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Using Resumes in Proposals

Sometimes the customer wants to know who is going to do the work. This is often the case in a non-commodity service proposal. In a product proposal, the customer may not care who is going to be servicing the account. But for a custom software development project that requires domain expertise, they may want to see some resumes to ensure you have people with the required technical and domain experience.

If you have people of such distinction that it discriminates you from any potential competition, then you might want to identify and describe your people even if not asked. In this case, you may (or may not) provide the resume, but will probably provide a biographical summary of their backgrounds. A small company may submit resumes to reinforce the credibility and show that it is fully capable of doing the work.

If the project is a large one, where supplying a sufficient quantity of qualified staff is difficult, you may want to show representative resumes --- a set of resumes of people at your company available to work on projects like this one.

Another approach to showing staffing qualifications is to use tables. You can use a table to show each person and each RFP requirement. In the body of the table you can put check marks, colors (i.e., white: none, yellow: some, red: green), number of staff, years of experience, etc. If you put numeric data in the table you may also be able to use bar charts.

Typically you are trying to show “Depth and Breadth.” Depth implies you have a large enough pool of workers to cover the requirements. Breadth implies that you have staff with qualifications that cover the full range of required capabilities. You can tie depth and breadth to risk mitigation stories.

The Differences Between a Personal Resume and a Proposal Resume

Just because you are using your resume in a proposal does not mean that you should include your personal resume un-edited. Who sets the standard for what should go into a proposal resume? The customer. Ask yourself what the customer wants to see in the resumes provided, and then give it to them.

A personal resume often includes an “objective,” personal references, and other items that are out of context in a proposal. While these may be desirable in the informal, personal evaluation a person gets to be hired, they can make a proposal resume look unprofessional.

While a personal resume is written to show relevance to the position desired, a proposal resume is written to show relevance to the RFP or project requirements. Because of this, the job descriptions in a proposal resume will probably have to be completely re-written. Everything in a proposal resume should reflect the RFP evaluation criteria. I usually include a box of bullets on each resume specifically showing the relevance of the resume to evaluation criteria.

A personal resume may or may not include computer hardware/software expertise, papers, certifications, security clearances, etc. These may or may not be relevant in a proposal resume. If they are not relevant, leave them out. A large part of the difficulty in preparing proposal resumes is often making them all consistent and customized.

Consistency includes formatting as well as content. If your proposal includes multiple resumes, they should all have the same formatting to make it easy to evaluate them. The formatting of a proposal resume does not have to look like a traditional, personal resume. In page-limited proposals, table-formatting is often used to maximize the use of the page while making it easy to find resume elements.

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