Attention to detail is more than just a line you can add to your resume.
For many roles, attention to detail is an essential skill. This goes double for detail-oriented roles. These can vary from design to finance to construction, where you’ll be working with people, words, numbers or all of the above.
If you’re looking to improve this particular skill for your current or future job, or just in general, here are some ways you can do that.
How you can help improve your attention to detail
Have you ever watched a movie and noticed something that was comically out of place during a scene, such as a takeaway coffee cup on the set of a historical drama? Or maybe it was a spelling error in a book you were reading? In these case, it means that someone wasn’t paying close enough attention to pick up these little errors.
Sometimes, a missed error can be minor and the only consequence for the people involved is embarrassment. But occasionally, a missed error can cause serious issues, and can result in a number of things going wrong for a team, a project or a company. That’s why having a keen eye for detail is so important.
Here are 3 ways you can improve your attention to detail:
1. Exercise your brain with memory games and puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles and memory card games are a great way to train your brain to focus on small details. This is because they’re designed to engage the part of your brain that notices detail, which in turn helps you closely examine your surroundings. To successfully complete a puzzle, you’ll need to examine how the small parts fit together to create a bigger picture.
You may be wondering how completing a puzzle will help you become better at filing documents correctly or making fewer mistakes when preparing financial reports. But you’d be surprised at the way your brain makes connections and learns, even with seemingly unrelated things. Try performing these types of brain exercises regularly, and you’ll see a rapid difference in how you approach detail-oriented problems.
There are plenty of puzzles and memory games you can try out to see which one you enjoy best. You don’t even have to go out and buy the physical version – there are loads of apps you can download and play.
2. Improve your concentration
Being able to concentrate and focus on the task at hand is key to improving your attention to detail.
When you’re juggling too many tasks at once, or giving in to distractions, it makes it much harder to notice is something is wrong or out of place. This is due to what Psychologists call cognitive load theory. This theory suggests that there is a limit to how much information the brain can process at one time. For example, writing an email in haste and trying to ensure it has all the relevant attachments can draw your attention in such a way that there is no room left to remember to check for spelling errors.
That’s why focusing your concentration on one task at a time will improve attention to detail.
Here are some exercises that can help improve your concentration:
- Meditating for at least 10 minutes per day, focusing on breathing and clearing your mind of distracting thoughts.
- Dedicating a block of time to reading articles and books.
- Minimising the amount of time spent on social media or anywhere where you are exposed to short bursts of information. Some people find it helpful to put their phone or smart device in a draw, in a separate room, or to even turn it off while they’re trying to concentrate.
- Utilising the Pomodoro Technique. This technique involves breaking your day up into blocks separated by short breaks.
3. Embrace the slower pace
Paying attention to detail means taking the time to do things more slowly. To create something that is of high quality, you’ll need to review it multiple times, sometimes over the course of several days or even weeks. Taking the time to review your work can mean the difference between submitting something riddled with errors and something that is entirely error-free.
Some work environments value getting things done quickly over all else. However, rushing through a task or project leaves plenty of room for errors to slip through.
It is possible to work at a reasonable pace and still produce a high quality of work. Stay focused and try not to get distracted and you’ll be able to complete your work on time.
Now it’s time to put these habits into practice
Your resume and cover letter should reflect your ability to pay attention to detail. Review your application and any written materials thoroughly to ensure there are no mistakes. You could also use a template to keep your resume looking tidy and easy to read. When you attend your interview, be sure to make an effort to dress well and maintain a clean appearance. These are all things an employer will look at when deciding whether you really do exhibit strong attention to detail.
There are many in-demand skills employers are looking for, and attention to detail is undoubtedly one of them. It’s an important skill to have in any workplace, and with these techniques, you can not only strengthen it but maintain it as part of your professional and personal development.
Another way you can boost you employment chances is to study a course. OC offers a range of online courses across a variety of subjects. Sometimes, studying a Certificate or a Diploma can give you an edge over your competition when you’re applying for work, and you’ll also learn valuable, in-demand skills that employers will be on the lookout for.