If you have a knack for writing to persuade, proposal writing is an avenue you may be considering. A laundry list of certifications isn't necessary to become a proposal writer, and there are tons of employment opportunities out there to choose from, both full-time and freelance.
Types of Services
There are thousands of companies who constantly need the services proposal writers have to offer, including:
Grant writing (governmental or non-profit)
Funding requests from local organizations
Public donation requests
If you are not located in an area where proposal writers are in high demand, don't fret. Some companies allow employees and freelancers to work remotely to complete the task at hand.
Required Skill Set
To flourish as a proposal writer, there are some skills you need to possess.
Attention to Detail
This is an extremely important skill to have if you're going to flourish as a grant proposal writer. Most RFPs, also known as requests for proposals, have specific guidelines that must be followed to be considered for funding. Overlooking simple details, such as incorrect formatting or submitting after the deadline, could easily disqualify you.
The Ability to Multi-Task
Whether you are working alone or with a team on a proposal, chances are you will need to juggle several tasks at once. This could include delegating components of the proposal to other members of the team to complete, reviewing inputs from the organization, ensuring deadlines are met, and editing the final document to confirm its cohesiveness.
Are you well-versed in copywriting? This skill will be invaluable in your career as a proposal writer as you'll be selling the evaluators on why your proposal should be approved for funding.
The contents of the proposal grant the evaluator a first-hand look into the company or organization your are writing for. If it's inundated with grammatical errors, you will leave a bad first impression on the evaluator.
How well do you know the industry? Are you comfortable using company jargon and able to convey key ideas in the most straightforward manner possible?
Getting Started as a Proposal Writer
Before searching for opportunities in the proposal writing arena, it may be in your best interest to volunteer for a non-profit to start building your portfolio. Once you have enough samples in your arsenal, you must decide if you want to work for an organization as a proposal writer on a full-time or freelance basis.
How to Find Full-Time Positions
You may find opportunities for proposal writing from the following sources.
- Newspaper Ads: Peruse the job section of your local paper to identify possible job opportunities in your area of residence.
LinkedIn: This social networking platform is a great way to connect with other professionals who may be looking for freelance and full-time proposal writers. You can also search for open positions by job title, keyword, or company name.
Online Job Search Engines: These include Monster, Indeed, Career Builder, and Simply Hired. You can conduct searches without creating a profile. However, it's in your best interest to do so, since a unique profile will enable you to receive recommendations and apply directly from the site.
How to Find Freelance Positions
Another perk of these sites is the ability to create a unique profile that includes your areas of expertise and have it viewed by thousands of potential employers.
Consider Joining a Professional Writer Group
Beyond offering valuable educational resources to their members, professional writer groups are a great way for proposal writers to meet others who are in their niche and cultivate relationships. Some professional writer groups also include a section on their website with current job postings and share industry news you should be aware of in their correspondence to members.
You should consider joining The Association of Record for Bid, Proposal, Business Development, Capture, and Graphics Professionals to take advantage of these benefits and so many more.
A Few More Suggestions
While newspapers and online search engines are excellent ways to identify opportunities for proposal writers, you may also want to consider in-person networking events. These are typically hosted by local non-profits, small business associations, the Chamber of Commerce, and large professional organizations, just to name a few. Chances are there will be someone in attendance looking for up and coming proposal writers just like yourself.
Additionally, reach out to your friends and relatives via email to let them know what you're up to and request they spread the word.
Finally, always have your portfolio ready since you never know when an opportunity will present itself.