MOST JOB-SEEKERS targeting large corporations know that hiring managers today aren't reading resumes; instead, the company may use computers to scan the resumes it receives in the hunt for what it considers key words. Put the right words in your resume and you might win the job interview.
This theme hit home for me while I read the results of our 2004 Event Rental Survey. We polled our rental readers in October asking for their predictions for business this year.
You can see the statistics in our cover story, beginning on page 36. But what we can't fit into pie charts or bar graphs are the hundreds of write-in answers that our event rental readers supplied when we asked crucial questions such as “What steps are you taking to make your event rental operation stand out as a success story in 2004?”
I don't have key word scanning software, but I didn't need it to identify the major themes for event rental in 2004. Here are the words our rental readers used most to tell us how they will make this year a success:
Despite a tough couple of years, event rental operators have not lost any of their zeal in working to improve their operations. Common responses: “Better inventory controls.” “Better displays, stronger marketing, more creative in everything that we do.” “Better staffing and attention to detail.”
Event rental companies are turning up the volume of their efforts to boost business. Typical responses: “Increase exposure, equipment and skilled personnel.” “Increase follow-up, marketing — more personal visits to those with the potential to bring in business.” And of course, “Increase sales!”
In today's competitive market, the winners will be the companies who offer the most and the best solutions to their customers. Some examples from our survey: “Offer inventory that few in the area carry.” “Offer more personal services.” “Offer timely delivery and excellent equipment.”
Our survey goes out to individuals, usually the head of the company. But I did not see a single response that began with “I.” Instead, I was taken aback by the sheer number of respondents who started each comment with what “we” will do in 2004. Some examples: “We are expanding our inventory.” “We have set higher goals in terms of revenue.” “We are pursuing high-end clients in our area.” One reply had a particularly poignant edge: “We cut back in 2003 due to the owner's military obligations taking her to Iraq.” But the next line had another “we”: “We will incorporate that into marketing attempts to re-energize our business.”
These words are key to winning business this year.