Doesn't anyone read anymore? Have we become a scan and react population?
I put a small ad in my local Craig's List. It was about two lines and stated that I needed a CSS guru to clean up an existing Style sheet for a template product I am working on. Two hours consultation is all I was looking for, and stated such in the ad. I even asked that they come to my office so I could sit with them and learn what they were doing.
I figured to get a few local designers or college kids who could come over to the office and tweak the CSS with me. I only got one local response, and that was after I hired a guy in Minneapolis.
That isn't the interesting part. I also received over a dozen resumes, letters of interest, full-blown IT brochures and such from US, Russia, India and other places. They were sure I would pick them for the "project" as they included lists of websites they had done, Databases they had built, and extraordinary feats of Interface design. Could their project coordinator call me to discuss my needs? Would it be ok for them to send their bid proposal documents?
For a 2 hour CSS tweaking gig? Really?
One person sent a single line response noting that he had been awarded 17 times for his interface design and was familiar with more languages than I have ever heard of. He then gave me a list of nearly a hundred links to websites he had supposedly done. Sure, I'll go check them out and ... and ... and what?
Point is this. Do you read the RFP and then react or do you respond? Reacting means grabbing that boilerplate notepad doc and pasting it in anything that remotely looks like a gig you may be able to somehow do. Responding means making sure you understand what they are looking for and sending information that is pertinent to their desires.
Sure, there are lots of people aggressively looking for work out there. There is a lot of work to be done. But I can tell you that the chance that I would hire anyone to do anything for me who hadn't taken the time to even read what I wanted is nil. Can you imagine how that project would go? Can't read the ad correctly, probably can't read my specs correctly either.
Trust starts at the beginning of any relationship. Create a sense of trust by responding with information that lets the other person know that at least you can read their request. And that you respect it and them.