How to become a bid writer: the step-by-step guide

Updated 29 August 2022

Bid writing is interesting work, but more importantly, it's essential for any organisation. For example, bid writers prepare documents to secure their employer's contracts or to apply for project funding. If you're interested in this role, it might help to understand in detail the job they do and prepare to carry out extensive research. In this article, we explain who a bid writer is, their roles, skills, qualifications and work environment and the steps you can take to become one.

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How to become a bid writer

An understanding of how to become a bid writer is a profitable investment you can make if you're interested in the niche. This skill cuts across many sectors and is relevant to many companies. A bid writer (also called a tender writer) completes the pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) and secures contracts for an organisation as its employees require. For example, they might write bid proposals in response to a company that needs security services. Below are some of the steps to becoming a bid writer:

1. Get an education

While there are no formal educational qualifications to become a bid writer, candidates with an undergraduate degree in English or journalism may find it easier to develop excellent writing and research skills. Business experience may also be of great advantage in writing effective bids because writers who have already worked in the industry may have more specialised knowledge. This can give them opportunities in diverse areas, and writers may choose a specific specialisation such as engineering, management or construction after completing the required education.

Related: How to choose a university course in 5 simple steps

2. Improve your skills

Exploring ways to build your skill set after completing your education can be very important if you want to work on your expertise, organisational and collaboration skills. For example, besides enrolling in online writing courses or training, you can volunteer your services at a company. This could enable you to learn more about the practicality of the work processes of bid writers.

Related: 12 social, professional and personal benefits of volunteering

3. Seek internship opportunities

Prospective bid writers can seek positions in companies and local businesses known to offer internship opportunities. These openings may range from working as a bid trainee or a junior writer to aiding them in research and database management and gaining relevant experience in the process. Bid writing internships have no set entry requirements, so having foundational expertise in the field can earn you direct access to a company to gain on-the-job experience.

4. Obtain a certificate

An educational degree may not be compulsory, but getting a certification can improve your CV, make you seem more professional and demonstrate your bid writing abilities to prospective employers. The main organisation that certifies bid writers is the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP).

5. Select a niche for yourself

Selecting a specific niche in this business and knowing more about it can enhance your writing skills. Boosting your proficiency in a chosen field requires connecting and teaming up with industry experts for available entry-level positions. Although various industries or organisations hire tender writers, having a speciality could give you a better chance in the highly competitive market.

6. Create a portfolio

Portfolios are a great way to show potential employers the skills and abilities you have to offer. In addition to giving proof of your skills, a track record of the projects you have worked on, with a specific focus on those you executed after venturing into bid writing, can be helpful in your job search. It can therefore be useful to keep track of your experience and accomplishments.

Read more: How to make a digital portfolio and tips for success

Some terminologies in bidding

There's a range of terminology involved in bid writing and its responsibilities. Some common terms include:

  • Bid: A bid is an offer made by an individual or corporation to purchase goods, assets or services.

  • Invitation to tender: This is a formal offer to supply goods or services at a specific price.

  • PQQs: These are criteria employed by a company as a way of excluding unsuitable suppliers. It's a means of saving time and money when qualifying prospective candidates.

What does a bid writer do?

As a bid writer, your employer expects you to:

  • spend quality time in comprehending the buyer's bid specifications

  • explain the tendering process to the client from the buyer's point of view

  • collaborate with the client throughout the entire process

  • provide clear advice and direction to the client on the best strategy to achieve the specification criteria

  • plan ahead of time and stay organised

  • create a high-quality narrative

  • gather more technical information through emails and phone interviews

  • revise and edit draft content of bid proposals

  • read and comprehend subtle queries and know how to respond to them

  • provide information that's concise, consistent and accurate

  • use content, shape, organisation and style to persuade and influence others

Related: How to persuade people: a guide to persuasion techniques

What are the steps in bid writing?

Below are some steps to follow in bid writing:

1. Scrutinise the bid

When a buyer releases bid materials, the writer examines the submission to identify the best course of action and makes a well-informed decision. You can do this in collaboration with a larger bid proposal management team. It's often useful to list all essential documentation and accreditations while dividing the tender into different sections for prompt completion.

2. Collaborate with the company

Collaboration with the company is usually very important because a bid writer may lack key knowledge. You can therefore work closely with the client organisation, alongside relevant technical heads and service professionals on the project they're working on, to gather evidence and acquire all relevant technical information and perhaps some supporting papers.

Also, having a constructed bid library in the company can expedite the process and make it more straightforward over time. The writer can more easily retrieve information as needed, especially for data-driven elements like the PQQ, which usually follow a similar format for most bids.

Related: 14 project collaboration tools (benefits and features)

3. Write the bid response

The writing process usually begins once you have successfully gathered all the data for the bid. A well-crafted bid response can even reassure the contracting authority about any negative perceptions they may have of the client organisation. This means that proofreading and quality checks before the final submission are often essential.

Related: How to become a writer without a degree (with 8 steps)

4. Put the documents together

The bid writer compiles the documentation on completion of the above sections. This comprises all relevant rules and processes and any related accreditations and supporting paperwork. To avoid missing out on any detail, it's often a good idea that the bid writer designs, creates, edits and finally checks the bid materials. This procedure may involve putting everything into a template or custom-designed bid submitted to the concerned authority.

Where does a bid writer work?

A bid writer may work in one of the following environments:

  • in the company's office, while creating bids

  • in specialised bid writing agencies

  • from home as a remote bid writer while communicating with your clients via phone, email or video conferencing software

Related: Types of work environments and how to improve yours

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What skills do bid writers have?

To become a bid writer, you may require specific skills and personality traits, such as:

  • Proficient writing: Bid writers are creative and have a unique set of writing abilities in preparing bids such that their pitch can appeal to the buyers and suit their needs.

  • Flawless editing: Checking for and correcting spelling, syntax, punctuation and grammatical errors while preserving the intended message is critical in developing persuasive and professional bids.

  • Detail-oriented: Extensive attention to detail is crucial in ensuring bid proposals are precise and have no mistakes.

  • Painstaking research: Bid writing requires a high level of research, so the writers invest ample time in studying potential clients' businesses, websites, unique selling points and previous projects to enable them to make an informed bid/no-bid decision.

  • Collaboration skills: Excellent teamwork is essential for success in this job role, and it also allows for positive growth. Having the proper support and a good team spirit catalyses the creation and delivery of bid proposals, especially when meeting tight deadlines.

  • Ability to be flexible: You may make a list of all the positive and negative reviews, which helps you to improve your abilities and adjust your writing style and research process to suit your clients. Previous submissions and evaluator feedback are often important to organisations that have previously competed for contracts.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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