As part of crafting an effective response, proposal professionals edit a lot of resumes. We see the good, the bad and the ugly. In the rush to get the proposal done, especially when the team is constantly changing up until the deadline, resumes are often formatted and included as is. After all, resumes do not matter that much, right?


Wrong. I have a colleague who was a project manager for large international projects and would often review proposals as part of his job. He told me that the first thing he looks at in the proposal is the resume for the team’s Project Manager! Why? He wants to know who he will be working closely with during the project. If he does not feel that person is competent, he’ll score the proposal low.

The other problem inconsistent and poorly written proposals have is they inherent emphasize weaknesses in the team. Having resumes showing different details, of being lengths mitigates any proofs you provide about the team. Taking the time to make all the team’s resumes consistent helps enforce the theme of a unified team. It also gives you time to identify team members who are not qualified and replace them. This includes the Project Manager. If you can’t replace a weak member, you can then mitigate the weakness with a good rewrite and reordering of that person’s experience. Also, if your resumes are written as boring as your competitors, what makes your team stand out?

To accomplish this, get your team to set the organization chart early and emphasize that freezing the organization chart benefits your team because it gives you the time to make the resumes shine. Send out your data requests to your external team members as early as possible and provide them with a template that you want the resumes in. Start drafting the resumes during the early stage of the process while you are waiting for the rest of the content. Pick up the phone and call the team member. That way you can ask necessary questions about their experience and get the sense of their personality and what makes them unique. Also ask them what their successes were on each project you want to include. A great question to ask is “what are you most proud of?” Make sure to include that in the project bullets on their resume.

When possible, start each resume with either an “elevator speech” of what that person brings to the project or makes them unique. If you can’t do that, include a call-out of special experience or capabilities that enforces your themes and benefits. By providing the same amount of detail to the resumes as you do the rest of the proposal, will help your team score exceptionally well and win!

P.S. These tips also apply to your own resume when you are ready to apply for that promotion or next job!