What Does a Proposal Writer Do?
A proposal writer takes a client’s needs and puts them into a document. The proposal’s goal is to give the client everything they need to decide about doing business with you.
This means that proposals must be detailed, clear, concise, persuasive, and professional while still being attractive and easy to read.
The job description includes being good at wordsmithing and having excellent time management skills, too. That’s because these projects often take months or years before completion, given all the research that goes into forming a convincing proposal.
Proposal writers should have excellent communication skills to effectively convey their message to be understood by individuals of any level of knowledge or understanding.
If you're interested in learning more about what a proposal writer does via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip ahead.
What are Business Proposals?
Business proposals are formal documents, generally sent to a potential customer, designed to persuade the reader into taking action. Proposal writers have one of the most essential jobs in a company because everything starts with their proposal, making or breaking a deal. If you think this might be right up your alley, read on for more information about being a proposal writer.
What are the Roles And Responsibilities of a Proposal Writer?
Proposal writers typically perform the following tasks in their roles:
- Research and write the proposal content
- Include graphics, photos, or other visuals to support the company’s message in relevant proposal sections
- Discuss pricing strategies with clients where appropriate
- Consider the clients’ needs and wants and be able to provide a suitable solution
- Work with other team members, such as a project manager, proposal manager, documentation specialist, and subject matter experts for niche-specific proposals
- Once complete, promote the proposal with marketing materials, social posts, and blogging about the company or product.
- Review feedback on improvement opportunities. This includes typos, unclear language, and formatting errors.
Can a Proposal Writer Also Write a Grant Proposal?
Yes, proposal writers may also write grant proposals as grant writers. Comparative to grant writing, proposal writing is a related job.
However, the skills required for a grant proposal are different from other types of proposal writing. The proposal writer is looking out for what others want to be awarded funding.
What is the Difference Between a Proposal Writer Job and Contract Negotiation?
Both processes aim to create agreements that satisfy all parties; however, there are some critical differences in approach and outcome.
Proposal writers are often responsible for crafting the initial offer, subject to negotiation. Therefore, proposal writing precedes contract negotiation in the business expansion and collaboration workflow.
What Role Do Proposal Writers Play in Business Development?
A proposal writer’s goal is to present a compelling case for the partnership.
The proposal team may work with legal specialists to draft contracts. They are also responsible for preparing budget estimates and identifying other costs incurred during negotiations or as part of any resulting agreement.
Proposals often include information about how each partner would benefit from collaborating, their potential contributions, and why one should choose this business over others in its industry.
In some cases, proposal development includes identifying risks associated with entering into a new venture. Proposal writers may explore different scenarios, such as what could happen if the partners go their separate ways early before anything gets implemented.
Therefore, they help in business development by creating opportunities to expand its ventures and bring other stakeholders on board.
What are the Qualifications to be a Proposal Writer?
This position requires a bachelor’s degree or certification, but a master’s degree might lead to better pay opportunities or promotions within the company.
Most proposal writers typically have a business or English degree.
Nearly 51% of the full-time proposal writers working in the field have a bachelor’s degree, while 31% of them have a master’s degree. Although most proposal writers have a college degree, they can successfully make a career out of proposal writing with a high school diploma.
Every one out of nine proposal writers is not a college graduate, according to Zippia.
Apart from a college or high school degree, full-time proposal writers must also have inherent capabilities and skills to excel at their jobs.
Do Proposal Writers Require Technical Knowledge?
Proposal writers need to use the necessary software programs, such as Microsoft Office, especially Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.
They should also have a good grasp of basic IT skills like HTML and CSS coding languages, Photoshop, and other graphic design tools.
What are Some Skills Needed to Become a Proposal Writer?
Apart from good writing skills, a proposal writer must have the following personal and interpersonal skills:
- Strong Communication: This is the most critical skill in proposal writing. Proposal writers must articulate their ideas clearly and persuasively so that their audience will understand them fully.
- Public Speaking: They also need to have strong public speaking skills as they are often called upon by senior management to present proposals at conferences or meetings with clients, investors, partners, etc.
- Keen Analysis: Proposal writers should always strive to improve their work through thoughtful analysis of data and critique of other people’s propositions.
