What Does a Proposal Writer Do?

Updated on May 24th, 2021
What Does a Proposal Writer Do?

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 important jobs in a company because everything starts with their proposal, which can make or break a deal.

If you think this might be right up your alley, read on below for more information about being a proposal writer.

What is a Proposal Writer?

A proposal writer is someone who will take the client's needs and put them into a document. The goal of the proposal is to give the client everything they need to make an informed decision 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 for the reader.

The job description doesn't only include being good at wordsmithing but 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 in order to effectively convey their message so it can be understood by individuals of any level of knowledge or understanding.

If you're interested in becoming a great proposal writer, then check out our top-rated technical writing certifications.

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
  • Promote the proposal when it's completed, including marketing materials, social media posts, blogging about the company or product being proposed.
  • Review feedback on their proposals for improvement opportunities. This includes things such as typos, unclear language, formatting errors, etc.

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 because the writer is looking out for what others want from them to be awarded funding.

What is the Difference Between a Proposal Writer Job and Contract Negotiation?

The goal of both processes is 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, which can be 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.

The proposals often include information about how each partner would benefit if they collaborate with the company, their potential contributions, and why one should choose this business over others in its industry or sector.

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 at an early stage before anything has been implemented.

Therefore, they help in business development by creating opportunities for the company to expand its ventures and bring other stakeholders on board.

What are the Qualifications to be a Proposal Writer?

A bachelor's degree is required for this position, 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, it's possible to successfully make a career out of proposal writing with a high school diploma.

In fact, 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 some inherent capabilities and skills to excel at their jobs.

Do Proposal Writers Require Technical Knowledge?

Proposal writers need to be able 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 knowledge of HTML and CSS coding languages, Photoshop, and other graphic design tools that clients may require on specific projects.

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 important skill in proposal writing. Proposal writers must be able to 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 and others' 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 be successful. Creativity and innovation are vital when it comes to proposal writing, as the 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 key 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 standards of quality. 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 be able to come up with different ways of approaching the same problem and eventually find a way that optimizes their offering. The strategic nature of what they do 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.

It is not easy paying your bills as an aspiring proposal writer unless you are lucky enough to land high-paying clients right away or get rewarded with great contracts by sheer luck.

The competition is tough, so it's best that you hone your skills by taking courses, job-shadowing experts in the field, and interning at places that can potentially present job opportunities for you in the future.

What is the Average Proposal Writer Salary?

The median salary for proposal writers is $50,000 per year.

It varies by location and experience level but the average ranges from $40,000 to $60,000 annually.

Proposal writers are typically employed by 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, expert proposal writers can earn up to $150,000 annually. The proposal writer salary depends on multiple factors, such as:

  • Written and communication skills
  • Testimonials
  • Qualifications
  • 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 that is seeking partnerships such as joint ventures, acquisitions, mergers, or other business relationships.

The proposal team presents these requests in meetings between prospective partners who may not be aware of what services/products the corporation offers and how it would meet their needs.

Proposal writers also respond to the RFP s (Request for Proposal) and RFIs (Request for Information).

The proposal process typically includes researching the client's company, industry, competition, and their service offerings; 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 but 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 those performed by journalists or researchers who involve themselves in gathering information about their subject matter before conveying it to readers using text and visuals appropriately.

Proposal writers should have excellent communication skills to interact with clients, contractors, and other proposal writers.

With these skills, a proposal writer can help businesses grow their customer base by convincing others to work with them or providing information that will persuade potential customers to buy what is being sold.


As a College Student, What Can I Do To Get My Proposal Writing Career Started?

Talk to your teacher or Guidance Counselor: 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 people who work as proposal writers to enter other related fields such as market research analyst, product manager, and customer service specialist.

Or, you can continue working as a proposal writer and bag high-paying jobs as your experience increases.

Is Proposal Writing a Good Career?

Yes, Proposal writers are 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, proposal writers can work as freelancers. However, freelance proposal writers often need to have more skills to find jobs and make themselves competitive.

Is it Expensive to Get Into Proposal Writing?

Yes, proposal writing is a high-paying career, but you will have some expenses such as learning proposals development software, joining organizations that serve the proposal writer community (i.e., Society for Technical Communication), purchasing relevant books on business topics and project management techniques - which may not be cheap.