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10 Things Only Detail-Oriented People Do

10 Things Only Detail-Oriented People Do

Noticing all of the little details in life isn’t always beneficial, as I’ll demonstrate to you. Still, there are many positives, the most significant of which being that many high level professions require an extreme amount of attention to the fine print. Below, you’ll find a little list of some of the (sometimes humorous) things only detail-oriented people do, and how they allow them to be successful in life.

1. They always proofread their work several times over.

I was always astounded in college by the fact that most of my classmates rarely proofread their work. Even when they did, they usually only did it once, and subsequently turned in papers with tons of errors. This amazed me, as I literally felt a compulsion to read my work several times over. Indeed, I had a fairly concrete process. I would write, proofread, sleep on it, read it again, and then read it aloud. Is that overkill? Possibly, but it led to many great papers!

One time during my professor’s office hours, they admitted to me that half of a student’s grade was determined by how well they wrote (structurally speaking). If an essay flowed and contained few grammatical errors, professors would give students the benefit of the doubt, even if their argument was shaky at best.

Whether you are still in school or not, remember to revise your work! Finish your essays, emails, memos, notes, reports or whatever it is you need to write, in advance and give yourself time to create multiple drafts. If you do this in college in regard to essays you aren’t really passionate about, you’ll eventually acquire the skills you’ll use when you start doing something that you actually want to do. This is why proofreading is important; not because it’s anything special in itself, but because it proves that if you care this much about a single measly paper, you’ll necessarily apply that care and attention to other things as well.

2. They remember incredibly random details that nobody else does.

I swear, there are moments when I feel like Sherlock Holmes out in the real world. Sometimes when I’m talking with friends, I get nostalgic and say something like, “Hey so and so, remember that one time you were walking with me to class and you talked to me about the way my sleeves bunched up all strangely?” Usually, they’ll just give me a blank stare and laugh, saying something like “ha ha…no I don’t!” At that point they either back away slowly, or walk with me in silence if they’re a decent enough friend.

Here’s another example. I was at a family gathering talking to some cousins, and I started reminiscing about something we did as kids, down to the minute details (like what time of day it was and some of the things we did; mind you, this was when I was around seven years old). None of them knew what I was talking about, completely forgetting about these (not so) cherished memories that I had hung onto for years.

As you can see, it’s not all fun and games remembering all of the details! Often you’ll find it can be a bit of a lonely existence. That being said, retaining all of this seemingly random stuff could definitely prove to be useful in a future job interview, or date. You never know when you’ll need that superfluous bit of information! Just ask any lawyer.

Although paying attention to these small details might seem like a bit of a chore and unworthy of your energy, it is helpful, because much like the aforementioned proofreading, you’re developing a skill that can be applied elsewhere, whether it be in your job or somewhere else. To give a more simplistic example, how many scientific discoveries seem obvious after the fact? All it takes is one person soaking up seemingly random details and ideas to produce a breakthrough that seems incredibly obvious in hindsight. Think Isaac Newton.

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I’m not saying you should go out and start writing notes down every time you see anything slightly odd. However, to develop this skill, you should definitely put some effort into being constantly aware of your surroundings, making a mental checklist of things you find interesting or out of the ordinary. You never know when two and two might come together to produce four in your mind…

 3. They can instantly match faces and voices seen and heard on television to a particular actor.

This one is fun. I don’t mean like, the A-list actors either. I’m talking about that obscure actor who showed up twice on LOST and played henchman number two. If I see them on some other show or movie, usually I’ll instantly (or close enough to instantly) be able to recall what I saw them in previously. Sometimes this gets annoying for other people since I’m always blurting things like “hey that guy was killed on 24,” or something else super pertinent when a TV show or movie is on. If nothing else, I get a lot of use out of the IMDB app on my phone!

Since I play video games a lot (who doesn’t), I also have a tendency to match voices. Bioware games, such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age, are my favorite, and so I got a lot of my practice matching up the various voice actors shared between those games. When I play the classics like Knights of the Old Republic, I listen for them there as well, and usually I find them!