- Creativity: A proposal writer can’t just rest on his laurels if he wants to succeed. Creativity and innovation are vital for proposal writing, as the proposal writer needs to come up with out-of-the-box proposals that set their ideas apart from the competitors.
- Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is one essential skill all proposal writers must possess because this keeps them from being too rigid in their ways. It helps them come up with workable strategies during proposal management.
- Hardworking: Proposal writers should be able to work under pressure, tight deadlines, and strict quality standards. Companies are always in need of proposals since they aspire to grow and leverage investment opportunities. Thus, proposal writers must be able to deal with the work influx.
- Strategic Planning: A proposal writer must come up with different ways of approaching the same problem and eventually find a way that optimizes their offering. This strategy is vital since it will determine how well they compete in this highly competitive field.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Proposal Writer?
It takes at least five years to be in a position where proposal writing can become your sole source of income. The competition is tough, so you should hone your skills by taking courses, job-shadowing experts in the field, and interning at places that can potentially present opportunities.
What is the Average Proposal Writer Salary?
The median salary for proposal writers is $50,000 per year with a bachelor's degree.
It varies by location, proposal writer resume, experience level, and proposal writer duties, but the average ranges from $40,000 to $60,000 annually.
A proposal writer job comes from nonprofit organizations, corporations, and larger companies, working in a business development or marketing department.
They are usually involved with writing proposals for new clients, often as part of the proposal team that gives presentations to prospective clients about the company’s capabilities.
Additionally, according to PayScale, an expert proposal writer job can earn up to $150,000 annually. The proposal writer job salary depends on multiple factors, such as:
- Written and communication skills
- Years of experience
What is the Typical Workday Like For a Proposal Writer?
A proposal writer’s day-to-day work will depend on their specialization and experience level.
Typically they are involved with writing proposals for new clients of a company or organization seeking partnerships such as joint ventures, acquisitions, mergers, or other business relationships.
The proposal writer team presents these requests in meetings between prospective partners who may not know what services or products the corporation offers and how they would meet their needs.
Proposal writers also respond to the RFP s (Request for Proposal) and RFIs (Request for Information). They may create project schedules or be involved in the planning process. The proposal process includes researching the client’s company, industry, competition, and service offerings. Then, it requires gathering content from internal resources such as marketing materials or a prospectus to showcase what they have done in the past.
They may also consult with other team members internally to provide feedback on ideas before presenting them to prospective partners.
Proposers can use templates provided by clients in the RFP. Still, they will be required to make changes when necessary according to the individual needs of each specific project.
A proposal writer’s work has many similarities to journalists or researchers who gather information about their subject matter before conveying it to readers using text and visuals.
Proposal writers should have excellent communication skills to interact with clients, contractors, and other proposal writers. A proposal writer can help businesses grow their customer base by convincing them to participate or buy.
As a College Student, What Can I Do To Get My Proposal Writing Career Started?
Talk to professors and counselors. They may be able to give you some advice on how you should go about getting internships and finding out what it takes to become a proposal writer.
It also helps to create a Linkedin profile and network on the platform. Or, you could work as a part-time proposal writer at a local company.
What Does My Career Path Look Like If I Pursue This Field?
It is possible for many proposal writers to enter other related fields such as market research analysts, product managers, and customer service specialists.
Or, you can continue working as the proposal writer job and bag high-paying gigs as your experience increases.
Is Proposal Writing a Good Career?
Yes, every proposal writer is in-demand because they help companies create winning proposals. However, it will take some time before you start paying the bills through proposal development.
Can Proposal Writers Work as Freelancers?
Yes, a proposal writer can work as a freelancer. However, a freelance proposal writer often needs to have more skills to find jobs and make themselves competitive. Freelance proposal writers constantly search for new opportunities and clients.
Is it Expensive to Get Into Proposal Writing?
Yes, proposal writing is a high-paying career. You may pay for learning development software, joining organizations that serve each proposal writer, purchasing relevant books, and learning project management techniques.
If you are new to proposal writing and are looking to break-in, we recommend taking our Proposal Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of being a proposal writer and how to write winning proposals.
Josh is the founder of Technical Writer HQ and Squibler, a writing software. He is considered one of the top product influencers in the world by Product School and one of the top technical writers. He has been writing software tutorials, manuals, handbooks, and white papers for over eight years. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.