There are many things that are accepted as truisms in proposals. One truism is there is always a pizza and coffee shop within one mile of where a proposal is being produced. Another is if your resume does not show it, you did not do it. The flip side of truisms is falsisms. One big falsism in proposals is that resume preparation is quick and easy. The ability to show what your people have done on similar programs is a huge contributing factor to the final outcome. Yet, quite often, younger writers are put on resumes because companies place a lower priority on them than they do on the technical section or executive summaries. However, to guarantee a winning outcome, the same attention to detail needs to go into shaping and presenting resumes as that which goes into other sections.

All resumes are initially incomplete. Never take a canned resume, and lightly pepper it with RFP requirements and jargon. Be creative! Tie the candidate’s experience to the requirements while avoiding exaggerations and lies, be original with each resume, and always show the finished version to the author to preserve accuracy. Anything canned needs something fresh to make it exactly what you wanted. These seven steps of proposal resume preparation will help you sequence your activities correctly and get exactly what you need:

1. Select key personnel from a group including your team, your larger organization, and your teammates’ key personnel.

2. Collect canned resumes.

3. Develop a matrix for each person against RFP requirements to use when developing questions for the interviews and in the detailed template, if needed. A critical review might be necessary to identify potential compliance issues.

4. Play the match-making game: Match experience to RFP requirements and make sure everything is covered. If it’s not, find more people or replace a team member.

5. Fit resumes into your required format, then polish them. Have each resume edited and checked by someone else and if possible, repeat this step as many times as needed.

6. Include photos in the resumes, if you decided to add them.

7. Abide by the broader proposal review schedule — Pink Team, Red Team, and Gold Team.

Remember these three things when writing resumes: focus on the customer, craft a creative and compelling story, and make it easy to evaluate. Doing this will help you create resumes that speak to the customer so they can easily see that your team has the experience to get the job done.

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