Project References and Resumes Do Not Write Themselves

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Nine out of ten bid managers I speak with express frustration over the lack of high-quality resumes and references when entering a bid process. The issue with SMEs is well-known and has been described several times, including in Bidding Quarterly.

When it comes to resumes and references, most bid organisations face three primary challenges:

  • Unwillingness: Employees and project managers who hesitate to take responsibility for updating resumes and project references.
  • Poor quality: The material provided is often of low quality once it is finally completed.
  • Structure and timing: Even when completed, these updates are frequently delivered just hours before the deadline.

The good news: there are things you can do to resolve these issues.

Overcoming Unwillingness
I often remark people typically update their resumes only when they are searching for a new job. Luckily, this does not mean we can’t entice people to do so. But it does mean the improvement of a resume needs to be an assigned task within their work schedule. Many organisations mistakenly assume employees will handle this on their own time—they won’t.

The same principle applies to project managers and the creation of project references. Without a defined task and a place to track the time used, this task will always receive the lowest possible priority.
Where does this leave us? At senior management level.

The Role of Senior Management
For anything to happen in a company, it must be someone’s job. The list of potential tasks is nearly endless. It’s up to management to prioritise what people should focus on.

Senior management must recognise the importance of the bidding department receiving the right references and resumes at the right time and of the right quality. It is the responsibility of the proposal professionals within the organisation to communicate the consequences of inadequate resumes and references to management.

Creating a Structured Process
I often encounter organisations that believe high-quality references and resumes are a given. They assume everyone understands their importance but fail to establish processes to ensure they are produced and maintained.

For a smoother bidding process with less stress before the deadline, you must create a structure where resumes and references are regularly updated in ‘peace time’ rather than amidst the chaos of proposal deadlines.

By establishing clear responsibilities and integrating these tasks into regular workflows, organisations can improve the quality and punctuality of their bid submissions and ultimately enhances their chances of success.

This article was written by Anders Dyrholm .

Anders Dyrholm is a Client Manager at the Danish bid and process management software company Orbit Online. He works primarily within the AEC sector, consulting or managing projects for over 100 companies and specialises in resume and reference management solutions. He is also the lead organiser of Denmark’s first Proposal Conference in September 2024 in Copenhagen.

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