Detail-oriented skills: definition, tips and examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 19 August 2022 | Published 29 September 2021

Updated 19 August 2022

Published 29 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As employers consider your CV and cover letter, they may search for traits that prove you'd make a valuable addition to their organisation. A fantastic skill to showcase to recruiters is being detail-oriented. Completing your work with care and precision is a desired skill that many employers list as a requirement within their job advertisements, and developing this skill is a great way to strengthen your career prospects. In this article, we define what it means to be detail-oriented, its importance and tips to improve these skills for use in the workplace.

What are detail-oriented skills?

Somebody who has detail-oriented skills has the ability to focus on even the smallest elements of a task or project with precision and attention. Detail-oriented employees complete their work with high levels of accuracy, are very organised and are often very productive workers. Producing work with little to no errors is beneficial to employers as tasks are then completed more effectively for the business. Detail-oriented employees also typically find ways to develop their processes to complete tasks with better overall efficiency.

Related: How to Improve Your Attention to Detail

Why is it important to list that you're detail-oriented on your CV?

Candidates who demonstrate that they're detail-oriented to recruiters often stand out amongst other candidates throughout the recruitment process. As these employees pride themselves in ensuring that their work is always of a high standard, what they submit often only requires minimal changes if anything at all. Employers typically value this skill as they can trust detail-oriented employees to work autonomously with minimal supervision. This allows supervising managers more time to focus on the bigger picture and situations that impact wider areas of the business.

Detail-oriented employees are adept at working to deadlines, ensuring that even smaller tasks are completed on time. Recruiters value candidates that they can trust are organised and have effective time management. Presenting detail-orientation as a skill on your CV conveys to employers that you are hardworking and would make a valuable asset to the organisation.

Related: 10 Best Skills to Include on a CV

Habits and traits of detail-oriented people

People who are detail-oriented typically present habits and behaviours that make them particularly effective employees. Some of the best habits and traits that are commonly seen in detail-oriented people include:

Easily identify mistakes

Detail-oriented people are normally able to spot mistakes quickly, whether they're working alone or in a team. Once a mistake has been noticed, they can provide effective solutions to rectify them. They're also able to easily recall a previous mistake to avoid it happening again in the future, making them both valuable and efficient workers.

Great organisation

The ability to manage their day-to-day tasks well is an important skill for detail-oriented people. They're able to plan, delegate and prioritise work to ensure tasks are completed efficiently and on time. Typically detail-oriented people can be seen creating lists and schedules to help them remain organised throughout their working day or to stay on track when handling large-scale projects.

Related: What Are Organisational Skills? (Types and Examples)

Maintain productivity

People who are detail-oriented often get excited when they complete a task. This makes it easier for them to remain focused until they've concluded a task and seen the results. They're able to immerse themselves into a project by limiting unnecessary distractions and managing their time effectively with reachable milestones. Detail-oriented people remain very motivated to keep their productivity levels high until reaching their set deadline before moving on to their next task.

Related: How To Be Self-Motivated (With Steps, Tips and an Example)

Follow consistent routines

Detail-oriented individuals also extend their love of schedules to their everyday routine. By maintaining a consistent schedule, these employees are better able to manage their time and regularly meet deadlines effectively. They may even go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day to keep all aspects of their schedule dependable and steady.

Always show up on time

Time-keeping is of extreme importance to detail-oriented people. They understand the value and importance of consistently showing up on time to work or events. These individuals are often keen to start new projects or gain new experiences thanks to their enthusiastic nature. As such, they ensure they arrive promptly and professionally to events at all times and are eager to get started on any new venture.

Related: Time-Management Skills: Definition, Examples and Tips for Improvement

Very observant

The ability to recall small and seemingly minor details often comes easily to detail-oriented people. They notice small changes or patterns that can make it easier to analyse large or complex pieces of data. It's also common for detail-oriented people to remember small personal facts such as co-workers' birthdays or pick up on social cues such as tone of voice and body language changes. This aspect of their personality can make it easier to interact with a team within the workplace effectively.

How to improve detail-oriented skills

While detail-oriented skills might come naturally to some, for others, it's a skill that can be worked on and improved over time. Here are some steps you can take to become more detail-oriented:

1. Always proofread your work

The first step to becoming more detail-oriented is to be able to identify mistakes in your own work. Take the time to always proofread any emails, documents or presentations before you send or submit them. If necessary, triple-check your work until you begin to pick up on any frequent errors you may make. From there, work towards actively avoiding these mistakes to become more efficient at completing tasks on the first attempt.

2. Write everything down

Making notes that you can use as helpful reminders is a great way to remember the smaller details that can impact the overall quality of a given task. The larger the task or project, the harder it can be to rely on your brain to recall some of the finer details. Whether you're sitting in a meeting, taking a phone call or being given instructions from your supervisor, write everything down whether it seems important at the time or not. This can improve your attention to detail and save time in the long run as you have all of the information you need at hand.

Related: How To Write Meeting Notes: Essential Steps

3. Organise your tasks

Taking the time to organise your tasks into manageable milestones can greatly improve your efficiency. Whether you write yourself a to-do list or make use of task management software, it can be useful to lay out your tasks visually, so you have a clear picture of exactly what you need to accomplish. Paying attention to the details of a task and understanding what needs to take priority can make it easier to meet deadlines. Checking off tasks as you complete them is also a great motivator that can help you remain productive throughout a project.

4. Track your time

It can also be useful to track the time it takes you to complete each task. When working under a lot of time pressure, it can be easier to miss significant details in your work. Understanding how long it typically takes to complete a task can vastly improve your time management and prevent overloading your schedule. It can also provide you with an opportunity to improve your efficiency at completing tasks as you work towards finding easier and less time-consuming processes.

Read more: 10 best time tracking apps to increase your productivity

5. Create systems and routines

Detail-oriented people can keep track of dates, tasks, and instructions, but it can be easy for things to slip your mind if you have a busy schedule. Establishing a daily routine can help you to improve your own processes, for example, set time aside each morning to complete those smaller administrative tasks that are easily forgotten throughout the course of the day. Making use of a daily planner or calendar to note down significant dates and deadlines can help you to keep on top of your schedule and prioritise upcoming tasks and objectives.

Related: Project Management Skills and How To Improve Them

6. Ask questions when needed

While it's great if you can take on a new project with minimal direction, it can sometimes lead to vastly different results from what your manager was expecting. If you need clarification on certain details or a task, then ask useful questions that can provide clarity on deadlines and expectations. Become more efficient and develop detail-oriented skills by creating a list of standard questions that provide you with the necessary information required to complete your tasks most effectively.

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