Responding to a Request for Proposal
I recently submitted a job application and every time I do, I remember that not everyone knows exactly how to respond to one. Or to an official Request for Proposal.
So today we are going to cover how to do it correctly.
When someone submits a job application of any kind, they are usually looking for specific skills.
Now, they sometimes send a long list of skills in the hope that one person can do it all. But most of the time they will find that they need more than one person.
If the potential client is smart, they will tell people to respond with whatever skills they have so that later the client can choose whether to go with one, two, or more contractors.
So our responsibility as a contractor is to be clear, concise and direct.
I have seen so many responses to job applications or RFPs that are a disaster, which is why I offer you the following tips (look at me as the potential client):
1. Apply only for the things you know how to do well. Exceptionally well. Unless the customer says they are willing to pay you so you know what they are asking for help for, don’t bother to respond. When someone applies for a job, they are looking for someone to hire who has the skills you need. Sure, they have a lot of (hopefully!) Apps to examine. Don’t waste your time telling them you can learn something.
2. Respond to your exact needs. If the job posting lists multiple skills and you have some, let them know clearly and distinctly that you have them, and give them examples of how you’ve used them.
3. Don’t send them your resume. Forever. Can I say that again? Just don’t do it. You are not applying for a job. You are a business owner. Even if they ask for one, don’t send it. You must have your skills already listed on your website or online presence (LinkedIn profile if your website is not live yet). Your resume is a big no no. Just don’t send it.
4. Don’t tell anyone to “go and learn more about yourself” on your website. Provide them with all the information they need in their response to your RFP. They will go and look at your website and Google it (I always do), but don’t MAKE them do it. Give them everything they asked for in your answer. Make it easy for them to consider you for the job.
5. Give them only what they ask for. When people apply for a job, they often get a lot of responses. The more concise yours is, the easier it will be for them to preselect it. Clarity is key!
These suggestions are not intended to discourage you from responding to an RFP. They are meant to encourage you to get it right.
People seeking support are busy and often overwhelmed with the list of tasks before them. Do your best to let them know that you can help them get rid of that overwhelm.
By submitting a challenging response to your request, you add to your overwhelming, it will surely go to the bottom of the list.
Make sure you don’t follow these tips.
And of course, feel free to respond to any RFP. The owner of the company is asking for help, it is a vulnerable position. If you have two skills in a list of ten that they are requesting, be clear that you can exceptionally help with those two.
And good luck! There are so many requests for proposals!