To master this fun little skill for yourself requires a crazy attention to detail that most don’t bother with. Though it may seem pointless to match actor faces and voices, it’s a neat little exercise that brushes up your analytical skills. If anything, if you can pay attention to the TV closely enough to play this advanced version of “Where’s Waldo,” you’ll surely start using that talent for more practical purposes as well, such as doing research (which I’ll expand upon further down the list).

4. Their ability to remember faces extends to real life too!

This summer I went back east to visit family for the first time in two years. While there, I visited many of the same places I had gone to on my previous trip. For the most part, the people working at these stores/ice cream shops were the same as were there before, and I instantly recognized them.

I’m not sure why or how I keep track of all these random people; it probably has to do with my introverted nature. I’m usually observing and thinking about things rather than opening my mouth, so I suppose I have my “record” function on more than most people.

In terms of the practicality of this ability, it helps when attempting to remember a particular congressman, voices on the radio, sections of the constitution, etc. Really, when you’re paying attention to the faces of people working at the local ice cream parlor, you’ll necessarily be soaking up all of the important stuff too! It’s a great skill to have if you want to be a politician one day, as we all know their number one talent is remembering faces and names (ha).

When you’re looking at the world like a detail-oriented person, it’s like seeing everything with Terminator vision; everything you see causes you to access some strange memory or make a connection in your mind. You start to mentally question everything that you see.

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Though this can sound tiring to some, once you’ve done it long enough it really becomes second nature. Scrutinizing everything you see while out and about definitely has its benefits, especially if you have a job that requires you to put a microscope to things on a daily basis (both figuratively and literally). That famous Thomas Jefferson quote is “question with boldness.” Do that 24/7, and seeing the invisible will become a much easier task (that’s a very Morpheus-esque line).

5. They are insanely good at reading people’s emotions and intentions.

As socially inept as I pretend to be, I’m very good at reading people, and I suspect this is the case for many detail-oriented people. With all of the attention paid to random details and faces, this really shouldn’t be a surprise.

Detail-oriented people are always calculating, usually analyzing you as soon as you walk in the door, picking you apart mentally. This usually gives us an advantage, because based on outward appearances we appear to be fairly innocuous.

All the while, we’re matching your face to other similar looking people, watching how you walk, how you talk, and determining whether you’re approachable or arrogant. This all goes down within the first few seconds of meeting you.

I suppose this lends credence to that whole “first impressions” thing. Better put your best foot forward all of the time on the off-chance that you encounter a super detail-oriented person! Now that I mention it, this is a very useful skill to have for job interviews…or for any job that requires an advanced level of human interaction.

To make use of this skill for yourself requires a ground-up approach. By that, I mean that once you start questioning everything, proofreading that boring essay your professor assigned, and paying attention to what people are doing around you, you’ll begin to develop the skills required to execute the kinds of split second determinations that many detail-oriented people make on a daily basis.

6. They are great at discerning different types of accents.

Now, I don’t mean to say that detail-oriented people are any good at doing accents. I know I’m not, at least. They’re just proficient at discerning one accent from another, and not something simple like Southern U.S. English versus British, either. I mean Pennsylvanian versus Californian (the difference is in how they ask questions), or even Northern Californian versus Southern Californian.

While this isn’t too practical of a skill in and of itself, it’s something detail-oriented people often do as a habit. Since they’re constantly questioning everything and trying to notice anything out of the ordinary in their environment, a new accent will stick out like a sore thumb.

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7. They are a stickler for minor grammatical errors, such as using “which” instead of “that.”

This sort of goes back to the whole proofreading thing, though I figured I would take a little more time to expound on this particular point.

To most, the sentence “the ship which crossed the Atlantic sunk on the third day of its voyage” sounds grammatically correct. However, as a general rule of thumb, “which” is only used either after a comma or after “in” or “of.” The correct sentence would be: “the ship that crossed the Atlantic sunk on the third day of its voyage.”

Does it really change the meaning of the sentence? Not really, but these are the kinds of things that detail-oriented people will pick up on, since they’re pre-programmed to analyze everything in front of them to the nth degree and then some. As with the point I made for the more generalized example I gave about proofreading, caring about the difference between “which” and “that” may not seem like a big deal at first, but it’ll eventually lead to the development of more advanced analytical skills.

