Behind the job - Gareth Marshall, Bid Writer

  • 3rd May 2021

Tell us about you and your job

I’m a Bid Writer for ENGIE. I live near Manchester and I’m currently home-based, although my ENGIE office is in Salford. 

The company is a global organisation focused on making the zero carbon transition happen. They look to reduce energy consumption and create more environmentally-friendly solutions for communities and businesses - many in the built environment sector where carbon output is so high. Given the global climate crisis, it’s a pretty motivating purpose as an employee. 

I trained originally as a sports journalist, before moving into marketing. For the past six years, I worked in the property sector as a content writer, before making the move to ENGIE in 2021. 

Working in marketing, the move to bid writing was not necessarily an obvious one. But there are lots of synergies and transferable skills between marketing and bid writing and I’m loving it. Not only has ENGIE got a great purpose, but the team are lovely (although I’ve only ever met them virtually!) and because the company is global, it is full of exciting opportunities and a clear career path should I choose to progress.

What key skills do you need as a Bid Writer?

Before I got the job I had no idea what a Bid Writer was! But after speaking to Charlotte at Coleman James and a former colleague who had worked in the built environment sector, I began to understand more - and realised I had many of the skills needed to do the job. 

As a Bid Writer, you have to be able to make a compelling argument for why your company should be chosen as the partner of choice to deliver against a project brief. There are many factors involved in writing bids and winning work and tenders are usually very competitive.

I’m a very creative person and I look at things from a creative perspective, which can help a bid for work stand out in a crowded market place. I think that creativity is one of the strengths you can bring to this job as a former marketeer. 

There is a lot of research and reading involved - it’s very important to be across the detail. This also involves speaking to the right technical specialists within ENGIE, so good communications and questioning skills are key - which is where the Journalism degree comes in! In bidding for work you are often responding to very specific questions that need answering succinctly. So being able to make the argument for why ENGIE is the best fit to deliver the job, concisely, is key. 

What does your typical day look like?

At the moment I’m still learning the ropes. We are a team of five, including our Head of Bids, a bid manager, another bid writer and a bid coordinator. As I learn the job I am supporting certain aspects of bids while the manager oversees the whole process.  At the same time, ENGIE is putting my marketing background to good use. I’m currently writing a marketing brochure to demonstrate the amazing work that ENGIE’s Education and Public Buildings Department does. It allows me to add my creative flair to also support the wider business development team and adds value to the company. 

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about moving into a career in bid writing?

Keep your options open. When I did my degree in Journalism, I never thought it would lead me here, but it’s a great outlet for anyone who has good creative and communications skills.

If you come from a marketing background like me, look at what you currently do and where there are synergies between your skills and the job specification. And try and talk to someone who is familiar with, or has experience of the role, who can give you more background and broaden your understanding of what the job entails. Both these exercises were really useful to me and helped me decide to move into bid writing. 

How did you find working with the team at Coleman James?

I couldn’t fault the experience. In all honesty, I’d had some pretty bad encounters with Recruitment Consultants in the past, being made to feel like a commodity. That wasn’t the case at all with Charlotte and Coleman James. 

I have never previously dealt with a Recruitment Consultant as thorough and professional as Charlotte. What struck me was her work after I landed the job, taking the time to call and follow up with me, making sure everything was ok. She took care in everything that she did, and I never once felt that I was simply just a number or opportunity to her. This is how every job seeker wishes all recruitment consultants would operate! I would highly recommend Charlotte and Coleman James.