By Erin Minne, Intern

Attention to detail. It’s one thing people can measure with the number of hours of sleep they get at night. Unfortunately, lack of rest is not an excuse for missing things, especially since paying close attention to detail can ultimately decide the quality of a finished product. From internship applications to phone calls, noticing minute details can really make or break a person’s image.

When job seekers apply to dozens of jobs, it’s easy for them to make mistakes in the application process. For example, how often do applicants press the “send” button before they have actually attached their cover letter or resume? How often do they address the letter to the wrong HR person? When companies receive dozens of applications, small mistakes such as spelling errors or incomplete forms can determine whether or not that application is placed in the “maybe” pile or the “no” pile. An error can be mistaken for a lack of interest or laziness, when really the individual just forgot to double check their application before sending. Many times a person’s work is viewed as a reflection of their dedication and character; if the applicant misspells the HR contact’s name, then their first impression of the applicant is a negative one.

Since I began interning at Culloton Strategies about a month ago, I have witnessed the importance of listening to clients’ needs, predicting future predicaments, and then administering to those needs with (from what I gather to be) a mental checklist to ensure the best possible outcome. Admittedly, sometimes I overlook details like dates and names in my personal life, but on the other hand, I don’t enjoy when my own name is misspelled. For example, one of my favorite teachers from this past semester replied to an e-mail I had sent and addressed it to “Eric.” This not only said to me that my teacher didn’t really care about my question, but also that she had no idea who I was. Of course, my professor clearly had a busy schedule and was probably just in a rush when she wrote that e-mail, but it proves that one tiny error can cause the overall message to be lost behind the mistake; people tend to notice the negative things more than they remember the positive things.

As more responsibilities grow at work, I try to go by the motto “continuous improvement”— I like to think of myself as one of the characters in the famous book Why ERP? I constantly remind myself that each day is a new day to build relationships, strengthen connections, and learn from my yesterdays to help with my tomorrows. Job applications, interviews, and just the average everyday situations met throughout the day require careful attention to detail. By listening to those around me, taking note of the requests and actions of others, I will try to grow as both an employee and a person. Who doesn’t love the friend who never forgets your birthday or someone who uses your name after they just met you? I know I appreciate it; now I just need to let others know they’re appreciated as well.

Follow Erin on Twitter at @ErinMinne