8. They always ask critical questions to themselves when studying, reading, or working.

Though detail-oriented people can sometimes over-think things, at least compared to the more big-picture types, their tendency to look at everything with a discerning eye often allows them to rise above their peers. Remember those Cornell Notes you had to do in middle school and high school, where you wrote your thoughts down in one column and questions in regard to those on the left? Well, detail-oriented people apply that mode of thinking to everything they do. Whether they’re reading a novel or creating a lesson plan, they’re always asking questions, determining holes in arguments, finding logical fallacies, and looking for ways to streamline complicated processes.

How can you develop this trait for yourself? Simply put, begin questioning everything around you. Why did the author use that word instead of this one? How can I improve this or that system where I work? Could something be done more efficiently? Is that person biased? What do they have to gain be saying a, b, or c? Am I biased? Where am I getting my sources? What’s missing from the equation? This line of questioning could go on for a while; suffice it to say, the key to thinking in a more detail-oriented way is to start questioning why things are the way they are. Never assume anything, and you’ll be taking a great first step.

9. They love being micromanagers.

Detail-oriented people aren’t necessarily great at group projects, because they often resort to trying to control every aspect of them, either because their comrades are incompetent or they (mistakenly) believe in their inherent superiority. Think Steve Jobs. Still, while you may not like them personally, there’s no question that the more detail-oriented among us often get the job done in the end.

To become a great micro-manager, you simply have to care about what you are doing. When you are passionate about something, you’re going to want to make sure it succeeds, which means you’ll try your best to ensure that no aspect of it fails. Whether you’re putting together a group paper in college, or developing the next great piece of technology, it’s much easier to be a stickler for the details when you actually believe in the significance of what you are doing.

Personally, I find it much easier to write a paper about a topic I love, like U.S. Colonial History, over something like Medieval Russian History. Even though I’d consider myself to be a detail-oriented person, I’d pay much more attention to the former project than the latter. So, the key is to choose what you like to do, once that’s done, paying attention to the fine print becomes an easy task!

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10. They see patterns easily, given enough information.

I worked with a professor who made a database tracking the voyages of several thousand slave ships. In that database, he collected a smorgasbord of information, such as the type of ship, how many slaves were in each, which ports they departed from and arrived at, the person who sold them once they disembarked in the Caribbean, etc. Looking at any one shipment wouldn’t have told you much of anything, but after reviewing several thousand of them, he was able to see different patterns and make certain conclusions, all of which eventually culminated in a book.

The key here is that it took lots of detail-oriented labor to get to that end result. Only by compiling thousands of pages worth of data, and asking himself several notebook’s worth of critical questions, was my professor able to make the conclusions that he did.

This sort of combines a bunch of the points I made earlier. Detail-oriented people pull in lots of data, usually in regard to something that interests them, and pick it apart bit by bit like a wolf with a turkey leg. Then, they take what they learned, using everything they’ve worked on up to that point, to create a finished product. As mentioned earlier, the culmination of this process could be a book, a start-up, a new piece of technology, anything really.

To become that person, all you need is a bit of dedication, which should be easy if you find something you are passionate about, like Steve Jobs with his computers or my professor with his research. When you care about something like that, it becomes easier to ask all of the questions that detail-oriented people ask, and once that becomes a habit, it’s a skill that never truly leaves you.

While I’m sure I could go on with this list ad infinitum, I’ll stop now for the sake of your (and my) sanity. I think you get the idea though. Detail-orientated people are all about…the details! Is this a positive? I’d say so, being a bit detail-oriented myself and knowing others like that as well. Though it’s always nice to get the big picture, keeping track of the details is what makes the world go around!

 

Featured photo credit: kevinrosseel_042608_014.jpg/MorgueFile via mrg.bz

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Last Updated on September 18, 2019

11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

Are you looking to move up the career ladder? Or maybe you’re tired of having a “job” and want to start looking for a more permanent career?

