In our previous blog post we discussed the GoC bidding process. This post will go into more detail on what kind or requirements are listed and how to fill out a grid.
A grid is basically just a list of requirements from the RFP with details of your experience related to that requirement and the number of months experience you have.
For example, one of the requirements might be, “Candidate must have 5 years experience in the past 10 years with Java”. In the grid next to this requirement you would list every project you’ve worked on in the past 10 years using Java along with a brief description of the project, details of how you used Java, and the length of the project. How do you write about how you used Java? I don’t have a good answer for that – just ramble.
At the top of the entry, you would put total amount of time spent on Java projects. If this is a rated requirement, a score will be determined based on amount of experience over 5 years.
Grid requirements care only about time spent on projects, not quality of experience. To stay with the Java example above, you could have 2 years experience working for Oracle developing the next version of Java. As far as the GoC (Government of Canada) is concerned, this has equal value to 2 years experience developing an app using Java. It’s crazy, I know.
Not all requirements are worded clearly.
For example, one of the requirements Service Canada likes to put on their RFPs for web based application developers is, “candidate must have at least 5 years experience with client server architectures”. Read literally, this would mean that they want a developer with experience with mainframes and dumb terminals. This is not what they really want. What they want is someone with experience with web based application development. And yes, in web based application development there is a client and a server but the phrase “client server” refers specifically to mainframe.
So what do we do? We bid assuming “client server architectures” means “web based applications with a client and a server”.
All requirements must be noted in your resume and the grid using the exact wording used in the RFP.
To follow the example above, every project listed in your resume that you are using as experience must have the exact phrase “client server architecture” in the write up in your resume.
Going back to our previous Java example, every project in your resume must have the word “Java” in it. “J2EE”, or “J2EE” won’t be enough because the people evaluating and disqualifying bids have no technical knowledge. They don’t know that J2EE is Java. If you don’t have “Java” in both the grid, and your resume, the bid will be disqualified.
Here’s another example that is an exaggeration but I really want to drive the point home. Sometimes there are requirements for a senior software developer that seem like, “Candidate must have 10 years experience using a keyboard.” Requirements that are completely ridiculous. If you’re a senior developer, of course you have experience with a keyboard. If the grid and your resume doesn’t have a phrase like ,”Jimmy used a keyboard for this project,” the bid will be disqualified.
A real example that comes up often is CLF (Common Look and Feel), the GoCs web accessibility initiate. If you have experience building web apps for the GoC, of course you have experience with CLF. If it’s a requirement, make sure it is in your resume.
Typically this means the resume you submit is huge – 30+ pages. It also means that this version of your resume can’t be used for anything other than bidding on GoC contracts.