You may be confident about your abilities and the value of your services, but getting a vote of confidence from others may not be so easy. The job market is competitive and companies commonly request proposals or contracts to assess their options. Before you get anxious and fulfill such a request, remember your document should set you apart. Otherwise, instead of opening the door to opportunity, you may close it.
Research before you start writing. Learn about the company you want work with, develop an understanding of its needs and consider why you're the best candidate for the job. Also, investigate the rates, skills and terms others cite in proposals and contracts for similar jobs. These details will help you create an outline for the final document and allow you to make a more competitive offer.
Create a cover page or a header that identifies who you are and why you are contacting the company. Don't assume that the reader knows what your proposal or contract is for. Include the job number, job site or project name and any other details the company has asked for.
Write clearly and be specific. Unless special terminology or clauses are needed, stick with basic language and a reader-friendly structure. Be sure to completely outline your ideas. Avoid vague, misleading language to sidestep an issue, and do not overstate your capabilities. Either address a subject directly and honestly or omit it altogether. Aim to eliminate any questions that may arise and to reduce the likelihood of future disputes.
Add visual aids if it helps convey your points. For instance, if you are discussing costs or expenses, the reader may understand better if you include charts or graphs. If you want to direct her to resources online, embed links in your document for her convenience.
Remember you are writing to convince someone that you can do a job for their company. Focus on their needs and explain how you are capable of addressing them. Do not provide irrelevant information about yourself or discuss the benefits you expect as a result of the job. In a column for the Microsoft Office website, Michael McLaughlin, a principal of Deloitte Consulting, says some consultants spend too much time discussing their firms, but clients only care about what you will do for them.
Create an executive summary if the document is long. Make sure the summary provides a thorough outline of the contents. Assuming the reader won't make a decision until she reads the full document is risky. Many professionals use summaries to determine whether or not they are interested in continuing to read a lengthy document.
Edit the document once you're finished. Grammatical and spelling errors or incomplete sentences can negatively affect a person's perception about your abilities and professionalism. As you review the document, consider whether it's written so that you grab the reader's attention in the beginning and keep her engaged throughout. Change the wording as needed to ensure your document catches and holds the reader's attention.