Whatever your motivation, you are going to have to learn some new and different hard skills to broaden your opportunities. After all, there’s a very famous quote that says:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

While the insanity part doesn’t really fit here, the overall message is a good one. If you are looking for a different result (career advancement, more money or even a career instead of a job), it’s up to you to make it happen. This is both the good news and bad news!

The good news is that because it’s up to you, you have complete control over it happening. The bad news is that change is hard. Humans are creatures of habit, that’s why we develop routines, and anything that disrupts that routine causes us anxiety. And we will do almost anything to get rid of that anxiety. The overweight person will calm their anxiety by eating that doughnut, the smoker will light up a cigarette to avoid anxiety.

What we want to do with this article is to give you the hard skills you’ll need to reduce that anxiety so you can move up that corporate ladder, make more money or have career instead of just a “job.”

The following hard skills are essential to learn if you want to advance your career. They may not be easy to take up, but definitely worth your effort of learning:

1. Cloud Computing

“Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more—over the Internet “the cloud” to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.” Microsoft[1]

There are many different jobs available in the cloud computing world today. They range from architects and developers to data scientists, security pros. Each job is its own specialty and requires a high level of specification for advancement.

This is definitely a hard skill that requires education. But if the tech world and computers are your thing you can make cloud computing a lucrative career.

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2. Data Mining and Statistical Analysis

Again, these are highly specialized fields. Data mining is defined as using large sets of data to look for anomalies and other patterns that can be used to predict future behavior.

Amazon is probably the best known company to use data mining. Have you ever noticed that when you buy something at Amazon, you’ll see a little ad at the bottom that says “customers who bought this also bought…”and it lists 2-3 other items? All of that information comes from data mining, by examining the millions of sales amazon makes they can predict that if you buy item #1 there is a high likelihood that you will buy one of the other items too. T

his not only increases sales for Amazon, but it also serves as a reminder for you that you may need these additional items for your project. This is very valuable information and has a wide range of uses. Although it has a bad reputation and evil sounding name, it is a very useful tool for maximizing productivity and sales.

3. Data Management

All companies today deal with a ton of data! Being able to manage that data in an efficient manor is not only highly prized, but a necessity.

We all have these things on our desks called computers. Unless there is a need for a paper copy, almost all of our data is computerized. Meaning that, in theory it is all at our fingertips. Being able to organize that data so that it’s easily and quickly retrievable is why computers are replacing filing cabinets!

However, just like the old fashion filing cabinet, data management on a computer is only good if it’s well organized. You want to make sure that you are keeping your data well organized so that it’s easy to find when needed. This is a skill that comes easily to some people (are you a person that makes lists? Good!) but with others it will be a skill that needs to be practices. Make sure that this is a discipline you master.

4. Scheduling

Being able to make and keep to a schedule is a very useful tool in both business and life. Effective scheduling means that you can prioritize projects, understand the tools needed to get the job done on time and that you are organized enough to lead people.

An important point here is to write things down! Whether it’s in an old fashion daily or weekly organizer or in a PDA. Have a copy of your schedule available at your fingertips at all times.

5. Financial Skills

These are especially important when looking for that promotion. The higher up the ladder you go, the more you’ll have to deal with things like accounting, budgeting, financial planning and cash flow management.

While you may not need to be an expert at all of these, you should have a good grasp of all of them. This is where taking a few night classes at your local community college is a good idea. You don’t need to become an expert, but brushing up on these skills will help you tremendously.

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6. Research Skills

These are important in all aspects of life, but especially in your work-life.

Are you looking for that first job out of school? Nothing impresses a boss or hiring manager more than someone who has researched the company. Trust me, they deal with people walking in off the street everyday looking for a job, but managers and owners need to see the value in hiring (or promoting) you.

So do your research and have some company specific questions ready to ask. Show that you are interested in working for that company or that position and not just “a” job or the “promotion” because you have seniority or need the money.

If it’s a promotion that you are after, never bad mouth the previous occupant. Instead pick out an example that he/she was good at and explain how you would like to use or expand that policy and how it would enhance the policy changes you’d like to make.

If it’s a new job you’re going for, then make sure to have some company specific questions ready to show that you have done your homework for the new position.

7. Marketing Skills

While marketing a companies products or services has always been a highly sought after skill. In today’s world, it can take on several different forms.

