If you’re ever been interested in working in ‘bids’, then the bid coordinator role is the perfect place to get your feet wet when it comes to tendering.
Bid coordinators are found across numerous industries, ranging from cleaning to engineering, law, medicine and countless others. Coordinators are usually tasked with the grunt work of putting together a tender response or bid.
The work itself usually involves:
- Reviewing the tender
- Setting up meetings with the assigned team
- Assigning sections of the tender to the relevant person
- Organising timeframes for collation of bid content and reviews
- Editing content and templates
- Graphic design (optional)
- Submission and post-review
Bid coordinators work under a bid manager or bid lead whenever there is a tender available.
The responsibility of these roles however varies and can usually determined by the size of the company.
If the company is small, bid coordinators will often work under sales and marketing managers to keep watch for, organise, review and submit a bid/tender response.
If the company is larger, bid coordinators will usually work in one section of the company or may even find themselves as part of a team of bid coordinators. The team structure usually consists of coordinators working independently on assigned bids but sharing each other’s workload as the need arises.
If you’re interested in becoming a bid coordinator, the following skills and attributes will make you an appealing candidate:
- Organisation: Apart from actually writing a bid, organising the bid process and the content that is produced is most important. The assigned team will have their own schedules and priorities that often don’t include a bid. The coordinator therefore needs to ensure that each step of the bid process is running smoothly and that contingencies, such as pre-preparing certain content, are always available.
- Relationship building: When it comes to bids, the smaller the team is, the easier the whole bid process will be. Regardless of size however, maintaining relationships with the team involved makes life easier for a coordinator as they are often required to push for a bid’s priority over current work. This struggle between chasing more work and doing the work available will forever be an ongoing issue.
- Writing/editing skills: Bid coordinators are not usually involved with providing a bid strategy or vision for the overall response. Often, content is technical and it is the coordinator’s job to ensure that this content is nonetheless easy to read and relatively free of errors. Practice is the key when it comes to developing these skills. Courses and accreditations are also available to provide evidence of self-improvement.
- Graphic design: I’d consider this an optional yet powerful skill. Graphic design in this context does not mean a bid coordinator has to provide amazing designs alongside the bid content. It is more focused on an ability to use and modify pre-existing templates with appropriate themes and colours. For example, learning how to use Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator) is favourably looked upon in many bid coordinator job advertisements. These software packages are not hard to get started in and can be a nice change from the constant churn of organising, writing and editing bid responses.
Bid coordinator roles are an entryway in to the wide world of bids. Working in bids itself can help you develop skills that are transferrable across different industries.
To actually be considered for bid coordinator roles, be aware of the following pathways to attain that initial level of experience:
- Agency roles: Like Tender Works, there are other tender/bid agencies around that sometimes hire interns or entry level applicants. While the pay will be minimal, the experience will be worthwhile. You’ll often find yourself thrown straight in to the fire, dealing with clients directly and having to learn everything about a bid quickly. The payoff however is that you’ll gain client-facing experience in different industries and also hone your way of organising and completing a bid.
- General administration: It is highly possible to transition to a bid coordinator role from an administrative assistant position or something similar. To do so, you would’ve likely been in an admin level role for some period of time and convinced a nearby bid manager or lead to take you on as an internal hire. And you can always leverage such admin experience elsewhere in case a bid coordinator role is not available at your current workplace.
From my personal experiences of once being a bid coordinator, here are a few more interesting points I’ve noticed about this position:
- Bid coordinators are predominantly female in Australia. I’ve worked in numerous industries and it has usually been the case where I’ve been the only male in the team. What is so ironic about this observation is that bids themselves are gender-neutral. You could even compare it to simply writing an essay or doing a group assignment where gender has no effect on the outcome of these activities whatsoever.
- The average person has likely never heard of a bid or tender. As a result, they’ve also never heard of a bid coordinator. Bids themselves are a unique line of work. If you studied at university, you would’ve probably never heard such roles mentioned even once. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen a bid coordinator role on Seek or LinkedIn and are interested in finding out more to see if such a role would suit you.
- You are not restricted to one industry. I’ve mentioned this a few times throughout this blog post and I’ll repeat – Your skills are transferrable as a bid coordinator. While the tender requirements will change between industries, your contributions through role will relatively stay the same. Tender Works was founded as a result of my similar experiences doing bids for companies in a wide range of fields. If you ever get bored doing bids in one field, it is easy for you to pursue similar work elsewhere.
I’m hoping that this blog post shone a light on the role of a bid coordinator and what it take to be one. I personally believe that these roles are invaluable to a company’s success when it comes to tenders. While it is always difficult to actually win a tender, doing so would exceed the costs, in terms of both time and money, to hire and use a bid coordinator in the first place.
Since that is the case, and if you’re currently needing assistance with a current tender, contact us now at Tender Works to get started on your next bid.