RFP writers produce the concept papers and proposals that companies use to respond to client requests for proposals (RFPs) and requests for information (RFIs). Businesses and government agencies issue RFPs and RFIs to elicit bids and obtain information about how a vendor's products or services can solve a business need. Proposal writers work in tandem with proposal coordinators and other managers to write and edit proposal content that describes their employer's value proposition, market positioning and competitive advantages.
Proposal writers review RFP documents, create the proposal outline and guide the template development process. They participate during planning sessions to fully understand business requirements and how to best position the proposal response. Proposal writers author, proofread and edit proposal content. They check drafts for consistency, clarity, appropriateness and persuasiveness of the material. Some proposal writers assist with formatting and creation of computer graphics. Essentially, RFP writers ensure proposals are well-written, accurate and compliant with the requirements of the proposal request.
Proposal writers possess excellent writing and communication skills. They understand complex material and can explain technical concepts clearly, concisely and logically. Good proposal writers have a persuasive writing style that generates interest in a company's products or services. Proposal writers are also good at using the computer and are expert users of word processing and electronic publishing programs. They may sometimes work under tight deadlines; the ability to work under stressful conditions is also important.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicates that a bachelor's degree is required for technical writer jobs. Employers often prefer applicants who majored in English, communications or journalism. For RFP writers, specialised knowledge of their employers' products or services is required to develop persuasive, descriptive proposals. Knowledge of graphic design programs may give qualified applicants an advantage during the hiring process. Some writers may also find knowledge of a second language helpful for certain writing assignments.
Many technical writers begin their careers as specialists, trainers, assistants, researchers or coordinators in a technical field. Because these individuals usually demonstrate solid writing skills and technical acumen, managers may assign them to work on a proposal development team. Advanced writers may get to write proposal content right away, while others may have to observe experienced RFP writers first. Opportunities for career advancement include working as the lead writer on large, complex proposals, providing on-the-job training to junior writers and establishing enough of a reputation to make it as a freelancer or independent contractor.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates technical writers, including proposal writers, in the United States average annual wages ranging from £24,095 to £65,013, as of May 2009. The annual mean wage is £40,774 for all technical writer jobs in the United States, as of May 2009. Technical writers in the computer systems design and software publishing industries earn the most, with annual mean wages of £43,927 and £47,989, respectively, as of May 2009.
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