Some of the marketing skills that are highly sought after today include, SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEM, Search Engine Marketing and marketing campaign management. Familiarity with Google Analytics as well as Word Press are also valuable.

While traditional marketing and branding were focused on advertising and selling. Almost all marketing efforts now a days are focused on the internet.

8. Network Security Specialist

Again, this is a highly skilled position that requires specialized training. But the amount of data that all companies store is significant, and if that data is leaked or stolen, it can costs them millions of dollars in both lost revenue and lawsuits.

So, if you have an interest in network security you will find the field both lucrative and stable.

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9. Communication Skills

At first glance, communication skills may not look like it fits into the category of “Hard Skills” that can help you succeed. But in this ever shrinking world where companies can do business from almost anywhere, communication is more and more important.

Are you bilingual? It really doesn’t matter what language you speak, there’s a company out there looking for someone who speaks that language.

10. Computer Programming

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that computers are going to be around for a while! As both the hardware and software get more advanced, the need for computer programming is only going to increase.

11. Graphic Design

As of 2018, there were 4.37 million new websites launched.[2] A good number of them will fail because they just aren’t interesting enough visually. The use of templates and replicated websites is only making the problem worse.

Part of the way Google ranks sites is through originality, this almost ensures that replicated sites will never get ranked through Google. So the more original your site is, the more likely people will visit and actually spend time there.

That is what a good graphic designer does. Takes your basic idea and turns it into a website that people actually want to visit.

Embrace the Anxiety That Comes with Change

You know it’s going to be there, you know that you’ll want to give up as you’re learning these new skills but, you’ll also know that the end result is worth the journey.

Here’s a little trick when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

Have you ever met an ex-smoker who was sorry they quit? An ex-drinker or drug user that said life was much better before they quit? These people have gone through some of the most difficult challenges humans can go through including weeks, if not, months of intense physical withdrawal symptoms. They did it because they knew that the pain and anxiety they would experience would ultimately get them to a much better life.

Now what was that complaint you had about attending night-school?

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This is the part everyone hates, everyone thinks night-school, adult education and just generally giving up family and/or spare time. While those are certainly possible ways to develop the necessary skills, they aren’t the only way.

You’ll want to check with your human resources department because depending on the company, a certain degree maybe required in order to even be considered for a position. In those cases, night-school, on-line or some other form of adult education maybe your best route.

But as long as a degree isn’t required, then your options are wide open.

Let’s just say that you’re a sales person interested in becoming the sales manager but, the territory you’ve been given will never produce the sales figures that would make you stand out as a good candidate for sales manager. So how about you start your own side business (don’t compete with your company), but let’s say you enjoy golf.

In this day and age, there are plenty of places that will teach you how to sell products on-line and even set you up with your own website. So you start a site selling golf equipment and accessories (don’t worry, you won’t even have to carry inventory or worry about shipping).

Now, when that sales manager spot opens up, you can explain that even though other salespeople had better numbers than you, it had nothing to do with your sales ability, it was more of a consequence of the territory your were given.

And to prove it, you brought in some information about a side business, you started showing that you’re on target for a sales growth rate of 30% this year. And because you had to do all of the marketing for the business, you came up with some marketing strategies that you can bring to the new job (built-in experience).

The Bottom Line

We’ve put together these 11 hard skills as a way to give yourself a “leg up” on the competition. We’ve tried to make this a mixture of both skills that require a great deal of training, and also ones that you can work on and develop by yourself.

We know that not everyone is cut out to be a cloud computing expert, but we also know that working on and having good scheduling skills will make you a much more desirable candidate for the position!

We also don’t want you to discount the idea of a “side hustle“. Especially for people new to the workforce, having a business that you have started and run successfully shows potential employers that you have initiative, scheduling skills and ambition which can put you well ahead of your competition!

As usual, we hope you found this article both enjoyable and informative. If you did, may we ask that you share it with your family and friends through social media. It really does help us and is greatly appreciated!

More Skill to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Kyle Sterk via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Microsoft Azure: Cloud Computing
[2] Netcraft: December 2018 Web Server Survey

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