowledge and make it clear for external parties
- Strong executive presence
- Agility and speed in executing strong writing
- Intellectual curiosity and ability to “get smart quick” on a wide variety of topics
- Ability to prioritize and multitask within a fast-paced, challenging, and deadline-driven environment
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- The Association for Proposal Management Professional Certification (APMP). The APMP offers four different levels of certification for candidates who wish to dedicate themselves to “the process of winning business through proposals, bids, tenders, and presentations” – Foundation, Practitioner, Capture Practitioner, and Professional. Through this certification, candidates show employers that they know how to use the best practices for proposal and bid management in order to succeed. To take the exam, they will need at least one year of experience in proposal writing, verified by a reference of their choice.
- Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC). Technical communication is a broad field that covers communicating about technical or specialized topics, communicating using technological means, and providing instructions on how to do a technical task. By gaining CPTC certification, candidates verify that they are able to communicate effectively in writing. This certification is available at three levels – Foundation, Practitioner, and Expert – each with its own requirements.
How to Hire a Proposal Writer
When hiring a proposal writer, first consider the following:
- Recruiting: Do you have the knowledge, tools, and resources to attract and screen candidates?
- Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid or junior-level skills and experience suffice?
- Duration: Is this a one-time project or an ongoing need?
- Management: Do you have the time and expertise to direct the work effectively?
- Urgency: How soon does the work need to be completed?
- Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?
Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, great options exist for every scenario. These are our recommendations:
1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)
The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.
This is the best route to take when:
- You need to fill the position quickly
- You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
- Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
- You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff.
- You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
2. Hire an experienced freelancer
The freelance, or gig, economy continues to grow, with more talent available daily. Freelancers provide high-quality work without a long-term commitment. They can offer you a fresh perspective, more flexibility, and increase efficiency. While the freelance market isn’t ideal for every position, proposal writers are often a great fit.
We recommend this option when:
- Your need is project-based
- The work can be performed remotely
- You do not intend to direct the daily work activity
- You are hiring for expertise your internal team does not possess
- You do not require an employee to work onsite or follow a specific schedule
When hiring a proposal writer, we recommend using Upwork.
Upwork is a freelance talent network that helps individuals connect with experts in various fields to accomplish project-based needs. When you have a specific, well-defined goal in mind, this can be a great path to hiring an experienced proposal writer. If satisfied with the outcome, you can continue booking the same freelancer through Upwork’s easy-to-use project interface.
3. Advertise your opening on a top job board
Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice.
We recommend using a job board when:
- Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
- You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort
- You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
- You are prepared to respond to all applicants
We recommend CareerBuilder for proposal writer openings:
CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.
4. Leverage your internal resources
You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates.
A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.
Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.
We recommend these options when:
- Your brand has great name recognition
- You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
- You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
- You have an effective employee referral program in place
If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.
Sample Interview Questions
- Tell me about the types of documents you have prepared in the past.
- How do you approach proposal development, and what experience do you have with proposal writing?
- Which methods do you use to make sure your proposals are accurate, compliant, and competitive?
- When managing multiple proposals simultaneously, what steps would you take to prioritize and meet deadlines?
- How do you decide what information is relevant when gathering information from multiple sources?
- What is your process for proofreading and revisions?
- What strategies do you use to ensure proposal accuracy and consistency, and how do you manage revisions and version controls?
- How have you dealt with competing priorities, limited resources, or short timelines during the proposal process?
- What resources have you used to develop your proposal writing skills, and how do you stay current with industry standards and best practices?
- When tailoring proposals to specific client’s needs and preferences, what strategies have you used to communicate with them effectively?
- What methods do you use to gather information from sales and business development teams to develop persuasive proposal materials?
- How did you delegate responsibilities when you had to manage a proposal team?
- What would you do if someone within a group was late with or didn’t complete their deliverables?