Career Development

How to Become More Detail-Oriented at Work

September 21, 2020

Being detail-oriented means you pay close attention to both major and minor details when completing a task, and employers find detail-oriented employees valuable. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about becoming more detail-oriented and how to highlight these skills in your interview.

Why detail-oriented skills are important

Detail-oriented skills are important in the workplace because they help you produce high-quality work accurately with limited supervision. Detail-oriented people are usually good with numbers, highly-organized and financially-responsible.

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Tips for showing you are detail-oriented at an interview

Use the following steps to show you are a detail-oriented person during an interview:

1. Show you are detailed-oriented prior to the interview

Even prior to your interview, you have the opportunity to show that you are detail-oriented. By ensuring your resume and cover letter are free of grammatical and spelling errors and that they include details relevant to the job description, you show that details are important to you.

Read more: The Complete Guide to Researching a Company

2. Be on time for the interview

Being on time for your interview shows that you paid attention when the time and place of the interview details were being given. It also shows that you respect the interviewer’s time and prioritize meeting deadlines.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition and Examples

3. Pay attention to the person who greets you

The interview begins as soon as you meet the person greeting you. This means you need to pay attention to details about them, such as their name, physical characteristics and attire. You can use these details during the interview if asked for an example of your attention to detail. 

4. Provide detailed answers to interview questions

Show your attention to specifics by answering interview questions in detail. When possible, you should try to use the STAR interview response technique to identify specific relevant experiences and how your actions resulted in a positive outcome. The STAR interview technique is great for behavioral interview questions but you can also answer technical interview questions with thorough explanations and details.

Read more: How to Use the STAR Interview Response Technique

5. Actively listen to the information the interviewer tells you

During the interview, you will likely learn new information about both the position and the company you are applying for from the interviewer. It is important to actively listen to the information the interviewer tells you and to take notes when appropriate. This shows the interviewer you care about what they are saying and you know when to make note of important information.

Read more: Active Listening Skills: Definition and Examples

6. Ask questions at the end of the interview

Near the end of your interview, the interviewer will most likely ask you if you have any questions. Having questions prepared to ask during this time shows you are interested in the details of the position and the company. You can also use this time to ask questions to clarify information the interviewer discussed during the interview. 

Read more: 9 Best Questions to Ask Your Interviewer (With Video Examples)

How to be more detail-oriented at work

While some people are naturally detail-oriented, others need to work on developing this skill. Follow these steps to become more detail-oriented in the workplace:

1. Make sure you understand instructions clearly

One of the first things you can do to improve your detail-oriented skills is to work on improving your communication skills. Communication skills involve actively listening to people. Try to avoid assumptions in the workplace even on seemingly-easy tasks by repeating your expectations back to the person giving you the task or asking them clarifying questions so there is no miscommunication. Doing this will help you manage your time better and complete your work more accurately.

2. Use a task management system

Another way you can help yourself become more detail-oriented at work is to use a task management system. Calendars, planners and to-do lists prioritize and organize the tasks you need to get done and their due dates. This will help you avoid missing important deadlines. You can also try adding detailed notes about what each task needs done to make sure you don’t miss or forget minor details when completing each task.

3. Break large projects into smaller tasks and make a plan

Breaking larger projects into smaller tasks helps make the project more manageable and can also help you focus on the specific details needed to properly complete each smaller task. Once you are sure you have accounted for all the necessary details of one task, you can move on to the next one. This will help you produce high-quality work and reduce errors.

4. Proofread your work

Another way to reduce errors in your work is to review your work carefully before you submit it. Taking the time to review your work for minor errors before submitting it, shows you care about accuracy and can help save you time lost on potential future edits.

5. Take a break before submitting your work

When you’ve spent a lot of time working on a specific project or task, it can be easy to miss small details or errors in your work. Taking a short break before you submit your work can help you reset your mind. When you come back from your break, you can review your work once more to make sure you have not missed an important detail and that there are no errors to correct.