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Are You a Great Employee? 5 Attributes of the Best Hires

Are You a Great Employee? 5 Attributes of the Best Hires

You know the competition out in the marketplace for a job is fierce. At 7.7 percent, unemployment is still riding fairly high and this means a flood of applications for every available job. As an example of just how competitive the marketplace is, let’s take a look at airline carrier US Airways: back in January, the airliner wanted to hire 450 new flight attendants, but they weren’t even remotely prepared for the flood of applications they received. The company ended up inundated with 16,500 applications for the open positions.

In a field so crowded, how do you stand out from the pack? How do you set yourself apart and show employers you really are the best person for the job? Before hitting the submit button on your application, take a look at the five attributes of the best hires and make sure you’re positioning yourself as a top-notch candidate:

Creative

With the field so intense, creativity might just be the answer to standing out from the crowd and getting hiring managers to notice you. All companies need creative hires—these are the people who dream up big ideas and come up with new solutions to old problems. Fostering creativity is the reason tech giants like Google offer their 20 percent time program so employees can work on new concepts.

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It’s also the reason candidates with flashy, creative, and outside-the-box resumes get scooped up more quickly than traditional candidates. Just look at the candidate who started a campaign to get hired by Google, or the job seeker who turned himself into an Amazon product page. To get recognized in this competitive market, you’ll need to show off your creativity right from the application process. Whether it’s a video resume, an online campaign, or even a billboard, don’t be afraid to dream big.

Good Communicators

Every company, whether it builds apps or bakes apple pies, needs to be staffed with good communicators. Communication skills are necessary in all aspects of business life, whether you’re speaking to a client or writing an email to a colleague. Showing off your communication skills in the application process is a smart way to brand yourself as a great candidate.

One smart way to show off your communication skills is to record a video resume: on video, you can talk about your qualifications and experience, while also showing off your ability to communicate and your confidence. Anyone can list “superior communication skills” on a resume, but video resumes force you to back up your claims.

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Team Players

No matter how smart, capable, or creative a candidate is, it’s all moot if they don’t fit into the company culture. Employers are looking for candidates who will be excited to come into the office every morning. No-one wants to hire a superstar who will soon start searching for an exit strategy.

Employee turnover can be extremely costly, so it’s important to position yourself as a candidate who will fit into the company culture with ease. Do some research into the company, review their website, and scan their social media. Find out what the organizational environment and values are like, and be sure to explain in the application process why you’re the perfect fit for the company. You know you’d be a great fit for the team, so help employers understand why you’re the right person for the job.

Highly Skilled

The skills gap is a big problem for companies looking to hire workers with specialized skills: a recent survey by Towers Watson showed 70 percent of employers are having a hard time finding the critical skill employees they need. Whether the job you’re looking for is in media or in tech, it’s important to highlight and underline your critical skills.

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Use your social profiles, online channels, and even video in order to show off what you can do. Show concrete examples by putting together an online work portfolio or starting an industry-specific blog. Show employers you possess the critical skills they need in their open positions and you’ll be likely to rise to the front of the pack.

Passionate

The final, and perhaps most important ingredient, is passion. Employers know that the best hires are truly passionate about their industry, their jobs, and their company. It’s not merely fitting into the corporate culture—it’s being excited to get up in the morning and go into work. It’s being thrilled by the challenges presented and looking forward to finding the best solutions.

It’s important that you show off your genuine career passion in the application process, as this attribute is more vital than all the others. There are plenty of people with the same skills, the same qualifications, and the same experience as you, but there’s no-one with the same amount of passion. Use the application process to show employers how passionate you are, whether it’s in a video resume, through a blog post, or on social media. Employers want passionate employees, so don’t be afraid to show how much you care.

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It’s not easy to stand out from a packed field of contenders, which is why you need to consider the attributes employers are looking for, and show off these top qualities as early in the hiring process as possible. This way you’ll nab your dream job and become the company’s dream employee.

What are some ways you show off these top attributes? What do you think employers are looking for? Share in the comments!

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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

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