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You’ll see “detail-oriented” as a desired skill on many job listings, but this term can sound confusingly vague. When a hiring manager says they want a detail-oriented person, what does that really mean? Typically, these people are looking for someone who does all of these things:
To run a great business, you need people who are able to look at the big picture and people who are able to pay close attention to the little things. Detail-oriented people have the ability to pay close attention to the little details, ensuring high-quality work on every level.
Anyone can put “detail-oriented” as part of their skill set and claim that they’re good at noticing the important details. How do you really showcase that your detail-oriented nature is right for the job? Consider doing these important things:
When adding examples to your resume, point out how your detail-oriented nature has been a blessing in past jobs. You could state something like, “Proofread articles for clients,” “Spotted potentially damaging mistakes in final reports,” or “Became lead on many detail management projects due to a propensity for managing details.” These things all show how you’ve used detail-oriented skills in the past.
It’s also important to remember that “detail-oriented” needs a hyphen in the middle. If you list “detail-oriented” on a resume without the hyphen, your typo has already given away that you don’t truly care about the important details.
One of the best ways to show you’re a detail-oriented person is to also include other skills that go along with this skill. If you want to draw attention to the fact that you’re detail-oriented, you may want to add some of these to your resume:
Remember to look at the job description and see what the hiring manager wants from you in the skills section. Do you notice any of these skills or synonyms for these skills in the job listing? If so, it’s a good idea to utilize some of your resume to showcase how you can really deliver on them.
“Perfectionist” is a term often used in a derogatory manner, but “detail-oriented” is a skill that can land you a job interview. The most important thing is whether or not you can complete projects, and keep processes running smoothly. As long as you offer proof that you do so, the more you’ll be able to claim that you’re detail-oriented rather than being lumped in with micromanagers.
Detail-oriented people typically create a harmonious work environment that just puts conscious effort into fixing mistakes. Perfectionists may also be seen as micromanagers, spending an excessive amount of time on tiny details but never actually getting the job done. Complete what you’re doing before moving on to new projects and you’ll be less likely to have people see you as a perfectionist.
Detail-oriented is a great skill to list on a resume, as many companies consider it an important skill. However, you should also back it up with examples and experiences from previous jobs. If you’re applying to be a project manager, it’s basically a given that you’ll claim to be a detail-oriented person, but showcasing that skill will be more effective than just claiming it.
The state of your resume will be a big part of proving that you’re detail-oriented. You should proofread your resume and cover letter multiple times to make sure nothing is out of place—no typos, no grammatical errors, no weird font choices, and no mismatched colors. This is the quickest and easiest way to get your application disqualified, as it makes hiring managers feel like you’re overblowing your skills.
You should also include multiple examples in your resume and cover letter about how you’ve used this skill in the past. Have you been involved in projects that needed that kind of detail? Did you use this skill to catch mistakes that could have negatively impacted your company? Did your team use you as the final look before submitting important documents? All of these things can showcase that you’re actually detail-oriented.
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