Attention to detail is a critical soft skill in the workplace and is often a top priority for recruiters. Small mistakes can have a big impact and reveal a lack of attention to detail. That's where Fingerprint for Success (F4S) can help. With F4S, you can assess your attention to detail skills and receive tailored recommendations on how to improve. F4S can help you develop the attention to detail skills you need to succeed in the workplace.
Did you know that 77% of hiring managers1 say that typos or bad grammar on a resume are immediate deal breaker? Paying undivided attention to the finer points shows you have high attention to detail. You're skilled at observing and remembering the details.
Some attention-to-detail synonyms you’ll often hear include detail-oriented, fastidious, meticulous, and thorough. But, they all boil down to the same trait. People who pay close attention are great at finding, understanding, and remembering small details.
Attention to detail is a sought-after trait. But why? What are the advantages of this skill? People who have a keen eye for the finer points offer the following benefits:
It’s for these reasons and more that employers look out for candidates who have high attention to detail. Studies have shown that employers value this skill more than technical and interpersonal skills.
Possessing strong attention to detail will make you a valuable asset on any team. However, like any skill, it’s not always positive. People who are always zoned in on details can fall into several pitfalls, including:
Even so, the benefits of high attention to detail outweigh the potential disadvantages for many roles. Plus, simply being aware of these drawbacks can help detail-oriented people navigate around them.
Attention to detail is an important skill that is highly valued by employers. Unfortunately, not everyone has a high level of self-awareness to know if they truly possess this competency.
If you don't pay attention to details, it can hurt you in both your personal and professional life. It's important to be aware of the signs that indicate you might not be paying enough attention to the details.
You forgot to include the attachment with your email. You answered some questions, but not all of them. You showed up at the meeting on time, but you forgot to bring the resources you were supposed to hand out.
Those are just a few examples of scenarios you might find yourself in. The point is that you never quite check all of the boxes right off the bat, and other people frequently need to chase you down for error-free work.
When you do submit projects, it’s usually not the last time you see them. Your work comes back to you like a frustrating boomerang.
More often than not, your supervisor or colleagues must bring your submissions back to you. They ask that you patch up some slip-ups and omissions they spotted as they need high-quality results.
“Fast” is one of the first words people use to describe your work style. It’s true—you crank through your assigned tasks at record speed.
While your efficiency is admirable, it also means you are not paying complete attention. When you’re constantly working quickly, the finer points tend to slip by you, completely unnoticed.
There have been times when you’ve looked back at previous projects, and you can’t help but cringe. Now that you look at them with fresh eyes, you spot all sorts of mistakes and things you wish you would’ve done differently.
While you’re catching those blunders now, this could mean you aren’t keeping a close eye on the details in the heat of the moment.
When working on a shared project, you’re never the one asked to look it over last. The final deliverable always lands on someone else’s desk before it’s considered finished.
It stings, but it could mean that your team doesn’t trust you to give things a final once-over, because you don’t pay close enough attention to the details.
If this is the case, don’t stress. It could be a sign that you're a great "big picture" thinker who would do well in a visionary or leadership role. Especially if you had a team member who paid attention to details.
You’re starting a new complex task, and somebody asks a more intricate question about how something will work. You respond by saying you’re not going to worry about it right now, and you’ll figure it out as you move forward.
Somebody with high attention to detail wouldn’t be content with that answer. They want to ensure they have the logistics ironed out before they invest too much time and energy into the project.
Excellent attention to detail is a crucial soft skill that can greatly impact job performance and career development. It involves being meticulous, organized, and vigilant in completing complicated tasks. Attention to detail can make a big difference in the quality of work. Whether it's double-checking facts and numbers in a report or catching spelling mistakes in an email.
Organizational skills help increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace. They allow employees to prioritize current tasks, manage time effectively, and meet deadlines. A well-organized employee is more effective and able to handle a heavier workload
Time management skills help employees prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and achieve goals. They prevent procrastination, reduce stress, and increase productivity. Effective time management is crucial for success in the workplace and for career advancement.
Analytical skills help employees make informed decisions, solve problems, and identify opportunities. They involve gathering and interpreting data, identifying patterns and trends, and thinking critically. These skills are essential for success in the workplace. Especially in roles that require problem-solving and decision-making.
Observation skills involve paying attention to details, analyzing situations, and recognizing patterns. This helps employees identify problems, opportunities, and potential solutions. These skills are important at work for things such as fixing problems, making sure quality is good, and improving processes.
Being an active listener involves paying full attention, and understanding, and retaining information when communicating with others. It improves communication, reduces misunderstandings, and increases collaboration in the workplace.
The above signs will help you to identify whether or not you’re an expert with the details. But, it’s certainly not a perfect science.
If you’re interested to know where your strengths lie, it can be helpful to take an online assessment such as Fingerprint for Success. When you first join F4S, you'll fill out a questionnaire that will reveal what motivates you at work. Give yourself about 30 minutes to really think about it. There is no perfect answer but you should be truthful to yield the most accurate results.
