There are five essential elements to winning each tender:

  1. Team
  2. Track record
  3. Relationship with the client
  4. Commitment to the bid
  5. Solution.

The first 4 elements get you in the race and the magic is in the 5th element – the solution. The right team, with the right track record, who knows the client, and commits to the bid process will develop a more compelling offer.

But, to get to the magical fifth element, you first need to cover off on the basics.

Let’s be honest, you won’t expect to win a tender if you didn’t have the right team, appropriately structured, with the right people to successfully deliver the work. You will have the organisational structure filled with key people, that have the necessary experience, and cultural fit to show the client you can do the job. Now you just need to show them.

The following six tips will get you on your way to creating the perfect client-convincing CV and will hit a home run on the people evaluation criteria.

  1. Throw out the employment CV

This is a tender, not a job application. Make sure you treat the key personnel CVs accordingly. While the CV that was used to gain employment is a necessary starting point, it is not what needs to be included in a tender. The CV that someone puts together for a job application will show how great they are and focus only on them.

Like a successful job application, a tender CV needs to be tailored to each project and position. We need consistency across all CVs. This shows the client that you have a coordinated and cohesive team, illustrating that you are all team players. A common structure helps the client easily assess each person’s suitability and that, as a team, you can deliver the project. The client will know where to find the relevant information they are looking for quickly because it is in the same place for each CV. If you have attached 15 employment CVs, you can guarantee that they will all look different and will be harder to assess.

2. Start with the position description

The ability to successfully deliver a project rests on your ability to get the right person in the right job. Make sure the CV shows how the person is the perfect fit for the role you are nominating them for.

When looking at relevant project experience, make sure it fits the requirements of the client, the project and the specific role. For example, if you are going to be the Design Manager for a rail project, use experiences specifically focused to the rail industry, your management and team leadership capability and your design prowess. Don’t fail to use the opportunity to showcase the three jobs that are specifically relevant to the role. This might mean that one of your favourite jobs doesn’t make the list because it isn’t the best fit for the role you are being nominated for.

3. Bring the funky

As part of each tender response, you will need to undertake a strategy session to understand the client, the proposal and the win themes. From this, you will work out whether the client is innovative or whether they are more conservative.

The answer to this question will guide your approach to the template and the content for your CVs. For more conservative clients, they will expect to see the traditional headings. For the more innovative clients, they will be more accepting of more creative designs and styles.

One of my favourite projects was for a very savvy client open to different suggestions. We included information in the CVs comparing our people to favourite fictional characters and showcased how favourite pastimes illustrated how the individual would tackle the job. For example, the profile of a weekend mountain climber included statements about how, with proper preparation and planning, even the largest and seemingly insurmountable peak could be climbed.

4. Targeted and up-to-date qualifications

Make sure your qualifications are up to date and relevant to the position. There will be page limits and space restrictions that you will need to work with. Often you only have space for three or four items in this section, so you need to make sure you include the most relevant qualifications for the role. If the project is for road or general construction, including rail safe worker credentials probably doesn’t add much. Instead, use the construction white card in your qualifications as you can’t get on a construction site without it.

5. Headshots… proceed with caution

I am a huge fan of headshots…


Did you sense the but coming on?

But, only use headshots when they are consistent across the entire project team. Using inconsistent headshots across the entire CV package can indicate to the client that certain people aren’t worth spending the money on a professional shot. Or they aren’t good enough to warrant one in the first place.

Put yourself in the evaluation panel’s seat:

Imagine flicking through the CVs and getting over halfway with each CV having professional headshots. You haven’t even really noticed the headshots that much because you are focusing on the content. You then get to the first of a few CVs with different headshot that is clearly taken in the lunchroom with a smartphone. What is your impression?

Prior to this, the headshots were a ‘nice to have’ that gave a sense of personalisation to the CV. Now however, they take on a new meaning. In one flick of a page, the headshot now has the reader questioning why this person hasn’t got a headshot, not focusing on the person’s experience.

It is all about consistency. Which brings me to

6. Let go of your ego

I know it is a hard one, but this is not about you. While the CV is all about your experience and capability, a tender CV is definitely not about you, it is showcasing the team.

It is a tool to showcase how you can deliver what is required to make the project proceed.

For each project we work on, we develop a standard template across all personnel. This will contain different sections from profile, relevant experience, safety, qualifications, capabilities or skills etc. but each template caters specifically to the client.

The template will need to include everything they ask for, typically in the order they ask for. This is essential. The template will have the headings that need to be populated, consistently across the entire team. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Ego can get in the way, probably because it is called a CV, which makes people think they own their CV. While we definitely need individual input, the entire team need consistency across their CV, such as tone, formatting, headshots etc.

Using these six tips will make sure your team shines through as the best team to deliver the project. For assistance with developing a star CV, contact Aurora Marketing today on 07 3211 4299 or info@254.152.

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