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Making Relevant Experience Count in Proposals

Oct 1, 2013
Small Business
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Making Relevant Experience Count in Proposals

Most Requests for Proposals from government agencies require applicants to demonstrate that they are well qualified to provide the products or services described in the application guidelines.  However, many applicants fail to make a persuasive case for the depth of their experience.

Take these steps to highlight your experience:

  1.  Include your description of experience in the proposal according to the application instructions.  This may include prose in your narrative and past performance descriptions in another section of your application.
  2. Whenever you discuss experience, provide concrete examples that focus on results.  It is not enough to have done the work.  You must prove that you met your project and contract goals.
  3. Use visual evidence to highlight your experience.  Good pictures, graphs, and charts increase understanding and appeal to reviewers who may be visual learners.
  4. Caption your visual evidence to support your claims and integrate all visual materials into the narrative.
  5. Highlight the lessons learned from previous contracts.  No project is perfect and sometimes your performance probably was not outstanding.  Explain what you learned from these problems and how you have improved in subsequent contracts as a result.
  6. Discuss best practices in your field, but highlight what you have learned from your own work.  You should demonstrate that you have applied best practices successfully to your own work.

You should not assume that reviewers will know anything about your business.  Consequently, you must convince them that you are well qualified to undertake the work in the contract.  Describing past contracts is not enough.  You must construct an argument about your experience that focuses on results and accomplishments.

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