Immediately after you complete the assessment, you’ll receive a detailed report. Look specifically for the motivation called “Depth.”
If “Depth” is represented by a larger bubble and a larger number, that means you possess high attention to detail. But, if it ranks much lower (with a smaller bubble and number), that means you likely prefer the bigger picture.
You’ve decided that your attention to detail needs some improvement. Now what? What actionable steps can you take to give this skill a boost?
Here are a few things to try.
F4S is an online coaching platform backed by more than two decades of motivation research. Founder and pioneering coach Michelle Duval created our AI-powered Coach Marlee. Duval engaged with industry experts in both coaching and AI technology to develop an authentic and highly-effective coaching experience.1
You treat your workday like a sprint, not a marathon. It’s a frantic scramble to get as much done as humanly possible.
Take a deep breath and slow down. Take frequent breaks if needed. Focus on quality over quantity. Despite accomplishing much, take a moment to consider the quality of your work.
Time management methods can enhance productivity. One such method is the Pomodoro Technique2. It helps you divide your work into manageable time blocks. This results in better task management and improved use of working hours, with closer attention paid to both.
Are you guilty of having at least five browser tabs open at a time? Do you frequently rip your attention away from the task at hand to check your email or scroll through your phone?
That divided focus is not only sabotaging your productivity. Multitasking reduces productivity and decreases your attention span. In fact, research shows over and over again that switching between tasks can lead to more mistakes.
Challenge yourself to focus on one thing at a time. You’ll have a much easier time noticing the details when your focus isn’t spread so thin.
If consistency is a problem for you, templates and checklists can help you take care of the details time and time again.
Have an email you frequently send? Save it as a canned response. Have a task or project you complete on a regular basis? Create a template that has the barebones started, and make a checklist to ensure you handle all of the little elements that are easy to forget.
It’ll involve a little bit of time and energy upfront, but is a super effective way to boost your consistency with details moving forward.
Relying on the advice and feedback of others is a great way to strengthen your eye for details. Especially if you don’t quite trust yourself to spot the finer points yet.
Once you’ve completed something, ask a colleague or friend to review your work.
When they’re done, take some time to look over their feedback and any errors they caught. Those are things you’ll want to keep an eye out for moving forward.
If you feel overwhelmed, you’re less likely to pay close attention to the details. You feel like you just need to make some progress, and quality takes a backseat.
Prevent this by breaking your bigger projects down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Not only does that make those daunting to-do’s feel more approachable. But it also gives you more regular pauses where you can reassess and refocus on specifics.
Potential employers may use the job interview to determine if the detail-oriented skill listed on the resume is real or just hype.
How do they determine whether or not you have high attention to detail? They’ll pay attention to things such as:
However, they’ll also use their interview questions to determine whether or not you have an eye for the details. They might ask:
You’ll notice that many of the above are behavioral interview questions—you know, those dreaded ones that start out with, “Tell me about…”
These types of questions are valuable for employers. As they allow them to go beyond generalities and hear about real-life examples when you used a specific skill. So, be prepared to answer them with a detailed anecdote.
The STAR method3 is helpful here, as it walks you through a framework you can use to provide enough information in your response. It stands for:
So, imagine that your interviewer just asked you to tell them about a time you caught an error within your company. You could respond with:
Remember, you want to give enough detail to make your answer impactful—but you don’t need to get into so many specifics that the crux of your answer gets lost. The interviewer doesn’t need to know that it was a rainy Tuesday and you had a BLT for lunch that day.
Sure, employers are looking for related experience and technical capabilities. But, there’s another thing they’re keeping an eye out for: strong attention to detail.
Fortunately, much like any other skill, this is something you can improve. Use this as your guide to figure out your starting point. Boost your competency, and showcase this important qualification in your job search.
Do that, and your resume will land at the top of the hiring manager’s pile.
Discover how you approach tasks. Are you a big-picture thinker or do you have attention to detail?
Our expert coaches developed a program to help you hone your attention to detail. You'll develop a genuine appreciation for detailed thinking to execute your vision and measure performance, while accelerating your ability to learn and change.
Coach Marlee (your amazing AI-powered personal coach) will analyse your unique traits and goals to personalize the program so you see results as quickly as possible.
Impress yourself and others with your attention to detail! Develop a genuine appreciation, energy and stamina for detailed thinking to execute your vision, measure performance in yourself and others while also accelerating your ability to learn and change.
“I learned how to chunk up and see the bigger picture before turning to the details”
“I discovered I need to be conscious of where I want to go - to get there”
“I learned to manage my stress about details”
“The only way to move ahead is to work out the next action and then schedule a time to do it!”
“What an awesome way to get better at collaborating with my teammates! Thumbs up Marlee!“
“I found how to not give up!”
“Trust Your Gut coaching program helped me build deeper levels of self-esteem and how I valued myself vis-a-vis the greater world. It also taught me courage to believe in my beliefs, and that it is not about success or failure, but that we give it a go, a try”
“I discovered I need to be conscious of where I want to go - to get there”