Detail Oriented: How to Build This Skill for Work

February 7, 2023


A woman works at her desk, which is covered in post-it notes, even on her computer screen. She's jotting something down on a pink post-it to demonstrate the need to zeroing in on details.
Being detail oriented can be the difference between a good project and a great project.

Details matter in administrative professions. The organizational skills required of many administrative professionals often come down to a keen eye for detail. It could be as simple as noticing a typo in a document. Or, it may be something bigger, like finding the best way to balance a schedule or budget. Regardless of the task, being detail oriented is a tremendous asset for a variety of careers, including administrative professionals.

Many people might be under the impression that being detail-oriented is an innate quality, and not a learnable trait. But this could not be further from the truth. Some people may have a greater knack for being detail-oriented, but that doesn’t mean those skills can’t be learned. If you would like to become more detail-oriented at work, this guide can help.

Detail Oriented Meaning

To be detail-oriented means that you are able to focus on both small and large details when performing a task. People are often described as being “detail-oriented” if they routinely pick up on minor details at work. Perhaps it’s not surprising that many job listings will specify that candidates should be highly detail-oriented. 

Being detail-oriented is in particularly high demand for administrative assistants. So how can you become more detail-oriented and stand out more in your career? There are a few ways to become a more detail-oriented person.

Tips for Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Familiarize Yourself With the Work

A basic principle of being able to spot the fine details is to be an expert on the subject. The more you understand what you’re doing, the easier it is to spot flaws, even tiny ones. You can become more detail-oriented simply by studying the details of your work more closely. Understand not just the what and how, but also the why of certain tasks at work.

Proofread Everything

The number one asset of any detail-oriented person should be proofreading. Any document you create, whether it’s an email or a slideshow presentation, should be thoroughly proofread. If you are not already in the habit of proofreading everything you do, you should change that. 

In the case of emails and short reports, proofreading only takes a moment. Habitual proofreading can also have the added side effect of improving your communication skills. The more you proofread, the better understanding you’ll have of what it takes to be an effective communicator.

Hone Your Time Management Skills

Improving your time management skills is a great way to indirectly become more detail-oriented. This is because mistakes become more common when we are feeling rushed or impatient. The better you are at time and task management, the less likely you will be to make a hurried mistake. This may not seem like it makes you a more detail-oriented person. However, by giving yourself more time to work, you are also giving yourself more time to perfect the small details.

Use Technology That Suits You

If you’re an administrative professional, you should already know about office management and organization software. Programs like Microsoft Outlook, Todoist, and Evernote are staples of many administrative toolboxes. 

Administrative software makes it easier than ever to document, store, and organize key information, and pull it up as needed. Even if you consider yourself a detail-oriented person, you can still use technology as an asset. 

A detail-oriented person can use task management software to their advantage. Likewise, those who feel they are not detail-oriented enough can use these programs to develop their skills and stay organized.

ASAP is a community for administrative professionals to network and develop new skills to help advance their careers. Become a member or browse ASAP’s extensive training resources to discover new career and learning opportunities.

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