I recently posted a job application and each time I do, I’m reminded that not everyone knows exactly how to respond to one. Or to an official Request for Proposal.

So today we’re 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 sometimes they send out 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 prospect is smart, they will tell people to respond with whatever skills they have so the customer can then choose whether to go with one, two, or more contractors.

So our responsibility as a contractor is to be clear, concise and direct.

I’ve seen so many responses to job applications or RFPs that are disasters, which is why I offer the following tips (see me as the lead):

1. Ask only for things you know how to do well. Exceptionally good. Unless the customer says he’s willing to pay you to find out what he’s asking for help with, don’t bother responding. When someone applies for a job, she is looking for someone to hire who has the necessary skills. No doubt they have many (hopefully!) applications to examine. Don’t waste their time telling them that you can learn something.

2. Respond to your exact needs. If the job posting lists several skills and you have a few, make it clear and clear to them that you have those skills and give them examples of how you have used them.

3. Don’t send them your resume. Ever. Can I say that again? Just don’t do it. You are not applying for a job. You own a business. Even if they ask you, don’t send it. You should have your skills already listed on your website or online presence (LinkedIn profile if your website is not active yet). Your resume is a big no no. Just don’t send it.

4. Don’t tell someone to “go learn more about yourself” on your website. Provide them with all the information they need in your response to your RFP. They will go and look at your website and google it (I always do), but don’t FORCE them to. 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 succinct yours is, the easier it will be for them to shortlist you. Clarity is key!

These suggestions are not intended to discourage you from responding to an RFP. They are meant to encourage you to do it correctly.

People seeking support are busy and often overwhelmed with the list of tasks ahead. Do your best to let them know that you can help them get rid of that burden.

By sending a challenging response to your request, you add to your overwhelming, you will surely go to the bottom of the list.

Make sure you don’t by following these few tips.

And of course, feel free to respond to any RFP. The business owner is asking for help, it’s a vulnerable position to be in. If you have two skills from a list of ten that are being asked for, be clear that you can exceptionally help with those two.

And good luck! There are so many RFPs out there!

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