An RFP can be a request for proposal or request for pricing. RFP writers specialize in writing the actual request documents. Though sometimes used interchangeably, RFP writing is very different from proposal writing. You can expect job descriptions to vary between industries and companies, but the basic requirements are often similar.
The primary role of an RFP writer is to develop request documents that clearly delineate all job specifications, including all potential variables. You must also list and explain all documentation -- such as proofs of liability or workers' compensation insurance -- required from the companies you'll be inviting to bid. You may have to coordinate extensively with other departments and, in some states and industries, you'll need to understand the rules and laws governing proposals. In some cases, you will actually manage the bid process, which may be conducted wholly online.
Education and Training
Educational requirements vary significantly from position to position. In a typical business setting, a bachelor's degree will often suffice and you may not need to hold a degree at all. In construction, on the other hand, you must be highly trained to be able to accurately determine and describe specifications. In some cases, such as environmental or chemical science, you may need to obtain and maintain certifications or licenses, many of which require ongoing education.
Skills and Abilities
A good RFP writer job description lists required skills. Above all, RFP writers must be highly analytical and detail-oriented because incorrect requests from you lead to incorrect vendor proposals. Vendors are not responsible for increased charges resulting from bad information, so your mistake can be costly for your company. You must also be able to communicate clearly and concisely and, in the case of online bids, have enough technological savvy to manage the process.
Unless you work for a multinational corporation or an agency, there's a good chance you won't be writing RFPs full-time because the typical company doesn't issue complicated proposal requests on a regular basis. Most RFP writers are housed in the purchasing department and you'll most likely have additional vendor management duties such as processing invoices for payment and tracking shipments. In some companies, RFP writers work in the marketing department. If so, you might be responsible both for sending bid requests to vendors and for responding to proposal requests from clients.
Maggie Worth has more than 18 years of marketing and business management experience. She has conducted training classes in resume, fiction and web writing and has written textbooks, resumes, professional and technical documents, ad copy, video scripts and articles for lifestyle magazines. She is director of marketing communications strategy and special projects for a university.